I hate those two words.
A year ago, I didn’t. My ears would have pricked up and my nosey radar would have been twitching at the thought of some salacious gossip. But now, my heart sinks. My first, immediate thought is “You’re pregnant”, or “Someone we know is pregnant”.
I shouldn’t dread hearing those words. It means there’s a woman out there who is delighted with their news. And it means the person sharing it with me (if not the same person) is thrilled too. But when I hear those words, or see them pop up in a text or a Facebook message, I have to steel myself for the inevitable heartache that will follow and slap on my happy face. As an aside, I don’t have a good resting bitch face, and my face will often give away exactly what I’m feeling, even if my mouth is saying something completely different. I can say (quite enthusiastically) how happy I am for the person, but my face will betray my devastation. It therefore takes me an awful lot of effort to plaster on a “ohmygodthatisAMAZINGnews!” face. I’ve had a lot of practice now.
On two occasions, these words have come when I’m eating, or about to eat. And inevitably I immediately lose my appetite. For someone who loves her food, this is a BIG deal to me. If you’re going to ruin my day, can you please at least wait until I’ve devoured my meal that I’ve been looking forward to?
Occasion 1: I was at the pub over the Christmas holidays, having my regular catch up with a friend on maternity leave. She had the gossip that our mutual colleague (who we are no longer friends with for reasons I’m not going into here) was pregnant. In fact, this woman was only 5 weeks gone at that point. She had effectively missed her period and was blabbing to everyone at the Christmas party that she was pregnant. No waiting for the 12 week scan or anything. I was about to tuck into my starter when my friend dropped this bombshell. By the time my main came I was pretty much just pushing the food around my plate. £20 wasted.
Occasion 2: it was my summer holidays. I was on my period but feeling positive about this cycle and the fertile time that was coming up over our holiday to Italy. I was sunbathing, and had got lost in a book. I had been to the shop and bought a delicious lunch of sausage rolls and cheese and onion pastry twists. I was SO looking forward to eating them in the sun. I had my phone on the table in front of me and I heard the ping of my Facebook messenger app. I knew. I just KNEW. I was so certain of what I was about to read that I actually avoided unlocking my phone for nearly 30 minutes until I had mentally prepared myself for opening the message. When I saw it was from my long time and very good friend, my stomach literally dropped. Bang, went my appetite. This friend and I are in sporadic contact. We don’t need to be texting or messaging every week to stay close but we stay in touch every couple of months or so. I knew she was trying for her second. She knew I was still trying for my first. She hadn’t contacted me for a couple of months so I knew that this was the ‘big reveal’. Bless her though, she actually apologised for her news because she desperately hoped that it would be ME sharing news of my pregnancy before her. But, alas, she was successful before me. She sent the sweetest message. I felt like a bitch for my conflicting feelings. Of course I was thrilled for her – I still am – but I was devastated for ME. Fortunately, I was on my own. I composed a genuine congratulatory reply, hit send, and then cried. I cried my eyes out. I fucking ugly cried so much it put Kim Kardashian to shame. My next door neighbour (if she heard me) probably thought I’d found out someone had died, I was wailing that much. After 10 solid minutes of sobbing, I just lay on the sofa, numb. I picked my heart up off the floor, dusted myself down, and put my lunch in the bin.
But yesterday, when I visited my parents, my dad started with the words “Guess what?” Even though this was a man talking to me, I STILL had the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was going to be a pregnancy revelation story. When he continued “You know your cousin…” I interrupted him with “Don’t tell me. She’s pregnant isn’t she?” I just wanted to cut to the chase and rip that plaster off clean and quick. I had visions of her, already with two young boys, pregnant with her 3rd child. I pictured her dad (my uncle) ringing my own dad to share the news. I pined for the day that my own parents would be phoning up the family to spread our joy at being pregnant. I long for them to shout it from the roof tops that they will be grandparents.
Turns out, my cousin wasn’t pregnant. The news was that her long-term fiancé, father of her two sons, had left her and married someone else out of the blue. Devastating. And I immediately felt like a bitch. In the space of 30 seconds I had gone from resenting her to having my heart ache for a different reason; sympathy for her and her innocent little boys.
So, if people could NOT start their conversations with “Guess what?” I’d appreciate it. Especially if I’m eating. It saves me feeling like shit, jumping to conclusions and losing my appetite. However, if you start with those words, and you ARE pregnant, they at least give me a 2 second warning, and a head start to slap on my happy face.