The time has come to tell the rest of our family about our baby-to-be.
One of the few perks of having a small family – one parent is an only child and the other only has one sibling – is that this job was pretty easy for me. My parents had already told my only aunt and uncle about the news and I was surprised to hear that they hadn’t immediately shared this information with my uncle’s kids (this is a second marriage for my aunt and uncle), all of whom are at least 8-15 years older than I.
My youngest (and dare say favorite) cousin and his wife have been unable to conceive for years and are understandably very private about the matter. I have heard through the familial grapevine that the subject is too painful for them to discuss and, because of this pain and struggle, they decided not to pursue medical interventions or adoption. They recently shared with my uncle that they’re moving to a different house because their current neighborhood is extraordinarily family oriented and being constantly reminded of what they don’t have is just too much for them.
It was really important for me to try to find a way to sensitively relay our news to my youngest cousin and his wife. I have a lot of people in my life who have struggled with infertility, including my parents, and I want to do my best to be an ally to these folks. There’s a possibility that I might see this cousin, his wife and my aunt and uncle at a post-Thanksgiving party, and I didn’t want the issue to come up for the first time at that gathering. It just seemed harsh and completely inappropriate.
After asking my parents for their sage advice, something that never used to happen but is happening more often these days, I made the decision to send all of my cousins and spouses a handwritten letter to announce our pregnancy. That way, I wasn’t treating my youngest cuz and his wife differently than the rest of his siblings, but was still allowing them the opportunity to privately learn about and process this information in whatever way and by whatever timeline they needed.
In the middle of the night, I saw that I had a post on my Facebook wall from my oldest cousin’s wife, which said, “Received your joyful letter. Xoxo.” They live the farthest away, so I’m guessing that all of my cousins have received our letter. Now, pretty much everyone I plan to tell in my family is aware. (We made the decision not to relay the details to my only living grandmother, who is almost 90, frail and has dementia, because we didn’t want to further confuse her. We know she’ll be thrilled to learn that a great-grandchild is on the way, though, and she’s made the assumption that we’re adopting.)
K has much larger family than I do, and most of the folks on his mother’s side of the family will know about our pregnancy once he tells his only living grandmother, which he plans to do next weekend. K wants to tell his favorite aunt before she hears about it through her mother because he has a very special relationship with this aunt – I adore her, too – and we know she’ll be thrilled. He has plans to meet his aunt for lunch on Tuesday before our next OB appointment. I’m kind of pouty that I can’t be in attendance, but I look forward to hearing about it.
K and I haven’t talked much about disclosing to his father’s side of the family. They’ve been late to know about a lot of our news, including about K’s trans identity and our wedding plans. I think we’ve been nervous to tell them a lot of our major news because his aunts and uncles on that side of the family are significantly older. K’s dad was a later-in-life baby for his parents and was basically raised as an only child because all of his siblings had moved out of the house, married, and some even had children before he was born. I’m sure K’s aunt and uncle in Texas would be thrilled by the specifics, though we might just relay the information in broad strokes to the rest of his aunts and uncles through a holiday card that’s signed from “K, C and Baby Our-hyphenated-lastname, expected to join the family on April 26, 2013.”
How have you uniquely shared major announcements with your loved ones?