Monday, 23 November 2009

How to tell your mum you are up the duff

I am now a full five months pregnant, but I have not told my mother about this. We have a fairly close relationship, but by dint of my being abroad, she has not seen my expanding waistline so has been utterly oblivious and also completely engrossed in the arrival of her fourth grand daughter who was born three weeks ago to my sister.

I was really nervous about telling her. She has made it clear that she thinks that one more kid will be too much to handle. She feels that I might have been pressurized by my husband into having four (admittedly he has been keener than me on the idea, but at the end of the day, I am happy to go along with his idea of the perfect family and I am sure that in the long term, having a bigger family will be terrifically rewarding and fun).

I am old enough that I think I should be able to organise my life without being answerable to my parents, but there are some things in life that never change. Perhaps it is because I am Piscean, but I seem to still crave her approval in most things. Not that I really pay that much attention to what she says (our views  on many things are not aligned), but if she has made it clear that she thinks something is not a good idea and I am then basically going against her advice and doing something anyway, it does make me anxious. Perhaps I am doing something totally crazy? Readers of this blog will be aware that I have questioned my own sanity on the subject of this pregnancy. Maybe I will not be able to cope? My own self-doubt has been reinforced with her worry! Maybe, in an awful way, she will be proved right. What if I find myself drowning in an emotional whirlpool of screaming baby, crying toddler, sullen and neglected primary schoolers, the older children weeping in misery as a domestic implosion occurs, sucking us all down, and which is all my own fault for having too many babies.

Well, finally yesterday I managed to break the news to my parents. I had been talking to my sister who has just had her first baby. Despite having been offered a brand new, lightweight, compact stroller from us (admittedly it would fall into the category of hand-me-down which this baby is not going to experience if she can have anything to do with it!), they decided to buy a Phil and Ted's deluxe gigantic pushchair. Surprise, surprise, three weeks into parenthood, they are finding that their designer chair is so big that they can hardly get it in the car, and it weighs so much that they are both in danger of slipping disks in their backs from heaving it around the place. I was telling my mother this, and we both agreed that you just can't tell people things sometimes, and it is probably better to just let them spend their money and they will buy a smaller stroller in the end anyway.

I then told her that, well actually, in fact, umm, our own lightweight stroller  is going to be drafted back into action next March in our house.

Silence on the end of the phone.

"Oh" came the response. Not as bad as I expected, I was half expecting for her to say something like, "Oh god, you are joking aren't you? You're not serious? Oh, for god's sake."

There was a reasonably long pause before my father piped up to rescue the situation from his armchair (they use the speaker phone on our phone calls so they can both chip in) with the classic "That's great news, darling".

There is a lot to work out, especially if I end up not having the baby in Kazakhstan, when we will actually be in rather desperate need of some support and help from our parents. On both sides they have plenty of grandchildren these days, so no one is jumping out of said armchair and offering to rush over and help out. The novelty has completely worn off. Although we live away and so they hardly ever take the kids, that works very well for them. They come for visits and when we go and stay with them, I am always around.

If Mummy did come and help out, it would not be her preferred new born experience - lots of cuddles and walking around holding a pleasantly-snuffling little tiny one, making the odd cup of tea and going for proud granny walks with the pushchair. It would be straight into bedlam that is our house, with the three other kids careering around, bouncing off the walls (it will be the end of the winter and we will have relatively been inside rather a lot), probably eating nothing but eggs and breakfast cereal.

It was understandably a bit of a news thunderbolt for them, and sweetly, the next day my father called to offer all the help they could give. "Just make your plans to use us as much as you can," he said. My mother also, had sent a hasty email to apologise for the lengthy radio silence that had greeted the news, "It was just such a surprise, I didn't know what to say," she admitted.

And now that the news if officially out and about in family-land, I feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive bunch to help us through what will be a challenging but perfectly-manageable time.


  1. Phew. Quite sweet she was silent instead of disapproving, and then even apologised. Sometimes not-nasty is all you can hope for.

    I didn't know it was a Pisces thing to crave approval. This would explain quite a lot about me.

  2. Apparently so, my friend told me we are programmed to be desperate not to fail our role models and will do almost anything to avoid it - seemed to answer a few things about me too!