When you tell people you are pregnant you know what they are thinking
Yep - you heard - mama. Three people actually call you that. And mum. And mummy. And mummmmEEYAH. I’m writing this to you from the future (sort of). You’ve just found out you are pregnant and you are literally terrified. You are 24 and you live in a flat above a pub. You’re a student and you feel like you’re just getting started. You tell your husband that you’re pregnant in a angry way because he’s late home from work and you’re a bit of a dick like that. You’re actually angry because anger is your default emotion when you’re scared and this’ll cause a fair few issues over the next next 9 years, trust me. You are in a rush because you’re meeting people for dinner and you’re running late. The restaurant you are going to is called Lola Rojo and eight months later you’ll have your first baby. By sheer coincidence you’ll call her Lola and you’ll pretend it was because you ate there 20 minutes after you found out you were pregnant because quite frankly it makes a better story than ‘it’s the only name we could both agree on’.
When you tell people you are pregnant you know what they are thinking - it’s all over. Life as you know it is all over. What I want to tell you Hattie, is that they are right. They’re right because you’ve spent years learning how not to get pregnant during PSHE at school. They’re right because you will have to do your teacher training whilst 7 months pregnant. They’re right because you’ll have to teach 30 children how to do a tuck jump during a lesson observation whilst wondering it it is really necessary (it wasn’t. Kids reading this: you will never need to nail a tuck jump in life, it’s a completely unnecessary skill set). They’re right because suddenly your world will shrink. Some days it will be the size of the small galley kitchen in the house you moved into in a panic 2 weeks before your baby was due. (Incidentally you won’t fit through that kitchen sideways when you are 9 months pregnant, don’t try - it’s depressing). They’re right because life as you know it is over. Gone. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye. Except at the end of the song - unlike the Von Trapps - no-one goes to bed anymore.
But I’m not writing to you to you to tell you that everybody else is right of course - we both know that you didn’t need to read that then and you wouldn’t want to read it now.
I’m writing to tell you that they are also wrong. They’re wrong because they’re projecting their life plans onto you and life isn’t one size fits all. They’re wrong because nine years and three children later and it has never felt less like it’s all over. Nine years later, Hattie, you’ll be filling in a form to be a foster parent and picking up a new puppy. It’s busy and tiring and relentless and loud. But the angry/scared hybrid that picked at her food in Lola Rojo has dissipated and in her place is a more confident and happy person who is typing this whilst a three year old is draped round her neck doing her best impression of a scarf. They were right that life as you knew it was over, but they were wrong because it’s better.
Take care former self (and order the paella at Lola Rojo or risk food envy)
Photo by; @rosebainbridgephotography
Hattie Harrison studied Psychology at the University of Reading before working with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and then training to be a primary school teacher. She became pregnant with her first child, Lola, whilst doing her Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and subsequently developed a passionate dislike of acronyms (unrelated to pregnancy). She went on to have two more children, Frank and Olive, and started writing about the strange world of parenting in 2015 because it was cheaper than therapy and she has always harboured a compulsion to overshare.
HATES – people who don’t indicate at roundabouts, anyone who talks whilst she’s reading and parents who judge other parents.
LIKES – roast chicken, a friendly thumbs up from a bus driver and talking about herself in the third person on websites.
FACT: No one has ever crossed the Harrison’s kitchen floor without getting a cheerio stuck to their sock.