Ellie’s Pregnancy Journey Part 3: Telling Our Families

Pregnancy Journey Telling families

In my previous post, I related the ups and downs of not knowing whether I was pregnant or not, even after many tests at the doctor’s office. Eventually, the good news was confirmed and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Under “normal circumstances”, telling your families that you’re pregnant should be one of the most exciting times of your life. Waiting to see their faces filled with joy about the fact that they’re going to become grandparents would make anyone’s day. Our situation, however, was a little different.

We decided to wait until after Christmas to tell our families because we were not entirely sure how they were going to react. Since our families were going to spend Christmas together, we did not want there to be an “atmosphere.” The main reasons why we were concerned about telling them were because we were both still studying, we’d never lived together before, and they may have thought that this was not the right time for us to have a child.

In all honesty, my partner was concerned about telling his family more than I was because of a cultural difference. He explained to me that in Syria people do not have children outside of marriage. Therefore, he was concerned about how it could ruin his families reputation. And because we were not married then, he told me that we might have to get married before our baby is born. Initially, I was a bit surprised that people do not tend to have children out of wedlock in Syria, as I myself am a child that was not born when my parents were married. However, I was more than happy to marry him, so this was not a problem for either of us.

I waited about a month after Christmas to tell my mom because I was waiting for my partner to be ready to tell his mom. In the end, I couldn’t wait any longer because I was getting further into my pregnancy and I thought that they had the right to know. Plus, I knew I would be starting to show soon!

I told my mom on a Saturday night. I was very anxious about this, as I did not know what her initial reaction would be. I sat on her bed while she was getting ready to spend the weekend at her boyfriend’s house. I was in a dilemma with myself whether now was the right time to tell her or not, but I just had to get it out and tell her everything. When I first told her, she was first very very shocked. Then, she got a little angry with me for not telling her sooner. She couldn’t understand why I had waited. I guess she was very nervous too.

It took her about 20 minutes for the news to sink in fully. After this, her reaction changed quite dramatically to being very excited about becoming a “Nanny.” We chatted for hours. I showed her all of my 12-week scan photos and she was surprised at how small our baby was. On one of the scan photos you could see the entire layout of our baby’s hand, finger by finger. She couldn’t believe it. I told her that my partner was very worried about telling his mom, and she actually spoke to him over the phone that night and encouraged him to tell her and supported him a lot through this.

The following day, my partner told his mom. I’m not entirely sure how she reacted to the news at first, as I was not there, but I know that he showed her the scan photos of our baby as well. I also know that they were concerned about telling his father, who still lives in Syria, since we were not married. When they did announce the news to his dad, he was very shocked first, like everybody else but, in the end, he was excited and overjoyed about the new member of the family.

One thing my partner’s family did say is that me and my partner would have to get married before the baby was born. We did not have a problem doing it, as we were already engaged. But a new problem arose. I am British but my partner is not. He has a five-year visa to remain in the UK and renewing it is not easy. We both had to book appointments to have interviews with government officials to convince them that it was not a sham marriage. This process took quite a long time. Once we had the interviews, we were told that it could take up to 70 days before we knew the outcome of his visa status. After we waited and waited for the letter to arrive in the post, it was actually too late for us to get married before the baby was born! This is because the letter eventually arrived 2 months before my due date and, by that time, it was too late to book and arrange a proper wedding ceremony (plus I did not fancy going into labour while walking down the aisle!) Nevertheless, because we had the interviews to get married and everything was in the process, his family accepted this as if we were actually married so, in the end, everyone was happy with our news of a new little arrival!

Read how the story continues here.

Ellie Style
Ellie-Louise Style has just finished her Master's degree in Broadcast Journalism at City, University of London. She is a new mum to her three-week-old daughter. She currently lives in London with her fiancé, and enjoys writing about her pregnancy and parenting experiences.

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