In just over two weeks we will be able to share some more news: whether this little babes in my belly is a he or a she. It makes me think back to how we shared the news of being pregnant in the first place. As with most things I do, I wanted to plan in my head how things would go: how I would share the news, and how my family and friends would react. But things happened so quickly that I barely had time to process it myself, and you can’t control other people’s reactions anyway. This is just one of the many things I have had to learn to let go control of: planning how things will go. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of learning to let go of control.
The night we found out, we told our parents and siblings and for this, I had no time to plan out my words or what reaction they would illicit. Jon’s father was in kitchen, and we were in the bathroom off the TV room. It would have seemed strange not to immediately explain why his son and live-in girlfriend were holed up together in the bathroom, or why I was crying and he was holding me as we walked out together. Not to mention that we wanted to share the news; while unexpected, we were none the less excited. Jon’s dad was elated, and hugged me so many times. Jon’s brother was excited as well, as we told him he was becoming an uncle for the second time in a very short period. Before anyone texted Jon’s mum, we called her to share the news. She was in Regina at the time, staying with his sister and her newborn baby. Having just become a grandmother for the first time only weeks earlier, she couldn’t have been more excited by our news. And his sister was so happy for us, as was her husband. The idea of our babies being so close in age was an exciting new development for the whole family. When I told my own big brother that night, he was shocked for sure, but also excited at the prospect of finally becoming a real uncle, not just one to his best friends’ and our cousins’ offspring. He can’t wait to buy baby gear of his favourite football teams; boy or girl, this kid is going to go to games with uncle Brett.
I was both excited and nervous to call my mother. While she is the most amazing mother in the world to my brother and I, she is unlike many women her age who have been excitedly anticipating the moment they become grandmothers. Some women get hounded by their mothers, asking them when they will get on the baby train, already? Not Bonnie. There has been no pressure from her to get married or have kids. Instead, she told me that it was ok to just live with a guy, and that not everyone needs to have children. It’s not that my mother is against marriage or kids, she just wanted me to make the choice for myself, and make it when I felt really ready to take it all on. Well now I was older, and I was with the man of my dreams. But I had also made enough big changes in a short period of time that I knew instinctively she would be shocked, atleast initially, by the most major life development thus far. Not that these things ever really make for perfect timing: so many wise friends have said there is no perfect time to have a baby. But I had just made the move from my hometown to live with Jon, we had been together not even a year at this point, and we were living with his parents while we saved for a down-payment on a house of our own. I knew her reaction would be a mix of excitement for Jon and I , and concern for her baby girl.
I can begin to understand this extreme concern a parent has for their child, but I know I will not fully comprehend it until the day my own child ventures off to do something both exciting, and terrifying. From candid talks with my mother, other family and countless friends who have gone before me, having a child is the most amazing thing, but it is in no way an easy experience. I can tell that, like any parent, my mom wants my life to be easier, to be free from stress or strain. But I also know she is tremendously excited for me to embark on this new adventure: she quickly texted a message following my phone call to be sure we knew she was really happy about the news, in the following weeks she repeatedly asked when she could reveal the news to her friends at work, and now she is busy organizing my family baby shower. Recently we got a major stamp of approval when she told Jon that she really believes we are both ready to be parents! So it just took a bit for her to process the news…then even she went into Grandma-to-be-Mode.
When I told my dad, he had a similar reaction to my mother’s: he was at first shocked, and while I knew he was happy, he was also worried. He was concerned about what I would tell my employer, as I had only started my new position a month before. Leave it to my dad to be practical at a time like that! In reading pregnancy books since then, and experiences of women telling their fathers their news, I realized I am not the only one to be surprised by my father’s reaction. To him, I will forever by his little girl, and he wants to shield me from the hardships of life. I think he, like my mother, wanted me settled in a house, and at a job for a reasonable length of time, before becoming a parent. But like my mother, he soon processed the news, and came home from his yearly trip to Barbados with a tiny tie-dyed baby shirt that made me tear up. Oh and also a very large pink nightshirt for me to wear to accomodate my now growing belly, which made me giggle through the tears.
The prospect of telling my new boss was scary. I didn’t think she could really be mad, but I knew that it was less than ideal to tell your new employer that you will be leaving in less than nine months for a year maternity leave. So while this stressed me, leaving it caused me even more stress. Oh and I couldn’t stop running to the bathroom, which was located past her office. So I ripped it off like a band aid. And you know what, it didn’t hurt so much. She was so supportive, just as the rest of my coworkers have been since I shared the news. You can’t get more supportive than a group of women who have almost all been through it at least once. Even my one coworker who has never been pregnant herself shouted “We are having a baby!” when I told her!
Telling friends and other family was less nerve-racking: I had had time to process the news for myself then decide on fun ways to share it with my loved ones. I called and told my aunts Sharon and Heather (both more like second moms to me!) that they were going to be great-aunts soon. They were excited and have since been asking me what I need, and what they can buy? I have always likened them, joined by my mother, to the three fairy godmothers in Sleeping Beauty, dutifully watching over the princess (once upon a time, that little princess was me…now my own prince or princess would be given their love and protection). For my cousins Tarren and Dakota, who are more like sisters and best friends than cousins, I sent a picture text of the British and Canadian flags, with the positive pregnancy test between them, to announce the news. I got to see Tarren in person immediately after this, and we cried together as we hugged, then called her mom Michelle (another second mom to me!) to tell her the news. When I got to see them all together in person a few weeks later, my aunt and cousins had decorated sugar cookies with our chosen baby names in blue and pink, complete with a fuzzy lil lamb stuffed animal to round out the most thoughtful, and yummy, gift.
I sent my Hagan cousins a group Facebook message, which illicited very excited replies, and when I told my other cousin Brea-Anne, she screamed over the phone at the news (such the reaction I was hoping for, thanks Breezy!). I called my best friend Haley and started by saying I knew it was shocking as I had only just told her we may start trying, but she wasn’t surprised-good friends have faith in you to achieve what you want most, even when you doubt yourself! When I came home recently, she had the most thoughtful present for me to use in decorating the baby room:) I sent other besties Jen and Rachelle text pictures of Jon and I excitedly holding the pregnancy test, and both had sweet gifts for me to pick up when I came home for me and babes, but it is their support and advice in response to my neverending questions during pregnancy that has meant the most! When I met more girlfriends for lunch, I couldn’t keep the news under wraps (Kim, my tech-savvy friend found out before I had a chance to spill the news: while helping me update my phone, she spotted the revealing pregnancy apps, ha ha!). Cathy and Janine, both of whom were very pregnant at the time and looking gorgeous (if I can look half as good as them at that point I will be a happy woman!) were ecstatic and it was great having other preggos present to ask my early preganancy questions to. I even shared the news to my girl Crystal, on of all days, love day Valentine’s<3 I quickly shared with the rest of my ladies who I hadn’t yet had a chance to tell; I couldn’t wait to poll my Splurge group in particular (the most amazing group of women I know!) with questions about diaper bags and bottles brands! I have a feeling they are going to be getting alot of questions from this new mom!!! The love and support of all my family and friends, whether or not they have been through this already or not, is invaluable, as is all the useful baby gear already given to us (having a baby years after friends and family are finished has its bonuses)!
We thought for awhile about how to make our announcement via social media (yup, we are just that cheesy…ok, I am that cheesy; Jon is just along for the ride and so sweet in his support of my oversharing!). There are so many ways to announce it, some sweet and others hilarious, everthing from pictures of sweet little shoes to a jar of Preggo sauce, ha ha! We chose a sweet treat to do the job: Union Jack and Maple Leaf-decorated cupcakes with a mini one in yellow:) The support and love we felt in response was palpable: people get pregnant and have babies everyday, and we are following in the footsteps of so many family members and friends, but to us, this experience is second to none!
So, while you definitely can’t always control how and when you spill the beans, you can find unconditional love and support in the varied responses. As the old saying goes, it is the journey, not the destination! At almost 18 weeks, I am learning to not just get through being pregnant and anxiously anticipate the end result, but to enjoy every minute of the wild ride; the crazy journey to meeting our little boy or girl<3