[Note: The first several posts will be back-dated, as they were written before we were telling people we were pregnant]
February 5th was my birthday, and I had the distinct pleasure of using that occasion to officially tell all our friends that we were pregnant. This involved standing up in a P.F. Changs and (as my wife describes it) shouting it so loud that the horse statues in front bolted.
What can I say, I get excited.
We were at 13 weeks (the end of the first Trimester and the time when it’s generally considered “safe” to tell people) but it felt like we’d been keeping it a secret for 13 years. The dinner was actually the culmination of a series of reveals we had made over the preceding weeks, and the whole process of telling people is way more convoluted than I would have ever imagined, so I thought I’d catalogue it here.
The first people we told were the last people I would have guessed: our CrossFit trainers. We told them first for two reasons. Number 1 is obvious: CrossFit is a super-strenuous activity, and we wanted to know what was safe for Jen to do. The workouts actually helped Jen’s morning sickness, so she was relieved to hear that pretty much everything was safe to continue provided that she kept a moderate pace. This was really hard for me to accept at first. My first instinct is to be hyper-protective (“Let me move that table for you!”; “I’ll carry those groceries in!”; “Should you really be exerting yourself with all that chewing?”), so it felt weird to encourage her to keep doing power cleans. Seeing how much better it made her feel, though, and seeing her take very seriously the few restrictions she did have, eventually put my mind at ease. The second reason we told our trainers first was that we needed their help covering it up. Our box is a tight knit community, and we didn’t wan’t people noticing Jen’s “moderate” pace before we were ready to explain it. Our trainers were fantastic about this. They came up with a custom weightlifting routine, teamed up with Jen on partner WODs, and generally eased up on her. The only downside was that any leniency they gave to her seemed to be taken from me. I got used to hearing “You’re doing so well Jen; GET BACK ON THE BAR DENNIS!!!”
Jen’s car broke down right as morning sickness really started to kick in, which meant I was driving her into work, and then frequently leaving my office and driving her home halfway through the day if/when she didn’t feel well. After a certain point, my frequent disappearances in the afternoon only had a few rational explanations:
- I was interviewing for other jobs
- I was having an affair
- My wife was pregnant and having morning sickness, but her car broke down so I needed to take her home halfway through the day if she wasn’t feeling well enough to be at work
Given that Occam’s Razor was painting me to be a real bastard, I was anxious to clue in my boss. He was thrilled for us and offered whatever support/flexibility I needed, but I walked out of the meeting feeling completely different than expected. It was the first time I had told someone we were pregnant on my own, and the act filled me with an immediate fear that I had jinxed something. It sounds silly writing it now, but I honestly spent the next day worrying that by telling someone so early in our pregnancy I had ushered in a series of cosmic events that would somehow cause harm to the baby. It felt like saying “good luck” on opening night. Over time that worry subsided, but it’s alerted me to how easily fear can enter a situation like this.
I have virtually no control over the pregnancy, and I'm not even experiencing it first-hand the way Jen is. It's a deeply uncomfortable position to be in, and I think my subconcious is constantly flailing for some foothold of control. This would manifest itself as excessive worry and fear if I let it--I'd be asking Jen to stop CrossFit and plumbing the depths of Web MD at every little hiccup--but the lesson I'm slowly learning is this: fear only breeds more fear. It's not a new concept by any means, but I think having SO little control over the past several weeks has driven it from "head knowledge" to truly believing it. There will be equally as many things that I can't control once Alpaca is born, so I'm slowly learning to trust God, trust Jen, and release that sense of fear.
After those two necessary reveals came our immediate family. We devised a cute little story for telling our parents. We told them that we'd gotten them a present from our Peru trip, but had forgotten to give it them over Christmas. We then had them open up the present, which contained a baby onesie inside. This worked great for my parents, but we’d overlooked one little fact with Jen’s parents: we HAD actually bought them a present in Peru (a little angel trinket), and HAD actually forgotten to give it to them for Christmas. We’d told them about it on Christmas day, promised to bring it over next time, and then completely forgot about it; so when we launched into our spiel, the following conversation ensued:
“Soooooo, we actually have one more present from Peru we forgot to give you…”
“Oh right, just toss it in my purse.”
“…umm… you don’t want to open it now?”
“Well, we’re in the middle of cards. Just toss it in my purse so we don’t forget it.”
“Does anyone else want coffee? I’m gonna make some coffee.”
“Did you hear Emma is gonna be in two plays?”
“OPEN THE DAMN PRESENT!!!”
“What!? It’s just the angel, right?”
“The ange— OOOOOOH. No, haha, sorry. Different present.”
After our immediate family came close friends (you can actually listen to me surprise the Level crew live on air), and then it was on to my birthday dinner. Afterwards we posted a sweet announcement photo and I've been telling anyone who would listen ever since. It's actually getting to the point where I can't remember who knows and who doesn't, which creates lots of awkward moments. I'll either think someone doesn't know and be informed this is the 4th time I've told them, or I'll assume someone knows only to have them lose their minds when I make some tangental reference to having a baby. Either way, I’ve been overwhelmed with how excited and supportive everyone has been for us. It was fun to have a secret, but sharing it has been even better still.