As my waistline expanded
As my waistline expanded, my energy levels went way down. I tended to sleep as soon as my shift finished and drag myself out of bed for work the following day. Work colleagues also started to noticemy expanding waist and would ask questions like, is there something you have to tell us. I remained tight lipped.
I met up with Wendy and she had news. She too was pregnant. I was really excited to know I wasn’t going through this alone. And Ben had gone to Australia. I wasn’t particularly upset with this, if anything I was pleased he was out of the way. It made it a bit less complicated.
I knew I had to tell my parents but I had no idea how. Finally I decided to cook a nice lunch for Mum at my place on a January Saturday and I would tell her. Lunch was lovely but I chickened out, I couldn’t bring myself to say the words and she still didn’t notice even with my huge belly, I was over 5 months by this point. Later in the week I went to the night trots. I saw some relatives from a distance. They could see I was pregnant.
The following weekend, I was watching TV. The NZ games were on.. Dick Quax won his race. It was brilliant. I rang my mother and said Did you see Dick Quax, wasn’t that amazing. And by the way, I am pregnant. It wasn’t very subtle but the cat was out of the bag at last. Mum said Oh, I will ring you back and hung up.
After 10 agonising minutes Mum rang back. The first question was who is the father. I said Ben, Well she said I saw him a couple of months back and he asked how I was. If I had know you were pregnant I would have bloody told him. She also said something about Michael Jackson’s song, Ben being about a rat was appropriate.
Then she rang Dad and told him. He wrote me a really nice letter saying he had made mistakes too and we would work out what to do for the best.
That was the reality of the day. If you were unmarried and pregnant there was generally two options
- You get married very quietly and quickly and then have an prem baby. Nice and simple. Thankfully, Ben being in Australia ruled that option out.
- You went away and had the baby and came back thinner and wiser and no one would ever know. It would never be spoken of again. You pretend it never happened.
The family decided on option 2. I was going to Mt Maunganui and stay with my brother and his wife. They had been told that she couldn’t have children so they would adopt my baby and I would come back to Upper Hutt thinner and wiser and no one would have to know.
That is also when I realised how culturally different Wendy and I were, I had always thought Maori were just like us just with darker skin. But Wendy’s mother was over the moon about the arrival of a grandchild. It didn’t matter that Wendy and Brad weren’t married. This was about Whakapapa, about growing the family. I was so jealous, Why couldn’t my family see it that way.
But my own fate was sealed. I was going to Mt Maunganui whether I like it or not.
The decision was out of my hands.
© Barbara Hart 2014