So I composed this post all the way back in June, but didn't dare post it. The process of writing was cathartic enough, allowing me to vent without risking publicity. Now it's no holds barred...
Tuesday night I went to see "Hairspray" at Tuacahn with a group of women from our neighborhood book club. Most of these women are casual acquaintances, old enough to be my mother or even grandmother. Very nice ladies, but certainly not confidants. Imagine my dismay, then, when one of these women pulls me aside and asks, "So are you expecting?"
Guess I should have eased up on the broccoli chicken for dinner.
For the rest of the evening, I felt self-conscious, wadding my jacket in front of my apparently round belly to avoid further confusion. I thought I was doing a decent job until another lady, whose name I scarcely know, asks me "So when is the baby due?"
Not if. When. When!!! Aghhh!
Guess I should have done more abs at the gym.
So here's the kicker. I am pregnant. A whopping seven weeks today, meaning that at 6.5 weeks I looked pregnant enough to make near strangers presume.
Everything I read says that it's not physically possible to look so obviously pregnant this early on. Our baby's about the size of a lentil, perhaps a blueberry. My uterus has only grown from a plum to an apple. I've gained less than a pound. I exercise like crazy. Yet I promise you, that no matter what the experts say, when you are 4'11" and carrying your fourth baby, you can show, early or not.
I feel betrayed by my body. I wasn't prepared to share this news for many weeks, perhaps even several months. But like it or not, apparently the secret's out. If this were winter, I might be able to disguise the bulge beneath my baggy sweatshirts. But this is June...and we live in St. George...and it's hot. No matter how much I run, this secret won't hide.
I feel invaded by the personal inquiries of these women, no matter how benign their intentions. I was completely caught off guard by their questions, having no idea that I looked pregnant in the first place. Their questions were so blunt that I was left speechless. While in retrospect I wish I'd responded with a casual smile and a simple "No announcement," instead I did what I've been trained to do. I told the truth. What else was I to do? After all, won't a lie become more and more obvious? Yet all the same, I'm frustrated. This was my news to share in my own way and in my own time. They weren't supposed to be the first to know. Without meaning to, their invasive questions robbed me of a precious moment.
But since the secret's out, I'm sharing the news with you--the family and friends who care. In one sense, it seems a bit reckless to share something so personal during the first trimester when so many things can still go wrong. Yet I've often wondered why we are so quick to share our joys, yet hesitant to share our sorrows. I've miscarried once before, shortly after we moved to St. George, and I can tell you that it's a lonely road--stuck in a new place with empty arms without any friends to share in the hurt. This time I hope and pray that all will end well. But should it not, heaven forbid, then let us weep together.
In a way, it feels cathartic to share the news with everyone in one fell blogging swoop. (And when I say everyone, I mean it literally. Unless we are married or you have been nosy enough to ask, no one else has been told before you.) "Announcements" have always felt difficult and awkward on many levels. First of all, let's face it, pregnancy is public proof of personal intimacy. Yes, Jason and I are married, and yes, we certainly enjoy being together, but ooh la la, are we really going to ask the entire world to celebrate the moment that sperm met egg? And what about all of those for whom parenthood just isn't happening, whether because they haven't met that special someone or because they are struggling with infertility? Every time we become pregnant so easily, we feel a sense of injustice, wishing that we could somehow share the blessings of parenthood.
As our family composition strays farther and farther from the societal norm, public announcements become more difficult. Having grown up with only one sibling, four kids feels colossal. I worry about being judged, fairly or not. There are a lot of important questions to be asked. Do we have space for another baby? Can we afford another child? Perhaps most importantly, can we be loving (and sane) parents to yet another little one?
I don't have great answers to all of these questions. Analytically, having another child doesn't make a lot of sense. I thrive on simplicity, and adding to our family is certainly not simple. Yet this decision didn't come from our heads, it grew out of our hearts. Without becoming too personal, Jason and I felt strong impressions that a child was waiting who will be a great blessing to our family. For months I wrestled and wrestled against these promptings, trying to push them aside. Yet ever since we moved forward with faith to welcome this child, I have relished a beautiful calm and peace in my soul.
So, yes. Like it or not, the secret is out. But with news this sweet, I'm happy to share.