'Pregnant? You're Keeping It? Ew.' and Other Reactions

May 11th 2016

laura-perlongo-on-a-doctor-visit-with-nev-schulmanATTN/ Photos by Daniel Arnold

Hi. My name is Laura Perlongo and I'm pregnant accidentally on purpose.

Here's what happened…

It was a low-key Saturday night in February. I had taken a gummy with my boyfriend. Well, I guess first I had condom-less, birth control-free sex where the white stuff got inside the vaginal pocket, but a couple weeks later I ate marijuana in the form of candy. Being a timing expert, halfway into a giggly game of cards, I went to the bathroom for my pre-menstrual pregnancy test ritual. Like most girls not on birth control, every month there is a day or two where I confuse normal PMS with ‘definitely pregnant.’ So there I sat, waiting for menstrual reassurance next to my favorite lil digital sand timer, tapping cheerfully through stories on Snapchat. Tip tap tippy two…

Two lines.

That’s more than one line. And I’m 30. I have 15 years of urine-on-stick experience. There was no digging out instructions or googling necessary. No franticly peeing on more tests to confirm a result. I knew what it meant, two lines had happened before. I walked through my railroad apartment back to boyfriend. I told him what I knew. We had similar verbal reactions of ‘kk great, we’ll figure it out together.’ But our brains were more like that cagey salt and pepper shaker amusement ride — unsynchronized, kinda fun and a little ‘oh fuck why did I get on here.' To be fair it wasn’t a complete accident. We had talked about wanting kids and had pulled the goalie maybe half-a-time-once but weren’t necessarily expecting this news, THE NEWS.


laura-perlongo-love-taps-nev-schulmanATTN/Daniel Arnold

We’re part of that ‘lazy’, ‘self-absorbed’ urban millennial generation that does not want to grow up in any traditional sense. I work as a freelance advertising creative, I dress like Silent Bob and stack my clothes on the floor. I run around nonstop until my body physically collapses. I’m a real entitled jerk, or so the media tells me and everyone born after 1980 or whatever.

My boyfriend works in TV, dresses earnestly, and hangs all his pants. But he’s as ill-equipped to deal with ‘life situations’ as the rest of us. With the stress of being in the public eye, no move seems like the right move.

The Decision.

laura-perlongo-and-nev-schulman-visit-the-doctorATTN/Daniel Arnold

After the initial shock/weed wore off I knew right away I wanted this baby. I was strong. I was smart. I was full of love. I COULD DO THIS! I was confident I’d be great. Nev was confident he would be great. HE COULD DO THIS! Sure we’d only been dating long-distance 7 months (with a break in August) but we were optimistic and in love. It felt as good a time as ever. (And who knows if/when there would ever be a ‘better’ time.) We were excited.

Other People.

Were like ‘NAO.’ Well honestly they couldn’t say much while choking back their horror, but it seemed as though most of my open-minded, amazing, loving friends couldn’t believe what they were hearing. It was as if I told them I had a terminal illness.

I was heartbroken. It’s not that I didn’t understand where they were coming from. I’m a career-driven girl who did all the things to suggest not ‘settling down’ until my late thirties. I’m a kidult for lack of a less obnoxious term. I don’t even have curtains. Even in my own version of adulthood, I’m a poor excuse for an adult. But did that mean I was supposed to wait until I’m closer to 40 to ‘throw my life away’, as one (mid-thirties) co-worker suggested.

Again, to be fair, maybe it was half their shock and half self-doubt. Is this what having a baby is allowed to look like? I’m not married. I make good money but it’s gig-based money. I certainly don’t have (or want) a steady job. I’m not ready to literally or figuratively ‘die’. And I don’t really have a room that resembles a living room. I could get one? Ultimate confusion set in.

laura-perlongo-and-nev-schulmanATTN/Daniel Arnold

Valid Freak Out.

I was having one. And the friends I told seemed to spiral into freak outs about their own lives and baby hypotheticals too. Married or unmarried, most people my age seem to not want kids. And for many very real reasons. The main being that adult life is hard to wrap your head around and growing up looks a lot different now than it did for our parents. Frankly, it doesn’t always look like growing up — especially when you’re trying to pay rent in New York or Boston or San Francisco or wherever else rent is insanely unaffordable. And most of us still feel like we need to adhere to a modern version of our parent’s footsteps or we aren’t ready. Do the traditional things like meet (on an app), 2 ½ to 7 years of courting (sexual intercourse with birth control), proposal w/ring, wedding, and finally kids (because now is when we do it right?). And those are still great ways to live life and have or not have kids, but I wasn’t expecting my friends to be be so shocked I was skipping around the blueprint. My parents, the Boomers, sure. But my millennial do-life-our-way friends too? Am I fucking up?

Second Guessing.

My boyfriend and I asked and re-asked ourselves all the cliché but important questions you ask when deciding whether you want to bring a new person into the world. Can we nurture them physically, emotionally and financially? Do we want to? Are we happy and excited about it? Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yesyesyesyesyssss. (you know, with all the googling involved in figuring out what those yes’ mean — I do understand this will be hard, for the record)

But I also asked myself some very ‘selfish’ millennial-type questions too. Am I allowed to have friends that aren't moms? Do I have to change the types of things I post on the internet? Will I become uninterested in things that aren’t my own baby? Will I start using words like ‘mompreneur’? The answers to these questions ranged from ‘please no’ to actual crying.

After a few teary-eyed nights in an empty bathtub, I had made up my mind. Ultimately I didn’t believe I should deprive myself of a much-wanted experience because of stereotypical perceptions of what motherhood was supposed to look like. We can do it our way. Right? Nev and I. Other couples. Other moms. Our generation. Right? Yeah! (?)

laura-perlongo-and-nev-schulman-fooling-around-at-doctorATTN/Daniel Arnold


I’m writing this because I believe baby-making times are strange for the growing population of girls like me (and most modern couples for that matter) and we shouldn’t feel dumb talking about the stuff that makes us wonder if we should stop procreating altogether. We live in an ever-evolving world that breeds new skill sets but also new fears in how successfully we can translate this world to family life. In my case that’s juggling jobs, a long-distance relationship, and taking photos of my best friends covered in salad dressing. Can these skills come in handy or are they just going to get in the way of being a good mom? Is this generation of ‘lazy’, ‘self-absorbed’ millenials going to just create a worse generation of do-nothing narcissists? I placed my bet on no. Call me an optimist.

To make a long letter short, Nev and I certainly have no idea what we’re doing, we just know we’re doing something we want to be doing. Hopefully we don’t suck at it or turn into know-it-all zombies. Mainly we’re just really happy and excited.

Big love to all the bb girls out there,


ATTN/Daniel Arnold

PS She says hi.

Laura Perlongo