As a newlywed people often warned me against the 'next step' syndrome; which, by their diagnosis, is when a woman finishes her wedding and the spotlight fades and she automatically begins looking for the next big step in her life...Baby.

They told me not to get caught up in desiring motherhood because I didn't have anything else 'big' going on. I listened in amazement. As though being 22, newly married, a student, and a animal rescue volunteer wasn't enough to fill my time?

When I did have those rare moments of turning my head to follow the baby buggy crossing my path, or internally cooing at the cute baby booties at the mall, I pressed my hand to my forehead, checked my pulse and worried that I might be coming down with this 'next step syndrome', only to find that the desire faded into a vision of runny little noses, sticky little hands and sleepless nights. No, no. I wasn't a victim.

Colin and I married this past January of 2005, moved into our little urban apartment, and began learning the dance of married life. I had tried every form of birth control known to man and each and everyone had some unbearable side effect. At the end of the road we decided to do natural family planning and were just beginning to put some faith in the method and our practice of the method when the pregnancy test changed all that.

I was a week late but just knew I wasn't pregnant. I had taken a test nearly a week before, a regular check I did since my periods were irregular, and it was negative, so on another whim, I decided to take another while at work. I don't know how long I stood in that bathroom having a staring contest with those two pink lines!

The rest of the day dragged and when my husband, came home I kept following him around the apartment, just waiting for the opportunity to tell him. He took the unexpected news better than I had even anticipated and we spent the rest of the night snuggling on the couch in celebration.

We looked back and figured that in all likelihood the conception had taken place while we were on vacation in California. I guess we had a little TOO much fun!

It has been two weeks and the news has yet to sink in. The baby is due in January, one year from when we were married. Colin and I think of how drastically our lives have changed in just the past year and can only imagine how much more different it will be another year from now!


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