My husband, Devan, wants to know when he can stop lying to everyone he cares about.
He’ll be talking about the baby, the fact that we’re having one (if all goes well) in early October. He’s been making excuses for my constant sickness, lying about why I cancelled a trip, responding vaguely to invitations. He doesn’t like it. Neither of us does.
I want to hold onto my pre-pregnancy self as long as possible. I like that self. I like the way people speak to her, react to her. I don’t want things to change. I have enough friends with babies to know how this works. Once you let people know you’re pregnant, you’ve entered into lots of conversations about your belly, your weight, your breasts and how you plan on using them, what medications you’ll take, and why you’re right or wrong about them. I don’t want to have these conversations. I like the kinds of conversation I already have.
Devan is very understanding. It’s a tough line to walk, in terms of what percentage of the vote we each get. Physically, this is happening to me. The chatter will largely be about my decisions, my body. But this is happening to Devan, too. It’s both of ours. I want him to feel like it’s both of ours. He’s kind enough to let me call the shots. When he asks when we can tell people, it’s a question, not a demand.
“Do we have to tell people?” I ask. But I already know the answer.
Part of this is about the wedding, the way I ceased to be “Aubrey” and became “The Bride” as soon as Devan and I shared the news of our engagement. It was like my previous self disappeared and all anyone wanted to know was what my dress looked like and what kind of flowers I would carry and what my new name would be.
At the same time, we were planning a cross-country move to a place we’d never even visited and I’d accepted a prestigious writing fellowship. But it was like none of that was happening. I felt my whole being had been eclipsed by the wedding. It seemed to be the only thing anyone wanted to talk to me about, the only thing about me that was interesting.
When I instruct people to keep the news off of Facebook, they are very understanding. This is, after all, the world we live in now, a world of social media where information spreads at the speed of hundreds of kbits per second. Often they ask, “For how long?” and the tension begins when I say, “Um. Maybe forever?”
My friends and family are sweet and generous. More generous than I am, by far. They want to share their excitement, invite others into it. And they want me to want that, too. After a couple of rounds of back and forth, the conversation always comes to the same place, my debate opponents’ trump card: “You can’t keep this a secret forever.”