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Guess What…

April 2, 2013

So, after the historic first positive pregnancy test, the ensuing anxiety, and a couple of days to let it sink in… I still couldn’t believe I was actually going to be a father. No surprises there, right? I mean, I knew the test was positive, and I knew what that meant, but it still didn’t feel real. Nevertheless, life and pregnancy and everything else don’t wait around for me to decide to believe they’re happening.1 It was time to tell some people! My wife and I both agreed that we didn’t want to keep it to ourselves any longer than was necessary. The positive test being a Wednesday, we immediately plotted to tour family members and give them the news. With a bit of none-too-subtle wrangling, we managed to sort out a Saturday afternoon with her side of the family and the evening with mine. By the end of the weekend, everyone we wanted to tell before the first scan would know in one fell tactical swoop.

I was surprised by how nervous I felt about sharing this piece of perhaps the biggest and best news of our lives; the kind of news that surely nobody who loved us would react badly to. In fact, in the case of my Mum, who’d been dropping brontosaurus-sized hints about grandchildren since we got married last year, I was fully expecting a happy outburst of the kind I had previously predicted from myself. I mean, what was I worried might happen? That our loved ones’ faces would fall as they told us gravely that we’d be terrible parents, simply terrible? Ah, the mind of an anxious man; ever turning toward one imagined disaster or another.

I think part of it is that I’m bad at keeping big secrets. I proposed to my wife on the day I bought her engagement ring instead of sticking to my original plan, which was to wait a couple of weeks until our anniversary, because the second she walked in the house that day I felt so sick with the weight of it that Plan A went out of the window. I followed her upstairs and popped the question before she’d even got changed. It was the same with our pregnancy news. I wanted to confess as soon as possible.

And so on Saturday we went round to my sister-in-law’s to go for a walk and have lunch and tell her and her husband that oh Jesus Christ we were going to be parents in about 7 months.  As soon as they were both in the room my wife told them and that was that. Of course they were very happy for us, there were hugs all round and I even got the firm fellow-father’s handshake from my brother-in-law that I’m pretty sure is man code for “Congratulations on your functioning balls.” Later, my Mum-in-law popped round and we gave her the good news too. Job half done and nobody had told us we were making the biggest mistake of our lives or anything. Phew, theatrical brow swipe, right?

That evening we drove over to my sister’s new house to repeat the process. When we got there my Mum wasn’t there yet, but the second she came into the kitchen I blurted “Everyone, Steph’s having a baby!” before she’d got her coat off. Well, it worked for marriage proposal, why should’t it work here too? Sure enough, the news was met with joy from everyone, especially my two noisy sisters. I quickly phoned my third noisy sister who hadn’t been able to make it, and that was that. We’d told the family. Sorry, what was I so nervous about again?

One of the best parts about breaking the news was that my sister is also expecting her first child. She got pregnant before Christmas and so will have her baby just a couple of months before us. We were really excited about the prospect of sharing the experience together and it was great to find out that she and her husband were just as excited about becoming new parents at the same time as us. We’ll be going through all of the same things together, the highs, the lows, the fears and the excitement. Someone close by to share it with can only be a good thing.

By the end of the day, things were starting to feel a little bit more concrete. Other people knew now, which meant it wasn’t this weird secret between the two of us that we might be imagining.  I don’t know though. I think even when I’m holding my child in my arms I’ll still be expecting to wake up.

1Which is a good job, really, as at any point in the day I’m probably in denial about something or other. If the world operated on my timetable, nothing would happen. [Back]

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