“The world was full of dangers now that she was pregnant: mercury in tuna, hot tubs, beer, secondhand smoke, over-the-counter medicine. Not to mention crazy baby-abducting fairy kings.”
– Jennifer McMahon
Thirteen has always been a lucky number for me. It feels strange to say that because I don’t believe in lucky things or numbers. On 13th December 2014, I was far away from Oslo at my parents’ house. That morning, I decided to pee on a stick. It came out positive. I peed on one more stick, you know, just to be sure. That turned positive as well. I calmly walked up to my mum in the kitchen and told her I might be pregnant and I need to do a blood test to be sure. My mum told my dad who wanted to call the whole world that very moment. Fortunately, she talked him out of it.
I had travelled thousands of miles to my parents’ house so I could see my one-year old niece for the first time since she came into this world. My brother asked what was going on. I told him that the sticks I peed on say that I’m pregnant. He told my sister-in-law. We had a hug fest.
The person I wanted to tell first, the person I wanted to share the joyous news with the most, was the one person who wasn’t around. My husband. K was traveling that very day from Oslo to join me. Now you don’t tell a man over the phone that he’s about to become a father, do you? No, seriously, I asked that question. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was. Do I call him? Do I wait till I see him? It seems wrong to tell him over the phone doesn’t it? But how can he be the person who doesn’t know? After a lot of back and forth, and with a little encouragement from my sister-in-law, I called him. He was just about to board the plane from Oslo airport. He sounded excited to hear it. He said he was happy about it. I asked him later what he thought about during the almost 12-hour journey. Did he ponder over impending fatherhood? He is yet to give me a proper answer!
I had to wait a few days before I actually got to see K. He was going to his parents’ house first before coming to see me, because my parents live in another city. So when he got to his parents’ house from the airport, he gathered them around his iPad and over FaceTime we told his parents. They were over the moon, eager to welcome their grandchild.
And that’s how I told my family that I’m pregnant. I hadn’t planned or imagined how I would do it. I just went along and things played out on their own.
Now, K and I decided to wait till we reached the 12-week mark before we told anyone else. My uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, none of them knew. It made things more difficult than I had imagined. I have several mothers in my family and in my friends circle, and I couldn’t talk to most of them about any aspect of my pregnancy. We are in a new city and country, and we had no idea how the health system worked. I was at my monthly writers’ group meeting, listening to conversations about children and the intricacies of having a child and it was killing me not to say something. Actually, what I wanted to do was jump up on a table and shout till everyone knew that I’m having a baby. I know the lovely people who run the cafe where we meet and they don’t deserve their furniture being manhandled like that.
Among all the changes that I’m noticing, I realise I’ve no idea what the social etiquette is when you want to announce to people that you’re pregnant. Is there a right time to do it? Do I call people one by one? But I don’t have all their numbers, and some of them are in other corners of the world! Do I email then? Would that seem impersonal? Do I want to post “I’m Pregnant” on Facebook or Twitter? Not really. Do I mail a postcard? Send out messenger pigeons? Having exhausted all these options for various reasons, I realised there’s one thing I can do: blog about it.
So if you are a friend reading this post, well, now there are two new things you know about me:
- I’m pregnant.
- I’m socially inept at this kind of thing.
Note to self: Must try extra hard so that my child doesn’t end up without any playdates because of her/his socially clumsy mother.