Crafting our parental advisory

Less than two weeks after Kenley and I found out we were expecting, my dad emailed me to ask about booking a flight to L.A. for an October visit.

I wasn’t even eight weeks pregnant, and we weren’t ready to share our news just yet.

But I was pretty sure he and my mom would rather be here in November instead, when their first grandchild is due. So I tried to stall him.

Soon, though, I ran out of excuses, and we decided we had to let Dad in on our secret — as long as he swore not to tell Mom until we were ready.

He assured me that he was good at keeping secrets. After all, he was a lawyer. Plus, he’d already proved he could be trusted. When Kenley asked him three years ago for his blessing to marry me, Dad somehow managed to keep it a surprise for Mom until after the question had been popped.

A little more than two weeks after letting Dad know, I got a pleading email from him: “I’m about to bust, but I’m keeping quiet.”

So after our 10-week doctor’s appointment, Kenley and I finally shared the news with my mom, Kenley’s parents and all of our brothers. (We were most concerned about Kenley’s middle brother, Logan, who has done surprisingly well in keeping this secret for so long.)

It’s the first grandchild for both sets of our parents, so they, of course, were thrilled (and my dad was relieved). The first comment from my mom was similar to my dad’s remark weeks earlier:

“Well, we weren’t sure whether this was ever going to happen!”

(I actually think the news is what prompted Mom to finally join Facebook — so she wouldn’t miss any photos of her grandchild.)

We told Kenley’s parents via video-chat, and we should have recorded his mom’s reaction. It rivaled that of a viral video we’d seen, in which a daughter delivers the news to her parents and her mother completely loses it.

On our video-chat, there was shrieking, maybe a few tears, and I’m quite sure Mrs. Young still has a big grin on her face.

My brother, Patrick, sent me an urgent text after finding out the news: “Very important: Will your unborn child be a Clemson or Carolina fan?!”

My answer? “Neither!” For the sake of our marriage, the baby must remain neutral — or ignore college football — until it is 18. So please, no orange or garnet baby clothes!

Kenley and I had planned a trip back to South Carolina in May; I had a girls beach trip in Charleston, and Kenley and I also were invited to a friend’s wedding in the city. We were looking forward to sharing the news with our friends when we arrived — until we got some potentially alarming results from a first-trimester screening. We decided to take a non-invasive follow-up test before we left.

And then, all we could do was wait for the results. That meant that Kenley and I boarded the plane to S.C. on a Wednesday, not knowing whether the baby was OK.

It seemed like the longest 11 days of my life. I initially delayed going to the beach while waiting on the results, but ultimately I decided to drive there Friday morning, since I’d flown across the country to hang out with my girlfriends. I got the phone call from the doctor en route to the beach.

The only word I heard her say was “OK,” and then I burst into tears of joy on the sidewalks of downtown Charleston.

I called Kenley — who was at The Jam Room studio in Columbia, recording his soon-to-be-released record — and told him the good news. (Check out Kenley’s music.)

Later that afternoon on the beach, I got to share the news with my friends, some of whom I’ve known since preschool. They got suspicious as soon as they realized my Solo cup was filled with ice water, and not a cold beer. (My friend Kendall noted that no matter how hard I gripped the cup, my hands wouldn’t stop shaking.)


And later that weekend, back home in Columbia, I revealed the news to some of my friends from college. We sent this photo to those who couldn’t join us.


Once we got back to Los Angeles, Kenley announced our news to our friends here during a gig at an Irish pub, after dedicating a cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” to me.


Photo by Maureen Roth

Perhaps the best advice I’ve received so far is from my friend Valerie (a former reporter for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., and now a Wall Street Journal reporter and mother of two). She said the funny thing about being a parent is that all the cliches are true:

It’s hard work, it changes your life, etc., etc. … So let me echo what you’ve already heard: Go out to eat. Go out to the movies. Go anywhere you want to go (as you’ve spent the past several years doing, wisely)!

Now that’s advice I can follow. So in the next few months, we plan to catch a few more summer blockbusters in the theater; sample more L.A. dining establishments; see The Postal Service, The Avett Brothers and Atoms for Peace in concert; and make at least one more trip back to S.C. to relax on the beach and help my dad celebrate his retirement.

Because we have a new life-changing adventure that begins in late November!

Stay tuned for an official reveal of the sex of Baby Young.


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