A couple of days ago I was commuting to work, as one does. My route takes me through an extremely large and busy train station, and as I was trotting along the main concourse, I walked smack into my mother.
Which surprised me, as I thought she was still on holiday.
‘Oh, no, we got back last night,’ she said, kissing me. ‘We’re in town to do some shopping and speak to business people. How are you, my darling? You look well. Is there any news?’
With great presence of mind, as I am trained like one of Pavlov’s dogs to never lie to my mother (it’s a bit of an affliction, to be honest), I said: ‘We can have a proper chat later.’
‘Oh, that would be lovely! Lets have tea together! What time do you finish work tonight?’
So I spent half the day panicking about How To Tell My Mother. In the event, panic wasted, as her business meetings overran by hours, and we agreed tea was to be postponed to another day. Of course, then H and spent the next few days twitching every time the phone rang, in case it was her. But she is very busy, and so far it hasn’t been. This will not last.
As for my Dad (my parents are divorced, and live at opposite ends of the country), he is currently much preoccupied with his own serious health issues. However, he gets very peeved if he realises he’s the last to find out family news. If I tell Mum, I’ll have to tell him shortly afterwards. And yet, I do not want to enfretulate him. He has a heart condition, after all. God damn it.
And then there’s H’s parents, about whom I am feeling complicated and prickly. I started miscarrying in a slow, dreary, tedious way on their sofa-bed once, Christmas 2009, and their response to that sorry event can be summed up here. I’ve never really quite got over that, and now that I think of it at length (instead of slamming the file shut whenever my mind strays over there), it has all put a bit of a crimp in our relationship. I don’t want to upset them, or be a source of grief to them, and I am very sad they haven’t had the grandchildren of their own that they want so much. But on the other hand, I’m not sure I care for their bland indifference to our, mine and H’s, actual physical and emotional suffering, coupled with tactless trampling on sensitive issues and moments of extreme awkwardness whenever the subject of childlessness comes up. And no, I don’t care for the business of educating them about ART. We’re all discussing the pros and cons of 3-day versus 5-day CGH-array embryo testing, and they’re all ‘have you read this article in the local newspaper about full-fat dairy products improving fertility?’ They mean well, obviously, but they are trailing about five or six years behind us in terms of getting their heads round our journey, and it drives me fucking nuts. This is your son, your family, your loved ones. Sack the fuck up and pay attention, for the love of Christ.
And therefore, I do not, absolutely not, no-how, want to tell them I am pregnant, have them all be happy, and then tell them I miscarried and have them all sail straight back onto their river-cruise in Egypt and make like it never happened. That would pretty much ruin our relationship for years to come.
H is in charge of telling his parents about our fertility issues, as I am in charge of telling mine. Both sets of parents are a few miscarriages short of the grand total (discussing the very early ones is just beyond me, to be honest. They are important medical information and cumulatively have done something ghastly to my psyche, but as individual events they’re all a bit ‘oh fuck not again,’ rather than soul-crushing). I think we missed a trick, not telling them the grand total earlier. I wish we’d also spent time telling them what is and isn’t supportive behaviour. But, to be fair, they have had Bad Sad Times of their own recently, and it never seemed the right moment, and now in this corner we are painted.
What to do, Gentle Readers? What to do? Keeping in mind that my Mum the Incurable Excitable Chatterbox talks regularly and gossipily to H’s parents, so if we tell her, we shall have to tell them within days. And I don’t know if I can keep this from Mum all the way until the scan, because she was trained by the KGB and also, they all know we were planning on doing IVF this summer. We communicated that much, at least.
(This is all very silly, isn’t it? What a cheeringly daft thing to have got my knickers in a knot about. TELLING FAMILY).