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The Whispering Sessions
by The Man from Matunga (MFM)

Typically, most people do not reveal that they are pregnant until the first trimester is over; one of the reasons for this is the high incidence of spontaneous abortions (over 25%) in the first twelve weeks. It would look pretty stupid if you announced to the world that you were pregnant and then a little later had to call up everyone to say that now you were not.

Its Only the Flu

Our main worry was how to explain WFM's confinement in bed. Who to tell, who not to. How much to reveal, how much to hide. What excuses to make and how to sound convincing when making them. I never knew that these things needed exquisite planning, foresight and presence of mind. From being an active professional working 12 hours a day, WFM was suddenly completely out of circulation. Friends, relatives, acquaintances and professional colleagues, all needed to be handled appropriately. 

For our relatives we had a stock answer; "she is not well and resting". Some of the more concerned relatives wanted to come and see her and would even call up on a regular basis to ask about her health, but my parents managed to tell them that it was not a serious problem; just a touch of flu and stress that needed a little bed rest. We somehow managed to keep away my large extended family for the first few weeks. This was necessary because my extended family is so big and so many women have nothing to do except to keep track of what goes on in the world around them, that to tell any one of them would have meant an All-India Radio broadcast. It wasn't as if we did not tell anyone though; we shared our joy with most of our close friends and immediate family. 

We told most of our friends about the pregnancy, simply because three months is a long time to stay away from social functions. Which turned out to be a great thing, because many of them took the trouble to spend long hours with WFM, giving her much-needed company. After all, there is just so much television that you can watch, just so many books that you can read, and just so much of the net that you can surf.

She's not in, Can I Take a Message?

The bigger problem was at work. Luckily, we were able to arrange locums immediately. The other problem was about what to say to those colleagues and patients who would call and specifically ask for WFM. Our receptionists and secretaries were smart; they would first tell them that she was not in and ask if they could give an appointment; if the calling persons insisted on speaking to WFM, they would give them her cell number. WFM would then play it by ear, depending on the situation and the people calling. People however can be very perceptive when they want to; most colleagues would immediately guess that she was pregnant; if asked a direct question, WFM had decided not to lie and so many non-related individuals also came to know of her pregnancy pretty early.

The Whispering Sessions

My mother-in-law (MIL) is part of a close group of friends, who meet virtually every week. In fact, now that their children are grown-up and on their own, these ten fathers and mothers have a whale of a time. She called up one of her friends, Manju and told her, 

"WFM is pregnant and has twins, but please don't tell anybody. She is now going to be at home on complete bed-rest for about 12 weeks." 

Manju whispered back to her, "Congratulations. I'll call WFM right away and wish her. But do you know that Sarita is also pregnant with twins? Don't tell anyone, especially Sudha, that I told you (Sudha being Sarita's mother-in-law)." 

MIL agreed that she would not tell anybody and promptly called up Sudha. "Sudha, congratulations. I just heard that you are going to become a grand-mother." 
After a short, supposedly stunned silence, Sudha said "Thanks! I was going to tell you in a couple of days anyway, but how did you know?" 

MIL said, "WFM is also pregnant with twins. I had called up to tell Manju. When she heard the news, she told me about Sarita. But don't tell Manju, I told you"

Teri Sari Meri Sari se Safed Kyon?

As they compared notes, they found out that both Sarita and WFM were seeing the same gynecologist and the difference in dates was only about two weeks, Sarita having conceived earlier. Immediately, the note swapping started. 

"Sarita has to stay in bed for 24 hours and is allowed to get up only to go to the toilet". 

"WFM is allowed to move about a little more and has her meals in the kitchen and even takes short walks in the balcony". 

"Why the difference? Sarita has to elevate her legs all the time" 

"WFM sits and reads in bed. No leg elevation."

And it went on and on - Sudha even called WFM at home to check her status and was a little indignant about the fact that Sarita had to take more bed rest than WFM. Of course, Sarita and WFM had a lot in common now and their friendship bonded even more, both calling up each other regularly for company. They did meet later during the second trimester, once at Gallops and once at Biscotti, but more about these incidents later.


Things were going smoothly, until we entered the eighth week. And then, disaster struck.


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