Thursday, August 30, 2007

Telling my parents

Ever since last Friday, when I found out I was pregnant again, I've wanted to talk to my mom. Here's how I imagined the conversation would go:

Me: I'm pregnant!
Mom: Oh, yay! Wow, that is exciting! How are you feeling?
Me: Well, to be honest, I'm finding it a little harder to get excited this time around.
Mom: (would say something empathetic and consoling and supportive and help me feel All Better because that's what Mommies are supposed to do.)

The truth is, I'm not as excited as I want to be, and I'm feeling frustrated (and yes, a little guilty) that I don't seem to be able to control those emotions. I want to be as thrilled and obsessive as I was last time around, and sometimes - for a few minutes at a time - I manage to capture that feeling. For the most part, though, I'm just not as invested as I'd really like to be. And I wanted to talk to my mom about that, and get some comfort and consolation and pats on the back. Why do I never seem to learn that she is not capable of that?

Last night I finally managed to get ahold of her, and after a bit of small talk, I broke the news. Surprisingly, it was actually hard for me to do - my gut was telling me to wait. Not surprisingly, it didn't go as scripted.

Me: I'm pregnant!
Mom (as if I'd told her I'd just been diagnosed with cancer): Ohhhhhh. (She barely managed to choke off the "" of the "Oh, no" she was obviously working towards.)

She later asked me how far along I was. "Almost five weeks," I replied. She made a Marge-Simpson-like noise, as if this was definitely the wrong answer. Then she said, "So, have you been to see a doctor yet?" Now, in print, that looks like a pretty innocuous phrase, doesn't it? But that's because you didn't hear the subtle emphasis on the word "doctor". As in, Have you been to see a doctor yet, or are you going to kill this baby too?

My dad, fortunately, had a much better response right off the bat. He was nearly jumping for joy. "Oh, my girl, that is just such wonderful, wonderful news! I'm so happy and excited for you! You and Chris must be over the moon." I basked in his joy and pride for a moment before he said, "Now, you're taking really good care of yourself this time, right?"

These implications are really, really offensive to me. I take better care of myself than anyone else in my family, and am very proactive about both my mental and physical health. Contrast that with my mother, who has refused to go to the hospital when she has broken a limb. Hearing these veiled accusations that I am not taking the best possible care of myself and my future baby - and the subtle suggestions that my lack of care is responsible for losing the first one - makes me seethe. I really thought we were done with the doctor-versus-midwife debate, but apparently not. I'm so emotionally vulnerable right now, though, that I don't feel prepared to fight this battle again. And all I wanted was for my Mom to be on my side for once. Isn't that what Moms are supposed to do?

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