Monday, 9 January 2012

Loco parentis

I'm lucky in that I'm fairly close to my parents.  We live a couple of hours away, but we speak on the phone pretty much every day, and I've got a good relationship with them.  I don't tell them every tiny detail of my personal life - I would never confide in them if my husband and I had had a row, for instance, but they generally know what's going on in my life day to day.
So keeping this massive news from them is a nightmare.  The day after I found out I was up the duff, I took off as a sick day; I'd been so overwhelmed by the news that I hadn't slept at all.  I hardly ever take a sick day, and it was still quite quiet from the Christmas period so I wasn't really missed.  But not being able to tell my parents how I was feeling was really tricky.

My husband and I had originally agreed to wait a month or so longer before telling our folks, but it felt awful being on the phone to them each day when I had had the biggest news possibly of my life, and trying to pretend that nothing had changed.

So, after a bit of discussion, we decided to tell our parents.  It sounds ridiculous, but I was terrified about telling them.  I barely slept again the night before I was due to call and break the news.  I'm 32, and happily married, and somehow I thought they'd tell me off!  I guess it's because I knew it would come as a big surprise to them (I'm hardly the most maternal of women), and I know they hate surprises.  But the fear was disproportional.

I called at 9.30 on a Saturday morning.  My dad answered, and we chatted briefly about the dinner party they'd been to the night before.  After a while, I said, "Is Mum there?"

"Yes," he said.

"Could you put me on speakerphone?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.  And pressend a button that promptly cut me off.  I phoned them back.  It was engaged.  I left it a few minutes and tried again.

My Mum answered.  "For God's sake, Kate, what's wrong?"

"Nothing," I said.  "Could you put me on speakerphone?"

"Just tell me what it is!" I could tell she was expecting some sort of catastrophic news.

"There's nothing wrong, Mum.  I'm pregnant!"

"You're what?!  She's pregnant!"  (I am guessing she was speaking to my Dad and the speakerphone functionality has somehow bypassed the over 60s.)  "Oh, that's lovely news!"

Once I'd told them, I felt much better and slept like a baby on Saturday night.  If that's not a bad simile given the circumstance.

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