With unemployment looming on the horizon, I could care less about taking time off from that unemployment placeholder that I call a “job” these days, and while I would like to save my vacation time so that I can get paid all those hours after my last day (thereby extending my income as long as possible), I also am completely out of give a sh*ts. And tired of concealing my nausea at work. So when My Better Half™ had a work trip in Las Vegas, I jumped at the chance to go along for the ride. (Not because I love Las Vegas. I actually hate it. But just getting out of town for a few days sounded like just the thing I needed).
Though I’m not part of the conference, I keep running into people I know who invariably ask “What’s new?” Well…a lot!. Let’s see: I’ve been laid off and haven’t found work yet so I’m unemployed in a matter of weeks, I’m giving up on museum work and don’t know WTF to do with my life, and, hmmm, what was that other thing? Oh, yeah, we’re having a baby!! Of course I can’t tell them any of that last part. It’s way too early. We haven’t even told our families. So I just make small talk with conference folks until I can make for the nearest exit at the first opportunity.
This line of questioning does make me think about how to break the news to friends. I guess ‘break the news’ doesn’t quite feel right. After all, this is something we’re very excited (and really a little nervous) about. But here’s the thing: I haven’t gone around broadcasting to our friends and family that we’ve not been trying not to get pregnant for quite awhile now. I’ll wait while you re-read that sentence. Ready? Ok. It’s been a private thing for us, and I figured we’d share any exciting news if/when we had the good fortune to get pregnant. It’s clear that most of our family & friends assume that the absence of a child in our house after 7 years of marriage means that we’ve elected not to have children, and I’m fine with them thinking whatever the hell they wanted to about that so I’ve done nothing to disavow them of that notion. We haven’t found the need to share that we wanted to wait to have kids (for a variety of reasons), and I guess I figured that if we did let anyone in on that reasoning, we’d constantly get a barrage of unsolicited advice and none-of-your-business questions.
An aside: One reason we waited was so we would have more income. In the 7 years we’ve been married, one or both of us has been in grad school at all times, earning very little, and there has been only two periods of time during which we had health insurance (nevermind any other benefits). Little did we know that when we finally got to feeling more stable financially, it would take us a long time after that to get pregnant. So long, in fact, that we now find the whole stable bank account thing eroding out from under us. I want to slap whoever it was that said that irony is dead. (Update: if only we knew who the F that was.)
So now that we’re having a baby at long last, I’m at a loss about how to tell people, even though I’m certain they’ll all be just as thrilled as we are. That doesn’t make it any less clumsy to tell someone out of the blue, that hey, by the way…you know how we don’t have kids and you probably thought that was by design and how it would always be? That’s about to change!
Family & close friends aside, the whole transition to unemployment complicates things and makes such an announcement even more awkward. Hey, former coworkers? You know how you thought I was going to just be unemployed? Not so fast! I’m soon to be unemployed…while I’m expecting a baby! Hey, future employer? You know how you are weighing in your mind whether I will be the best fit for your organization? How about I throw in the mix that I’m not just someone coming from a different industry with lots of skills and work experience that’s difficult to translate directly to your industry…I’m also going to be a mom in about 6 months!
Just thinking about all that makes me feel that, for now, I’m okay with putting off figuring out how to tell people the news.