We've talked about babies quite a bit on Love My Dress recently. The response to both Jess' post on her experience of living with endometriosis and Annabel's own account of her journey to motherhood reveals that fertility, pregnancy and starting a family are all issues that many of you are, or have been, thinking about.

Today I'm going to share my own story of becoming a Mother. It's a little different to the others. I didn't agonise over the decision to start a family. I wasn't worried about whether there was a 'right' time to do it. In fact, I hadn't even given the idea of having children much thought. 'One day, perhaps' would have been my answer had anyone quizzed me on my desire to procreate. You see, motherhood was thrust upon me. This is a tale of unplanned pregnancy…

Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky... (Personal, Life, Love Wedding Talk )

There is no other way to tell you I peed on a stick, other than to say 'I peed on a stick'. I've tried to think of some great literary flourish with which to describe what I was doing in the dimly lit bathroom that morning in August 2004, but I can't. So, I was peeing on a stick. There, I said it.

I closed the lid on the pregnancy test and waited. There was no anxiety. No panic or dread. I just waited and watched as the moisture slowly crept along the plastic wand and the two windows at the other end gradually clouded over. A distinct pink line appeared. I was pregnant.

Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky... (Personal, Life, Love Wedding Talk )

The events that followed are somewhat blurred in my mind. I cried. I know that much. A day or so later I found myself at my GP's surgery being examined by a locum doctor. I hoisted myself up on to the couch and waited for her to tell me I was 5 or 6 weeks pregnant while she poked and prodded my tummy.

The doctor took out a tape measure and held it up to my abdomen.

'You need to go for an ultrasound to confirm things, but you're probably about 18 weeks pregnant'.

I didn't know my body then, not like I do now. I didn't feel every peak and trough of my hormones, didn't understand the subtleties of my irregular cycle. Nor had I felt pregnant. At least not until immediately before I peed on the stick when I suddenly found myself throwing up breakfast three days in a row. 

At the hospital, a scan placed me at 18 weeks and 4 days, to be precise. Four and a half months. I'd been pregnant less than a week, and I was already in my 2nd trimester.

Carl, the man who is now my husband, was 23 to my 21 when, after not even 6 months of 'sort of seeing each other in a casual but exclusive kind of way', we found out we were going to have a baby together. I mailed him a letter containing the news. I couldn't face talking to him. I was frightened of the moment that would change his life so dramatically.

Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky... (Personal, Life, Love Wedding Talk )

He opened it at home and called me later once he'd broken the news to his family. I don't remember the conversation at all. Not a word of it. I knew he was going to be part of things, and that we were going to find our way through it together, but it's not a memory that has stayed with me.

I remember the first person to congratulate me on my pregnancy though. Two weeks after the news broke my Godmother-Aunt sent me a card. She had waited years to start her own family, enduring failed IVF attempts and plenty of heartache before finally giving birth to twin boys. 'Sorry I haven't put pen to paper earlier,' she wrote. 'Congratulations if that's appropriate – well I think it is!' Through all the doom and gloom, the mutterings about abortion and concerns for my future, she saw the pregnancy for what it was. A new life.

It took a long time for me to allow myself to feel happy or excited. I can recall smiling the first time I felt the delicate flutter of the baby moving inside. I was stood in the chilled section at my local supermarket, gazing at cooked meats, pizzas and cartons of fresh soup. For the most part though, nothing about being pregnant felt like cause for celebration.

My closest friends were amazing. Free of judgement, and full of support and love. One left work early and battled against public transport to attend my first scan with me. The other showered me with gifts, kept me company on otherwise lonely evenings at home, and basically did everything she could to put a smile on my face. My Mum and Dad did what they had always done; let me find my own way, offering advice and encouragement when I needed it most.

Isabel Faith was born just before dawn on January 31st 2005. Along with her younger brother Jesse, who arrived four and a half years later, she is my greatest achievement.

Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky... (Personal, Life, Love Wedding Talk )

From the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I have struggled with the notion of children as limitation. Starting a family, even under less than ideal circumstances, has enriched our lives no
end. So called 'sacrifices' simply don't feel like loss when I have gained so much. Everything I have accomplished since has been weighted with extra
significance because of the two other lives I am responsible for.

There's no denying having children makes it harder to do certain things, but I don't believe anything suddenly becomes impossible. Since having Izzy I've gained three grade A Alevels, achieved a first class degree while working part time, had another baby in my final year of university,
completed an MA, and embarked on a career as a freelance writer. In many ways, I've done more with my twenties than many of my childless friends.

Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky... (Personal, Life, Love Wedding Talk )

We've travelled with the
children too, and there are few things that beat exploring another
country through the eyes of a small child. My children constantly remind
me that the world is full of wonder everywhere you look.

I can't deny I sometimes feel sad I've missed out on all
the planning and excitement that comes with the decision you're ready to try
for a baby. I also know I'm incredibly lucky to have fallen pregnant so
easily in a world where a woman can struggle for years, regardless of when they start trying. I would also dearly love to have had friends
sharing the experience with me, but I've made peace with the fact I'll probably have a 10
year old by the time any of my best girls decide to start a family.

I wouldn't change a thing though. For me, there is no 'right' time to start a family. I think you just need to believe that when you do, it will be right for you. I've always loved the John Lennon lyric 'life is what happens while you're busy making other plans'. It reminds me to be grateful for the gift I never even knew I wanted; motherhood. 


Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky... (Personal, Life, Love Wedding Talk )


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35 thoughts on Happy Accident ~ The Tale of an Unplanned Pregnancy, by Franky…

  1. I loved reading this Frankie – our little one is now six months old but was almost a complete suprise. When we found out we had £36 in change to our name and so it didn’t seem like the right time but now we have realised how silly we were to consider such things – Tilly only wants our love and attention (and a clean nappy of course!). I have carried on writing freelance throughout pregnancy and looking after young baby and we plan to travel with her lots (after a bit of saving of course!). Having her is the best thing I have ever done and she is my pride and jjoy xx

  2. Agree with all of the above, definitely no right time, it happens when it happens for a reason. I was 29 weeks before I knew and had literally 9 1/2 weeks to get used to the idea of having a baby, I was 22 at the time. I felt robbed of my chance in life (what tosh I realise looking back!) Battling with debts, the stress of caring for my now husbands mother and living an hour apart it was utter chaos. Once Scarlett arrived all the hurt and pain of 9 weeks of arguing disappeared instantly. 4 1/2 years later, she is, as Sian says above, the best thing that ever happened to us – we’re now a proper family, officially all Hiorns’ at last!

  3. I couldn’t help but get a little teary reading this beautiful post Franky. It brought back a lot of memories of my own “peeing on a stick” moment and waiting what felt like an eternity for the result. Like Carl and yourself, I had only been with my boyfriend for 6 months (although we had been friends for years) when I discovered I was pregnant. It can be a scary and lonely time trying to plan for an entirely different future than you had mapped out, especially when you are the first of your friends to go through it. But the list of things you have achieved since having Izzy just proves that children are not the end of your life, just the start of a new chapter!

  4. This was really good to read, thank you for sharing. I think there is a lot of negativity attached to the words ‘unplanned pregnancy’, and to see how it turned out to be for you and for your lovely family brings a lot of positivity in.

  5. Great post and I definitely concur that having (unplanned) children doesn’t hold you back – since falling pregnant with my son at 17 I’ve put myself through 2 college courses, a university degree and started 2 business (fashion & wedding photography). Everything happens for a reason.

  6. I just love this post Franky. It reminds me how very blessed I feel to have two of my own children, despite them being planned. I think it offers a really wonderful sense of positivity for anyone who might find themselves in a similar unplanned pregnancy scenario.
    We have friends desperate for their first but delaying until finances may be a little better. I’ve told them what will be will be and to not put it off any further.
    Lovely story Franky, and how lucky am I that with all those hard earned qualifications you’re now working for Love My Dress? I still pinch myself regularly about this.

  7. Love this Frankie , like you said life it what you make of it. I think people often feel limited by their age in either being too young or too old for something and maybe even how other people would react this this! When in reality there is no right age for anything and the only person stopping us from doing something is ourselves!

  8. I’ve always had such admiration for you Franky. The way you managed a Masters degree with the responsibility of children is truly inspirational. While I still have a certain amount of fear of the unplanned pregnancy, your story reassures me that things have a way of working out.

  9. What a beautiful post. The idea that children are an incredible enhancement to your life rather than a limitation is not voiced often enough. Since having our 2 gorgeous babies, my husband and I have started a new(incredibly busy) business together and relocated our lives completely. And it couldn’t be more wonderful… and nor could they xx

  10. Beautiful piece. So true were not sure what curve balls life will through at us. But I’ve no doubt your little ones love that you’re a young mum -my mum was a young mum and I thought it was great that she was one of the youngest and wanted to be a young mum myself. Sadly that didn’t happen for me, so instead I’m in my mid 30s with my baby but she’s great so that’s just how it was obviously meant to be!

  11. Thank you for your comment Sian.
    Oh money is the thing isn’t it?! We were broke. I was at college and working nights as a waitress. I saved my tips to buy a pram!
    Thing is, you manage. However little you have, it’s enough. I also think that making do with very little when Izzy was first born makes me feel richer now, if that makes sense? There was a time when I had £17 a week for food and nappies. Now I walk into a supermarket and, although I still have to budget, I have a lot more money to feed my family with.
    And you’re right about the love and attention <3

  12. What a wondeful comment Amy, thank you.
    Your’re right. I can’t sugar coat it, there have been some very difficult times over the years. When I moved to uni Izzy was only 16m old. Carl stayed in London and we did the long distance thing for the whole of my first year. Even without a toddler this would be challenging for many couples! Still, coming out the other side gives me faith in the foundations of my little family. We’re made of strong stuff!

  13. Oh Ciara! ((HUGS)) It’s funny to think of feeling so alone in it all when s post like this reveals just how many women have experienced similar.
    And I love your closing line, ‘the start of a new chapter’ indeed!

  14. Thank you Nina.
    I feel quite strongly about dispelling some of the myths surrounding unplanned pregnancy, who it effects and in what way. I know not everyone comes out of it as we have, but if more women see stories like mine, they might feel less dispair when faced with a similar issue.

  15. Thank you Natalie. I have read your inspiring story on these very pages!
    I also like the old addage ‘what’s meant for you won’t go by you’. I feel that way abuot my babies all the time. They were meant for me, at that moment in my life.

  16. 1. Even I look at that picture and think ‘awwww’. We’re so young and fresh faced! Well, I look a little tired, for obvious reasons!
    2. Thank you dear Anna.

  17. You’re so right Scarlet. I think life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it. With the right attitude you can get through pretty much anything.

  18. You’re right Becky. I was chatting with a friend the other day about how much her almost-husband wants to start a family. She was voicing her concerns about giving up x, y and z and wondering aloud whether she was ready to do that. I suggested she ask whether she’s ready to EXPAND her life because of a child, rather than reduce or limit it. Are you ready for the all consuming love… that sort of thing. She admitted that she hadn’t thought of it like that before!

  19. A really lovely piece Franky. My daughter is 2 today and whilst I sit exhausted and full of cake thinking back the last two years have been amazing. I still miss the opportunity to have a really spontaneous night out or a holiday where I’m not paranoid about the sea, swimming pools or strangers, oh and maybe a bit more money in the bank! We’ve tried do as much as we can with Audrey and it just makes it all the better seeing her excitement about something for the first time (airport travelators in particular). Our lives have changed but I wouldn’t have it any other way, yes I’m exhausted at the end of nearly everyday but I’m also inspired by her eagerness, excitement and unconditional love.

  20. Sat reading this with tears in my eyes,such honest and inspirational words. This reminds me of my sister, she fell pregnant at 18 and at the time it was a disaster but now my nephew is 8 and one of the best things to happen to out family. I don’t have children, yet, and sometimes the thought scares me – i can’t see my future without them but the thought of planning and working out ‘the right time’ doesn’t seem right. Maybe thinking what will be will be is right and dealing with what comes our way is the attitude. You are testament that children don’t stop you living and doing what you want. Thanks for sharing! x

  21. This is a beautiful post! Our little man was also a surprise – found out I was pregnant 3 months before our wedding and the night before my hen do (good job – else he’d have been pickled!)Some commented on how sad it was that I wouldn’t be able to ‘enjoy’ the wedding i.e drink(!) or that I might not look perfect in my dress…well I didn’t care a jot – it was the most blessed of surprises (my Mum endured 6 miscarriages, how could I feel anything but blessed). Dylan was 6 months on Monday and he’s incredible – it’s a privilege to be his Mum. We haven’t got it all worked out, but he’s very loved and comes from a strong and happy relationship.
    …And hearing others stories and struggles puts it all into perpective. Life is life – and should be repected and treasured in every scenario!
    The pictues of you and your family are beautiful xxx

  22. This post and all the comments are making me realise that if I were to become pregnant unexpectedly (something that niggles at me whenever my period is a day late!) we would be ok. In fact we would probably do just great :)

  23. Franky,
    This is a beautifully written piece! It’s incredibly true to life and relateable, and I feel that all mothers will appreciate this and find a piece of themselves in it! Motherhood is a wonderful time, but it can also be scary! The unknown of a new baby and how to raise a child as a young woman can be frightening. I was 23 when we started to have children, and like you, have accomplished just as much as anyone without children. I feel almost as though, if I didn’t have them, that I wouldn’t have been nearly as driven or creative as I am today! Fantastic piece, keep the inspiration coming :)
    <3 Katie

  24. This is a lovely piece made me all emotional! I was engaged to be married on the 6th of June this year but we had to change our plans as I found out I was pregnant in December last year. I was over the moon about it, as well as being very shocked, as I have had endometriosis since I was 13 and was not sure if I definitely could have children. So it was the best news ever and I can get married any when in my life (next year now hopefully). It’s been hard as I am a self employed florist and had booked in loads of weddings to do the previous year not knowing I was going to be pregnant. My little girl Lily May arrived 12.08.12 and has been my world since and a true inspiration and she is only 10 weeks old tomorrow! So she was a true happy surprise and feel the luckiest mum in the world!!

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