This is something that’s bothered me since SB was born. It’s one of the few concerns I have had about writing this blog.
Do I worry about the pictures I share; of family days out and exciting developmental moments? No.
Do I worry about the stories I write – sometimes embarrassing, sometimes funny, always brutally honest? No.
What I worry about is just how honest I was about the circumstances surrounding my pregnancy – namely, that it was unplanned.
I never pretended otherwise, or dressed it up as “a surprise”. I’ve always been very honest about the fact that we did not intend for me to get pregnant. I’d had no intention of having a baby any time soon, and it took me until twelve weeks to decide whether to continue with the pregnancy or not. Is that honesty going to come back to bite me on the bum when SB gets older?
I’ve had a few basic ground rules when it comes to blogging. No naked pictures, and nothing too embarrassing. Nothing her schoolfriends can use against her, should they ever stumble across this blog. Nothing I wouldn’t talk to someone about in real life. However, on the topic of unplanned pregnancy, I’ve never held back. I never thought I’d need to.
Is knowing whether you were planned or not something important? Is it a part of your identity; one of those questions that every child feels the need to ask at some point?
When do you broach the topic, anyway? Do you bring it up, or do you wait for them to do it? Do you talk about it when they start taking an interest in babies, or when you’re pregnant with their sibling, or when you’re having The Talk, or when they come home at nineteen years old, pregnant with their own unplanned baby? Do you never speak of it?
It’s no good saying I may never have to think about it, because there’s every chance I will. Kids are curious by nature, and as soon as they’re aware of the concept of unplanned pregnancies, you can bet they’ll be asking whether they were planned or not. I know I asked. I know my siblings did. Whenever the topic comes up, all of my friends seem to know whether they were planned or not. Those who weren’t planned talk of themselves as “surprise babies”.
Does this language show that we’re afraid of using the term “unplanned”? That it’s dirty in some way?
I mean, some people argue that there’s no such thing as an unplanned pregnancy. That you either use contraception, or you expect a pregnancy. I think that’s a pretty simplistic belief, myself, and any number of pregnancy bloggers will tell you that yes, unplanned pregnancies happen. I certainly never planned to get pregnant at nineteen. That doesn’t answer the question, though. How do I approach that topic if and when SB asks me, “Was I planned?”.
I want to say I’ll go for honesty. I’ll tell her that sometimes, pregnancies aren’t planned. Sometimes you don’t take enough precautions, or you do and it fails, or you throw caution to the wind just one time, and you get pregnant – but it’s so easy to conflate “unplanned” with “unwanted”, and the unfortunate truth is that often, they can be synonymous. I didn’t want to be pregnant at first – and how can I look my daughter in the eye and lie to her if she ever asks me whether I wanted her or not?
I don’t want to use all that flowery language that perpetuates the image of unplanned pregnancies as a taboo topic; a dirty word. But I will do that, if it means protecting my daughter. I’ll call her a surprise; a happy accident – never unplanned; never a mistake. If that’s what it takes to reassure her that from the moment I got over the shock, I wanted her and loved her as much as any other child is loved and wanted, I’ll do it.
Or I’ll find a middle ground. I’ll tell her that I didn’t plan to get pregnant. I was pregnant by accident, but we made a choice to have her and raise her. My pregnancy was unplanned, but no part of her life ever has been nor ever will be a mistake. That I was young and afraid, and I did consider all of my options before choosing to continue with the pregnancy – but the most important thing is that she is here now.
I don’t know when I’ll broach the topic. I don’t know whether I’ll let her bring it up first, or whether I’ll start the conversation. One thing’s for sure, though – I am going to tell her, face to face.
I think I could cope with my mum telling me I wasn’t planned. I’m not sure I could cope with reading it on her blog.