Weeks 8 to 9

A Well-Kept Secret


It will be a relief to finally tell people. My belly looks full; colleagues admire my clothes as their gaze lingers a bit on my midriff, wondering, perhaps, whether I am eating too many donuts. Just the other day, the lovely woman who gives me monthly bikini waxes kissed me on the cheek and said congratulations, even though I told her nothing. Even my father asked me if I was gaining weight or secretly pregnant. (Annoyed, I lied and reprimanded him for the tactlessness of each suggestion.) Clothes from the "fat" side of my closet fit comfortably, but the cute summer skirts and tops I lost weight to wear will have to spend another season on the rack. Today marks the beginning of week 9. Next week, CVS, and soon after, provided the news is favorable, I will tell the world Iím nearly 39 and pregnant.

That means telling my boss, who has three children of his own, and a full-time stay-at-home wife to mother them. Heís as human and decent as corporate management can be, yet he doesnít know quite what to make of Type A women who raise kids and shoulder big jobs. It means telling my parents, which is complicated (my father will be thrilled, my mother, who is, to date, a reluctant Grandma, at best, will feign joy). It means telling Henry, which will be wonderful, since heís so eager for a baby he can ďkiss and hug and make feel better when it cries.Ē It also means teaching Henry the ultimate lesson in patience; February is ages away for a 4-year-old. It means telling all the other mothers in our sonís social circle who have had their second childrenómost of them a bit younger than Ióand who have asked me weekly whether or not I was planning to have more kids.
It also means I am reminded of how few people I have to tell. Iím an only child (the main reason why I want Henry not to be), and I wish I had a sibling to share war stories with. My husbandís brother lives 13 hours away by plane, and I have only met his wife and two boys one time. With few cousins, one aunt and uncle, aging in-laws, and no living grandparents, I lack the large dinner table filled with personalities, histories, favorite foods, and secret stories. Thanksgiving is always a strain with just my parents and the three of us; my life isnít marked by traditions, folklore, or extensive photo albums of relatives galore. I suppose thatís why, with all of my ambivalence still unresolved, I opted to have unprotected sex with my husband, to create another child, so that Henryís chances of having an extended clan instantly doubled, and he can have a richer, fuller, more robust family life than I could ever imagine.

One thing at a time. My appointment for CVS fast approaches. This, too, is a conundrum. The doctor who performed my amnio the first time around recommends against it, but my friend who is a pediatrician, and had CVS last year, canít recommend it strongly enough. Every moment, every choice, affects my childís future. Pregnancy is a not-so-gentle reminder: There is simply no way to be a perfect parent.




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