Stuck Between My Head, My Heart, and a Hard Place

(Warning: There is a lot of rage and a ton of expletives below.)

I’m just going to get the sad part out of the way. It looks like my mom won’t make it through her latest round of illness. After 13 months in the hospital, her heart is starting to shut down. It isn’t imminent, but it will happen soon.

When this became clear to me, I had a huge internal debate. To tell her that I’m pregnant or not to tell her.

My head kept insisting that I wasn’t ready. We’re too early on to know if this is a viable pregnancy.  Telling her will mean we have to tell everyone else, and I don’t want that yet. Whether or not my mom knows, it doesn’t change anything. She is dying, and I am pregnant. Facts are facts.

My heart was a weepy mess. As with all the ups and downs over the past year, I have made a point of making sure my mom felt loved and cared for. I’ve let her know I think of her every single day. I tried to make sure she experienced joy and happiness, and this certainly qualifies.

As should come as no surprise, I had a plan for telling people that we are pregnant. I wanted to wait until the 8 week ultrasound to tell family and close friends. If all went well, we’d let the world at large know after the first trimester.

As should come as no surprise, the Universe is shitting all over my plan.

If there was some magical way I could just tell my mom… that’s what I wanted. I don’t give a shit about anyone else right now. No, really… I’ve become remarkably unfeeling about morons over the last few days. For example, Mr. O pointed out that his mother may be upset if she finds out we told other people first. To which I responded, “No problem. I’ll just tell her to go fuck herself.”  And I mean it. I will take on that burden for the rest of my natural born life and well into eternity.

I am willing to tell my mother-in-law to take a flying leap every day until one of us dies, if it means I can tell my mom. That’s when I realized how important this was to me.

Even though what’s happening to my mom is profoundly sad, I still wanted this to be happy. I hope that doesn’t sound heartless, but this is happy. IF is an asshole, but it has taught me some life skills– among them the importance of holding both the good and the incredibly hard. Your life is never, ever painted with just one brush.

So Mr. O and I made a video for my mom that my dad could play for her in the hospital. It was funny, and a little bit cheeky. We had so much fun making it together too- I haven’t laughed like that in a while.

After she saw it, my dad Facetimed us in so we could celebrate with my mom. It was amazing and painful. As much as I am so grateful we got to share this with her, I am also so fucking mad. Of all the ways I pictured telling my parents, it was never with my mom hooked up to a ventilator. I am grateful, but I am not a saint. This is fucked up. FUCKED UP.

As I knew it would, the cat is creeping out of the bag. My sister was in the room when my dad played the video. My brother found out because my dad blurted it out in the car. My mom was telling her nurse the other day. All of which is fine. I do not regret the decision to tell her for one minute.

Now comes the hard part… (oh, you thought that was it?)

My mom has asked me not to come see her. She wants me to focus on taking care of this new little life. My mom knows how hard this has been for me and Mr. O. She had a lot of difficulties with her pregnancies, and worries about this for us. And so she doesn’t want me to undergo the travel and the stress.

I’m checking with my doctor today but I worry that even if we were cleared to go, my being there would cause her anxiety (which is what sets off her heart, we’ve found.)

Merry fucking Christmas to me.



  1. My Perfect Breakdown · December 22, 2014

    I wish I had words that would make a difference for you right now, I wish anyone did… I am incredibly sorry that your mom is not going to make it much longer. There is just something so cruel about losing your mom, and something so cruel about the timing of it all for you.
    Nothing about this is fair, but I believe you are right, your baby is a happy event so hold onto that happy to the very best of your ability! As we are telling our families about our plans to adopt, I wish everyday I could tell my mom and share the excitement with her, so I am thrilled that you decided to tell your mom. I think in the long run you will never regret being able to share that joy with her. And, I 110% agree with you, screw anyone who gets upset because she knew first. If people don’t understand, then too bad for them!

    • thecommonostrich · December 22, 2014

      I realized that the moment I did it- I do not regret telling her (and no one else) for one minute. If I can say one thing about my mom’s health over the last year, I have no regrets.

      • My Perfect Breakdown · December 23, 2014

        I have no doubt that in your future, having no regrets will be a blessing. Lots of love to you.

  2. AdoptiveBlackMom · December 22, 2014

    Life can be so ishtty. 😦 I’m glad that you told your mom on your own terms and all be damned who get pissy about it. Do you! I’m so sorry to read about your mom. That circle of life ish if for the birds. 😦 Enjoy the happy though. Don’t let all of the surrounding foolishness still that from you.

    • thecommonostrich · December 22, 2014

      I did realize after a while that I can do this on my terms. Why? Because WHY NOT? It was really liberating. I feel relieved because I know I will never debate whether or not telling her was the right thing.

  3. AndiePants · December 22, 2014

    Oh. This is heart wrenching. What an awful stuck spot to be in. I’m glad you got to tell her, but the circumstances are miserable. So much love to you!

  4. labmonkeyftw · December 22, 2014

    Oh my dear, I am sorry your two paint brushes are so balanced: I would that life were all sunshine for you, but I am very glad you and Mr. O had fun making the video, and that you told your mom. Happiness deserves to be shared. I am so so sorry that your mom’s condition is continuing to worsen.
    Also, anyone unfeeling enough to be put out by not knowing early deserves to not know (as they would also likely be unfeeling in the face of anything going awry and thus not helpful): do not spend any worries on your in-laws.
    I don’t know the right answer for visiting. Ask your doctor, and ask your mom’s doctor, and then decide.

  5. InfertileGirl · December 22, 2014

    Ugh, this is the worst. Wishing both you and your mom peace and strength in such a difficult situation.

  6. TryTryAgain · December 22, 2014

    So sorry to hear this, so unbelievably unfair xx

  7. melisskavits · December 22, 2014

    So so sorry – can’t even imagine the sadness and emotions of what you are living with. I’m so glad you got to tell your mom at least…I think that is something special and you will never regret it…and you’re so right -screw anyone who doesn’t understand your choice! Sending lots of love and peace to you and your family during this time.

  8. lovingthemarriedlife · December 23, 2014

    I’m so sorry you are going through all this! I wish there were some words of comfort I could offer yes this is a fucked up situation and I admire how you are coping!

  9. Awaiting Autumn · December 23, 2014

    I’m so glad that you told your Mom. You will always cherish that decision. I hope you find some peace or answers for how you can visit.

  10. Lacey · December 23, 2014

    I’m glad you told your mom too. It’s such a shitty situation, but it was the right decision to tell her. But I can’t imagine how hard it was to come to that decision. Undoubtedly, she is so incredibly happy for you – and maybe you both needed that little bit of happiness (her getting to hear you say it, you being able to share it with her during this time). I am sending you all of my good thoughts, prayers, vibes, everything. Wishing you and your family lots of peace.

  11. julieann081 · December 24, 2014

    This is so heartbreaking. I am so, so very sorry for your mom, you, and your family. ❤ I wish I could say some magic words and make you feel better, but we both know I can't. I am glad that you were able to celebrate the news of your baby with your mom. That is truly awesome that you got to share that with her. ❤ I am sending so, so very much love and light to you and your family. HUGS!

    • notpregnantinrezza · December 24, 2014

      How incredibly sad. I’m sorry to hear about your mum’s health and what a bunch of tough decisions. Take care.

  12. Chris · December 25, 2014

    I am so very, very sorry about your mom. I lost mine 8 years ago and I miss her everyday. I think you made a great decision and if your MIL can’t understand why you did it the way you did under these circumstances, well too bad. I’m so sorry she doesn’t want you to travel.

  13. Katie · January 1, 2015

    I am so sorry to read this. I cannot imagine the turmoil you have been/are going through and the truly harrowing circumstances that is happening for you at the moment. It’s really sad what is happening to your mum (and family) let alone during such a magical time for you. I think telling her was 100% the right decision, yes it’s not the ideal way but you probably made her so so happy. My thoughts are with you and yours.

  14. I realize I don’t know you, but regardless, my heart goes out to you. I’m reading this at work, and I have tears in my eyes… While there is so much beauty in this world (your pregnancy) there is also so much hurt (your mother) and for the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out why some are forced to face so much hurt in their lives. And I know what people say, that hurt makes you stronger, and while I do believe that, it’s never really made me feel much better or taken away the pain. I wish there was something I could say or do to comfort you… Please know I’m thinking of you and your family.

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