Not sure if it’s the wisest advice…
I once read an online article for expectant and new parents that was full of “useful” advice, a majority of it was entirely subjective, including the only one I can remember which was ‘Don’t take advice from those who have children aged two or over as they start to forget exact details.’
Now as much as I could get into a lengthy discussion about that statement I won’t, instead I’m using it as a reason to chat about one of the few concerns we had when we found out about my right hand man’s left hand. April is quite a special month for us, it’s Limb Difference Awareness month and the month that we had our 12 week scan where our limb difference journey started. In a few days time it will be exactly two years ago since we had that scan, and if I’m to take the above statement seriously I’m going to start forgetting it soon so I figured I best crack on sharing this part of our story before it’s too late!!
Driving home from the hospital was bizarre, we had been given a scenario which I use to liken to a magic wand (see image below for what I mean) it was likely, although small, that they had seen incorrectly and he did have a left hand, there was a greater likelihood that he didn’t have a left hand but all else was well, and then there was the other small outcome, that he didn’t have a hand and there was also something really seriously not right health wise.
It was that last small likelihood that played on our minds, the rest of it didn’t bother us, but what if our baby isn’t going to make it full term?! What if they are seriously ill when born?! With a four week wait until a scan to find this information out we had to process those worries quickly to make sure they didn’t consume our whole beings until then.
We knew we had to tell our parents, they knew that we were pregnant anyway, we also knew we had to tell a small group of our friends because they also knew we were pregnant and they would be our main and important support network. The bigger question was “Do we announce we’re pregnant?” With the potential that baby might not make it, do we share?
The day after our 12 week scan was Jon’s birthday, we were having a wonderful chilled family day, soaking in some beautiful views and decided we should start announcing. All the pros and cons and it simply came down to feeling like the right thing to do, we had faith that all was going to be well with baby.
The way we told people differed depending on their category, which went something like this (N.B. This is a very crude way of categorising and the reality may have been a little less so!):
1) Would buy you a descent present.
This category includes family, close friends, people that are involved with your life on a regular basis that know you well enough to be able buy you a descent gift if called upon to do so. Generally these are the people you feel will figure out you are pregnant because they actually notice a change in behaviour and baggier clothes! This category received the pregnancy announcement and within the congratulations conversation we explained that they had noticed the limb difference and we needed to wait a few weeks before finding out whether there was anything serious going on. Good, open conversations were had.
2) Chinese 5 Spice
People in this category are those who are infrequently involved with your life but you love, respect and care about them. If you’ve seen the Michael McIntrye sketch you’ll understand (hopefully) the name of this category. We announced, mainly through Facebook (which makes it official!!) but didn’t tell them about any further details unless they asked us directly how things were going, our response then was the same as the first category. Good, open conversations were had.
3) Random Lady at the Bus Stop
People in this category generally appeared a bit later in the pregnancy when you can no longer physically hide the growing bump. Conversations with this category would go something like this:
Randomer: oooo when are you due?
Me: oh I’m not pregnant.
Jokes, I’m not that mean (that was actually Jon’s response because he is) so this is actually how it went:
Randomer: oooo when are you due?
Randomer: oh wow that bump is huge, you’ve got awhile to go!
Me: yeah (!!!!!!!)
Randomer: do you know what you’re having?
a baby No, we haven’t found out.
Randomer: oh how lovely!
Pretty much end of conversation. It never did feel quite right to go into our journey and ins and outs with ‘randomer’.
How do you tell people? Personally I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to tell people, there’s only ever your way and what’s right for you and your partner at that time. The biggest thing we noticed from ours experience was that because we were positive in the way we told people the response we got back was positive. You will get the occasional person who isn’t, but that’s fine, that’s natural. People struggle when it comes to change, things that are different and new, because it’s hard to see how it will work out as they haven’t got any waypoints, nothing tangible to hold onto. That’s why months like April (Limb Difference Awareness month), charities such as Reach and Lucky Fin Project, and all the various amazing bloggers, books etc are amazing, because they are creating waypoints for people.
I hope this has been somewhat useful, and if you’re pregnant with your very own lucky fin, remember you have a person growing inside you who is amazing, who is perfectly made, perfectly whole and is full of ability.