The Birthday Surprise

14/09/2012 17:10 BST | Updated 14/11/2012 10:12 GMT

Eleven weeks accidentally pregnant and having broken the news to my son I decided it was time to tell my family. A most apt and suitable occasion presented itself on the 69th birthday of my mother, this would be one surprise she would not forget!

So it was that I arrived at my parents' apartment armed with pastries, coffee and my grand announcement.

"Guess?" I said, "Guess what?"

Had I won the lotto?


Had the BBC decided to green light the serialisation of The Honey Trap?


Had I lost weight?

I wish.

Was I finally out of the red?


Had I won the lotto? For the second time, no.


"Don't tell me you're pregnant."

So I didn't respond. I said nothing.

My son and I were beaming, it was written all over our faces.

My mother had guessed correctly.

Traditionalists at heart, my father was shocked, my mother appalled.

"Whose is it?" They asked.

"Mine" I replied.

"Why do you always have to be so contrary?" muttered my dad.

"Who's the father?"

They had met the Glam Rocker once for about a minute in my garden at an end of summer party I had.

They asked if we would get married.




"Will you even live together?"

Too early to say....

They were flabbergasted, unsure how to respond.

"I don't know what to say" my Dad sighed, and went to put on the kettle.

We took our usual stances around the kitchen table.

I understood. They only wanted what many other parents would hope for their pregnant daughter, basically social legitimacy. I was still and would forever remain their little girl. I needed to be looked after and preferably by a man.

My mother began twitching, "What have I reared?" she said, "What have I reared?"

Her response was understandable. They grew up in Ireland in an era when one could be branded by a sense of shame. Sex outside the confines of marriage was sinful. It was the ruination of women, leading to unwanted bastards and the scorching fires of hell. Farm fields yielded more than potatoes, and even when I was a youngster, there were incidences of babies found in furrows and the miserable reality suffered by many a young Irish girl.

It was hard for my parents to fathom how my lifestyle should be so diametrically opposed to the future they had envisaged for me.

In the end it took them a while to get used to the idea but sure enough, they were eventually won round and suddenly wanted to know more about the Glam Rocker. I refrained from dwelling on the more colourful shenanigans he got up to in his youth or his debauched lifestyle when his band were top of the charts, the drinks, the groupies, the drugs. Nor did I mention his wife... or rather soon to be ex-wife. He assured me divorce proceedings were on-going. Instead, I concentrated on the music awards won, record sales and that he had a viable bank account.

Next in line to be told were my siblings, one of my brothers, a dad of three, immediately hugged me and my sister-in-law demanded the gory details from conception to present day. My older sister looked at me aghast. Her mouth gaped open until my son popped a piece of my mother's famously light Victoria sponge inside. As for my youngest brother, a counsellor living in New York, he declared he was happy as long as I was happy.

"Are you happy?" he asked with a searching shrink- tone of voice.

Despite the increasing nausea, dry, itchy skin, (though I am not sure if this is from stretching or the central heating) and a continuous low-level headache...

"Yes" I replied, "I am happy".


Systems Uploaded

At 11 weeks pregnant, the fetus now measures 4cm. Brain, lungs, liver and kidneys, have all formed. It can suck, swallow and even yawn. It can also 'breathe' amniotic fluid and urinate. Soon it will be able to grasp things in the womb. All organ systems are functioning but will keep developing and maturing in preparation for birth. Already busy kicking and stretching, its movements are now more fluid.