Sitting up in bed, a name materialized into thin air. Immediately, I knew you were going to be a baby girl. To me, the name was perfect and so was its meaning. Tears flowed down my cheeks; it was my first real connection with you. I already knew then I was in for a wild ride.
Week 18 – And just like that, you are starting to take place in my belly. From a tiny seed to a burgeoning baby. The truth is, I can’t quite explain the unexpected peacefulness I’ve found in pregnancy so far. I feel excited, introspective, relaxed, and really impatient to meet you.
Week 20 – It’s amazing what can change from one week to the next. My bully is now out in full force! I’ve been lucky so far in that for the most part, I’ve felt physically comfortable and full of energy. (The first trimester, as they say, is less comfortable and that was definitely true in my experience. I was constantly nauseous and any trip on a bus or tram would send me reeling. Also, eating while pregnant wasn’t as fun as I imagined – it was hard to find foods that didn’t repulse me.)
Taking it Week by Week
With each sonogram, I’ve felt more and more at peace with the change going on inside of me. Although she was only a few millimeters big, I held her very first picture in my hands on the tram ride home. From a poppy seed to the size of a papaya, each gyno visit is pretty amazing and mind-blowing.
Pregnancy so far has been more relaxed than I expected. I’ve laughed harder than ever before and I feel generally light and hopeful. It’s this dizzying feeling gratitude and excitement…wonderment and worry all at once.
Week 24 – As I sit here in one of my favorite cafes, I feel my belly jolt. My little girl is active and has been for six weeks now. First what felt like tiny hiccups grew into unmistakable flutters and then kicks. The feeling sends giddy energy throughout my body. I’ve never felt a joy like this. It’s a sensation of simultaneous joy and fear.
The truth is, of all of my friends, I was always probably the least likely to have a baby. I never dreamt of it, never imagined our expat life fitting a toddler into it. Yet, one day, the desire bubbled up inside me and us. I know that moving to Switzerland allowed our lives to slow down and open up. A safe, beautiful country as a backdrop made living in pandemic times seem, well, bearable. With that free time and headspace that lockdown allowed, me and Laurens started to dream of a family…What could it be like? Were we ready for the monumental change?
Expat Parents, A New Adventure
Having a baby away from close family and friends isn’t exactly what I envisioned for my motherhood journey. It will prove challenging, and maybe even lonely at first, so I know in the coming weeks and months it will be important to surround myself with a community of women in a similar situation. So far the moms I’ve befriended have been so inspiring, comforting, and helpful, especially because it’s good to see examples of what motherhood really looks like.
I’m in awe of them even now, wondering how I will adapt with a little human in tow.
If there’s one thing that brings me comfort, it’s the fact that maybe we’ve been preparing for this moment our whole relationship. Preparing for the unknown and the unexpected has been our thing. Constant change and adapting isn’t foreign to us. I’m already in love with how impending fatherhood has changed Laurens, how it’s strengthened our bond in a really beautiful way.
Becoming expat parents is probably the biggest adventure and challenge we’ll ever take on, but I’m so excited for it and as ready as I’ll ever be…
More to come soon…