Saturday, September 28, 2013
Hiding a pregnancy is not normal for an open person like myself. But I've never carried a baby before and the thought of telling an in-law of a miscarriage is unthinkable! So, we kept it secret for a couple of weeks. I checked out a book from the library about pregnancy for women over 35, and felt a little more comfortable about my situation. After all, most women over 35 have other health issues, have smoked and drank their whole lives, had multiple births, C-sections, are loaded up with fertility drugs, etc. Besides my age, I don't have any medical conditions that add danger. (My midwife insists however that since my eggs are 38 years old, that risk remains.) That alleviated my fears enough that my husband and I decided to tell our immediate families. His side of the family was already planning to gather for an anniversary dinner, so I arranged for my family to meet that morning for breakfast.
It was such fun telling my family. We told them that we wanted to address a rumor that would no doubt be circulating about us soon. My husband said, “you're going to hear that Mesa is pregnant--.” And I cut in with, “And it's TRUE!” They all gasped, covered their mouths, and teared up! Then my sister blurts out, “I want a GIRL! Is that bad to say? I don't care, I want a girl. I have a nephew, now I need a niece!” My moms hands immediately went to my belly. My grandma mentioned how much my grandpa would have loved it were he still alive. We spent the meal laughing and speculating. It was a ball!
Telling my husband's family came in the evening. We let the meal go forward with the anniversary being the focus until dessert came, and gifts began to be opened. We handed off our greeting card and asked them to read it aloud. My husbands sister read: “Your real gift is that mom will no longer be hounding you for a grand-child. Congratulations! You're going to make a great aunt and uncle.” There was no reaction. We scanned the eyes at the table and everyone looked puzzled. His sister said, “I don't get it.” My husbands brother looked at me from the farthest end of the table and silently mouthed the words, “Are you pregnant?” I smiled and nodded. He shook his head in disbelief. Then he mouthed, “Really?” So I smiled and nodded more emphatically. He seemed to believe it this time but mouthed, “Really?” I nodded enthusiastically. He mouthed, “No.” Then my mother-in-law said, “What, you're getting another dog?” My husband assured her that it was not a dog. Finally, everyone got it and slowly started with the disbelieving “wows.” Finally another relative said, “congratulations.” Which everyone repeated obediently.
I think the difference in reaction is cultural. My family easily accepted that we did not intend to have children soon after we were married. They may have hoped for a blessed accident for the first few years, but resigned themselves early on. My husband's family, on the other hand, have spent the last 19 years yearning for us to have children, and have only in recent years let up pressuring us to do so.