3 min

Telling the family

My belly is shaking and I am a little bit blind, a little bit lost to the world, like I was in the moments before my very first orgasm. My belly is shaking, she is holding me and I am holding her like I want to absorb her through my skin, pull her by osmosis into my body. Nothing else matters but her and me and the news we are sharing. No more grant deadlines, no more payroll, no more urgent reports. I have been wishing desperately for the world to stop and let me catch up, catch up, catch up; let me feel ready for what will happen next. The world has stopped, this once, for me and for her and the news we are sharing and everything has been worth it. Everything. She’s pregnant.

My mind has stopped, my mind is racing, my mind is running across seven months of trying, two years of envisioning, four years of learning, minutes of knowing for sure. I remember when she sat on the counter in the community centre and asked me where I wanted to be in 10 years. I remember sitting at the table eating corned beef with rice in a brown and white bowl, eight years old, declaring I was never having kids. I remember her calling me from the hospital years ago, afraid they would say she wouldn’t be able to bear children. I remember toilet training my cousin, sitting in Nonna’s bathroom forever while she chatted and sang and did everything but go to the bathroom. I remember my cousin at a year old saying “acqui” when she saw me, trying to imitate the “Hi, cutie” I always greeted her with.

I remember how cold the clinic was, how I wore a winter sweater, pulled my socks up and whispered in Andrea’s ear to make her come. I remember when she told me she wanted to have kids with me. I remember how nervous she was, how brave she was to admit that, then.

I have never seen her so excited. Her eyes are so bright, she is beautifully flushed and she wears relief so well. In retrospect, we both knew this was it. I could feel it in my chest. The detached, protective shell I’d been building had given way to a sense of peace neither of us had the audacity to acknowledge until the clinic called to confirm it. I wasn’t anxious this time. She knew. I knew.

I have known our child for a long time now. She has been flying around the universe watching us try, watching us weigh donors, wash syringes, buy flowers, rush home. The first time we chose, he couldn’t tell his parents and didn’t want to do this without them knowing. We waited and waited and, finally, chose again. He was quick, open-minded, enthusiastic, discreet. He had a rule that we thought would be okay to follow but it wasn’t. We chose poorly and watched the inevitable drama that comes with deceit unfold around us. It didn’t unfold so much as unleash a torrential rain that must have been some damn good entertainment for the universe to see. We emerged smarter. We chose again, a little hardened and less naive. He doesn’t wear masks when he paints murals. We don’t know his friends. We just don’t know. We gave up on real live boys, managed to salvage one old friendship and keep a new one in the making.

We went to the sperm bank and we chose again. We broke the bank and lived in two-week intervals, waiting to inseminate, waiting to hear. Andrea’s father nearly exploded every time she called, wrought with the anticipation. Andrea’s mother lit candles all over France, clipped articles, said prayers. My parents hadn’t said a thing since the day I told them we were trying, so their silence continued. We only barely recognized the stress we were under, had stupid fights we couldn’t name. I didn’t understand my own stress at all until I found out she was pregnant. I felt instant relief, instant love. I have been crying so much and it feels so good.

When we told them, Andrea’s mom shed tears of absolute joy. Her dad said, “Oh my fucking god!” They were so unbelievably happy. My father said little, but he smiled tensely and seemed like he wanted to hug us. My mother said, “Okay, congratulations, it’ll be fine.” She was cold, then she smothered me, stroking my face and wishing, wishing, wishing I would go back to being eight and normal and pony-tailed. They were so unbelievably… scared. For us? For them? It’s hard to tell sometimes who we are scared for, who is most vulnerable.

People say you shouldn’t really tell anyone you’re pregnant until the first trimester is over. People say that you never know what could happen. But we both know our family includes this community, now and later, no matter what happens, and I wanted to tell you. She’s pregnant!