In four days time, on Saturday the 8th of July, me and my fiancé are getting married. That’s not the scary part though. That’s not the part that is making my stomach flip over and fill with butterflies, that is filling me with tingly anxious nervous excitement from head to toe.
In four days time, on Saturday the 8th of July, we will announce to our extended family that we are expecting our second child.
Now this may not sound like that much of a huge deal to you, but let me explain that the last time we announced we were having a baby it went down like a lead balloon with my Mum. It was horrible. She was the most negative person about it when I needed her to be the most positive. Both my pregnancies have been a surprise to me, which hasn’t been easy to say the least, especially when the last one was discovered mid way through my teaching degree and just after buying a house and this one a few weeks before our wedding and just before we planned to see the bank about a home extension loan – chance would be a fine thing!
It’s hard to explain why my mum was so unsupportive at the time. We have always had a difficult relationship, but it wasn’t like I was single jobless and homeless – I owned my own home and was pursuing a career – and we are also not an ultra traditional or religious family either so morals didn’t seem to be a problem. My partner is ten years older than me and has two children, my step children, already, but we had been living together as a family for over a year when we found out. When I told her I was pregnant I was 24, I would be 25 when I gave birth, but she somehow still treated me like I was an irresponsible teenager and had made some kind of stupid mistake. I had had an IUD coil in, it had been in for four and a half years, and for some reason it had just decided to stop working, and all the nurses and doctors I saw were completely amazed. She used to be a nurse, midwife and family planning nurse, but far from this meaning she was kind and understanding, it instead made her tell me that the coil was a poor choice for preventing pregnancy, about all the things that can go wrong, and why it was the worst thing that could have possibly happened to me at this time. It was relentless. She would call me in the evening to tell me that I would lose my job, I would lose my house, I would be blacklisted by credit agencies and have to move back home with no hope of a future (this was a threat, not a kindly offer of a place to stay). My dad was hospitalised shortly after I told her with a heart condition, which he recovered well from but it meant that for a while she was the only person who knew and therefore she could only really “take it out” on me, which she very much did.
Changes in her attitude only began to appear when friends and extended family heard the news. Instead of what she seemed to expect – shock, shame and worry, she got well wishes, joy, and even envy from friends of hers who would like grandchildren but thought they were probably going to be waiting awhile. I gradually saw her perspective shift, and eventually when my Grandma told me that my Mum had started knitting I knew that she had come around. In the end she was there when I gave birth, and my son coming into our lives has completely changed my relationship with her – she is now my rock and more like a best friend than a mum. She is so brilliant with him, she moves heaven and earth for both of us and our family and gives her time, her money and all of her heart to us whenever she can. She’s turned into the mum I have always wanted.
That’s what scares me the most. What if this announcement ruins it all? I finally have the relationship I have needed with her all this time, but what if it’s like last time all over again, only she has given too much and made too many sacrifices this time around and she’s got nothing left to give? What if she can “forgive” one unplanned pregnancy, but she is unable to accept two? This time around I had had another coil fitted (despite my misgivings I can’t cope with hormonal contraception so I went for a ten year one) but it miraculously disappeared somewhere along the way. I don’t know when exactly, it could have been right after it was fitted last summer, or it could have been three months ago when I got pregnant, but breastfeeding has meant that my periods have been irregular and the busy life of a new mum has meant that I have been less inclined to check it is still in position. Either way, it’s not there any more, and now another baby is.
What’s the saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. And shame is what I am afraid that she will feel, and I will end up feeling too.
So why are we announcing it publicly, on such an important day, rather than telling her in person? This is something that I have been grappling with ever since I found out I was expecting again, and the answer is because I am scared of how she will react. I am first-trimester-exhausted enough as it is, not to mention planning a wedding around my day job of being a secondary school teacher, and I just don’t think I can face a whole evening of trying to come to terms with a really terrible reaction from her alone. So I have decided to do what I tend to like to do instead and face my problem head on by charging at it, knowing full well that my mum will be surrounded by excited positive family members and she won’t get the chance to be openly negative. After all, surely she wouldn’t do such a thing, not on her daughter’s wedding day? Actually I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that…
Either way, it will hopefully give me some time to blend into the crowd while she has some time to mull things over and hear nice things from friends and family, and when we do get to properly talk about it it won’t be her initial, unmasked reaction that I have to face. Most of all I hope it doesn’t ruin the wedding for either me or her, all I want is for this to be a positive thing. I already can’t drink to celebrate so this really would be the icing on the (wedding) cake! With my last pregnancy there were a lot of things that I wished could have been different, and I am determined to do it better this time round, starting with how I tell my family. I didn’t feel at all in control before, and although the start hasn’t felt controlled by me this time, I definitely feel in a better position to control things moving forward, and have felt much more positive so far about baby number two because ultimately I know that everything will work out alright and I will be able to cope with whatever life throws at me.
So here goes. Wish me luck. I will let you all know how we get on next week, and in the mean time, have a lovely weekend everyone – I hope yours is much less drama filled than mine!
The Surprised Mum ♥