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My Family … – Chosing to become a Mum, alone

My Family …

Telling my family was never going to be easy. For a start I am the youngest of four siblings, and perhaps more importantly, we lost our parents twenty years ago. Our Dad died when I was 12 and Mum died just 5 years later. I was just a child and although I didn’t realise it for years, I have felt alone ever since.

My siblings are much older than me … My brother by 15 years, Sister 1 by 14 years and Sister 2 by 7 years. Yes, yes they are my full brothers and sisters just my parents started young, which is a good job because they also died young! They have also never really been single.  A couple of months here and there in your early twenties doesn’t count! They have always had support on hand. They have always had the person they should call. You know, when you get a new job. When you find a great two for one deal. When you’ve had a shit day at work and you really just need someone to be there when you get home. When you don’t want to be the person to decide what to eat again, to put the bins out, even if it is only once a year! They know who they want to call first. It is not that I don’t have anyone to call. I have loads of people I could call. I don’t want to call anyone, I want to call someone. That’s the difference.

We are all very close and somewhat understandably there are times when my siblings don’t quite know where I sit … friend, sibling, child or all of the above!  So telling them something like this could go a multitude of ways:

  • They expect it, don’t even draw breathe and wonder why I am even bothering to tell them
  • They freak out, this is not how families should be started
  • They freak out because they don’t think I can cope
  • They worry because I am alone and they know that they really do not have the time or the luxury of geographic proximity to be able to support me as much as they would like
  • They worry because they think I haven’t thought about it and they think I don’t know how bloody hard this is going to be
  • They are relieved that I have finally decided to do it … they have been waiting for me to give them this call

I had to rip off the plaster and just tell them! Get it out of the way. As it happens there was no freaking out. Concerns, valid ones, but not actual freaking out.

I called Sister 2 first.  She would be my barometer as to how it would go with the rest of the family. If there was anything that people wanted to say but knew they shouldn’t, Sister 2 would say it, no hesitation! I tried to call her 3 times, leaving messages, sending texts. Each time my adrenaline would rocket and then drop, I would get slightly breathless. Finally I got hold of her. I just blurted out, ‘I am going to get pregnant.’ There was silence. Probably only a second, but it felt like years. Then, finally, ‘wow!’ in an excited tone. Ultimately she was really happy for me, but worried about my chances, worried about my weight*, worried about my Mentalness.** She offered support and said how glad she was that I have such good friends, The A Team. She did not make me feel mad for doing this. I talked about the fact that I wanted to know if Mum & Dad had left me a wedding fund. I have done a little research with the only people I know to ask and it seems there is no such thing. So odd, as I was the only one who was not married when they died and my brother and sisters all had pretty fun celebrations! A shame as god knows I could do with the cash now, to help me start a family of my own. Just something else to put on the ‘Not Meant to Be’ list. A set back, a heart-breaking one, but one I am going to ignore and not dwell on. Not heart-breaking because of the money, but heart-breaking that they died when I was so young that my future was not clear to them. Their baby being married must have not been on the horizon.

The plaster was ripped off, so I called Sister 2. She was seriously excited! She went up a couple of octaves and she cried. Happy tears, she knows this is all I have ever really wanted. She also thinks that this will help with what my family and friends, lovingly, call my Mentalness. She truly believes, rightly I reckon, that a large part of my Mentalness is my need, my want to not be lonely, to have a family of my own, to feel part of it all, to belong.

My brother, as ever, was more pragmatic. He seemed really pleased, but he was also, rightly, worried about the financial strain this will put on me and also the mental toll this could take. He will support me fully, I know he will, but ultimately I had said the word sperm a lot to him and I knew he was in his office so I felt like our, probably out of the blue, conversation had reached it’s natural end! Once I had told them all I felt relieved. So relieved. I also felt that this had all just got real! No going back now. The button had firmly been pushed. People know my secret.

*I am a big girl. I have always been a big girl. For the 17 years that I had a Mum, she was obsessed with weight. My weight (that of a normal child,) her weight (thin,) anyone’s weight, everyone’s weight. It was at a time diet food became a thing, she was forever buying diet bloody yoghurt, Peach Melba mainly. She looked at Jane Fonda with stars in her eyes. Anyway, I think this early exposure to her obsession possibly started my pretty bad relationship with food. As soon as she was gone and couldn’t impose rules on me, I would eat whenever I could, as much as I could. There was no one to stop me. I had no mum anymore.  I am not blaming my mum for my inability to eat normal portions, but I truly believe she made me think about food as much as I do. My Dad owned a food manufacturing factory which didn’t help either! To this day I eat good food, I just eat enough for the family I wish I had! I think people think I don’t know I am big. Of course I do, I have to carry it round with me. I am starting Slimming World this week. Urgh. But needs must and hopefully with such a definite goal now (As opposed to the ‘men will only like me if I am thin,’ ‘I want to look like my sisters,’ ‘I want to get healthy for good’ ones) then maybe I am on to a winner this time.**I have suffered from depression and anxiety in my time. I spent a long time working through it. Tears of a Clown is a song that entirely resonates with me, ‘but you can’t have depression, you are so funny’ etc etc. I also have a healthy fear of nearly everything! Mainly heights and motorways. The problem is I live alone so am able to indulge in such madness. I am getting better though, people don’t think I am but it is true. They don’t know how much I used to hide from them!
Photo: This photo was taken when I was on the phone to Sister 2, telling her about The PlanPhoto: This photo was taken when I was on the phone to Sister 2, telling her about The Plan

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