I suppose if you allow yourself to have expectations, they will occasionally be dashed. Trampled. Shattered.
My mom received her cartoon booklet. She didn't call. I called her. She was...uh...flat. That's the best way I can describe it.
She said, "Well, that sure was a surprise. So you were sneaking around and sneaking out of town without telling your mom. You were laid off from your job, but you were buying expensive airline tickets. And wasn't that a long drive to the clinic?"
No "Congratulations!" No "I'm SOOOOO Happy!" No tears of joy.
She asked if we'd purchased anything yet. I said not really because I had been too worried that the pregnancy might not make it and I didn't want to jinx anything. She said that she has some things of my nephew's when he was a tot that she was going to sell in a garage sale and it's a good thing she found out in the nick of time. Um, okay.
She asked when we would find out the baby's gender. I told her the gender u/s is scheduled for October 30th. That I had hoped to be able to have it done during her visit, but that the doctor's office wanted to do it closer to 20 weeks. Then I told her that I'd heard about a place here in town that will do a 2D u/s for $65 - they can determine the gender and they give you 10 pictures and a DVD. So I told her I thought we could do that while she's here visiting.
She said "Oh, so you'd do that just to find out the gender sooner?" I said "No, I thought you'd want to see the baby live and moving." She said flatly, "Yeah, we could do that."
I was deflating fast.
I told her that as long as the baby is healthy and gets here in one piece, I don't really care whether it's a boy or a girl, and although we want to find out before it's born, I'm not in a huge rush to know this minute.
She said, "I still hope it's a girl."
Yes, mom, of course you do because I remember how hard it was for you to be excited or happy when my sister announced (21 years ago) that she was having a boy and how disappointed you were because you just find it so hard to love a baby boy.
WTF. No, I didn't say all of that. I just thought it.
Then she asked if we'd chosen names yet. I told her no. That we'd tossed around a couple, but hadn't really gotten anywhere. She launched into the names she likes. You know, she REALLY wants this kid to have a name SHE likes.
At one point she said, "So no wonder you want me to move out there by you. I guess this means you want me there by March then, right?"
WHAT?! Moving here was her idea. Not mine. I don't care where she chooses to live. And I told her no, she doesn't need to be here by March.
I could tell, by the sound and tone of her voice, that she was really trying to act happy and ask me questions. But I know her well enough to know it wasn't genuine. She was struggling to say the things she thought I wanted to hear.
And most of the conversation, by the way, was about anyone and anything other than me, this pregnancy or my baby. She talked about the garage sales she went to this morning. She talked about some sheets she wanted to buy at a department store. She talked about how long it took she and her brother once to drive to Myrtle Beach. She talked about a former co-worker of hers. Blah. Blah. Blah. I just sat there, silent.
I don't mean to be selfish and self-centered here. The world is not about me. I just thought that maybe this one conversation could be about the most important thing that's happening in my life.
Sorry, love, not this time.
As we were getting off the phone she said something like, "I'm just so surprised and I have to get used to it all."
Well, when we finally hung up, my husband came into the room. I told him how it went. He was sweet and supportive and great. He actually wasn't surprised at my mom's reaction (knowing how she is). I naively thought she would really be excited. But he caressed my belly and said "Well we're happy about our baby no matter what anyone else thinks." And we are.
Then we talked about the cartoon booklet and also about reasons my mom might have reacted the way she did.
One: She's disappointed and hurt that I didn't mention any of this to her before now. That's reasonable. I assumed this one as a calculated risk. But after all the negativity I got when I mentioned the whole IVF thing last year, I decided not to tell her.
Two: She's disappointed that is not a "blood" baby. Not my blood. Not her blood. It's just some ole baby that came from some strangers she doesn't know. And, btw, it could (gasp!) be a boy.
Three: The cartoon book overwhelmed her. There was a lot of information in there. A lot to think about. My husband thought perhaps her response would have been different if we'd just verbally announced, "We're pregnant!" And then worried about explanations later. People can respond to "we're pregnant" quicker and with more emotion than they can to a 30 page booklet.
My dad and his wife haven't called yet. I'm pretty certain they should have received their copy by now.
So I'm re-thinking all those other copies of the cartoon booklet we have. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Now though, I can see the pitfalls of making the announcement this way.
Maybe we'll just say "We're pregnant!" and not worry about offering the whole explanation to everyone. Maybe we'll bring out the booklet much later, after the news has been delivered and accepted. Or in some cases not at all. Besides, as my DH said, usually when a couple announce that they are pregnant, people don't jump right in and ask, "Is it yours? Did you do IVF?" Well, maybe those who have been down that path themselves, but that doesn't include the people in our RL.
Anyway, I really am disappointed in my mom's response. I was sure she'd be really happy. But this is our family. Mine and my husband's. And we're happy. So my mom can think whatever she wants. If it's a boy she can be disappointed. She can hate the name we choose. I don't give a flying cow bell.
Sigh. When things don't turn out the way you imagined, it can be a big letdown. Which sucks. But then again, I've known for quite some time that my life is not a fairy tale.
3 months ago