A name materialized out of thin air as I sat up in bed. Immediately, I knew you were going to be a girl. To me, the name was perfect and so was its meaning.
It was my first real connection with you.
I 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 pretty impatient to meet you.
Week 20 – It’s amazing what can change from one week to the next. My belly is now out in full force! I’m thankful that I’ve felt physically comfortable and full of energy as of late. The first trimester, as they say, is less comfortable and looking back 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 in-tuned 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. From a poppy seed to the size of a papaya, each gyno visit has been pretty mind-blowing.
Thank youuu, hormones! Pregnancy so far has been more relaxed than I expected. I’ve laughed harder than ever before and at this point, I feel generally light and carefree. 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. What first 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.
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 nomadic life fitting a toddler into it. Yet, one day, the desire bubbled up inside of us. I know that moving to Switzerland allowed our lives to slow down and open up. This safe and beautiful country served as an ideal backdrop to life – even in pandemic times. With that free time and headspace that lockdown allowed, me and Laurens started to dream of a family in a way we never did before.
What would it be like? Were we ready for the monumental change?
Week 28 – The third trimester has officially kicked in and I feel the (mild) discomforts I had been warned about. Sleep is increasingly harder to come by, pregnancy brain is real (!) and I feel the upwards pressure on my lungs and stomach all day. Energy is slightly lower, but with my bigger belly, I feel prouder by the day as she protrudes outwards.
I rub my belly to comfort her and maybe even myself. It’s a special feeling that I’ve found hard to wrap up into words.
Week 30 – I got an iron infusion two weeks ago to address low iron levels and unreal fatigue. I hope this will help get me across the finish line as I’ll need I’ll the energy I can get in the coming months…Now I’m adjusting to my newfound weight and my changing body.
A New Adventure – We’re Moving Out of Zurich
In our experience abroad, a new career opportunity presents itself every 2-3 years. In January, the prospect of a new job popped up for Laurens, and after weeks of back and forth and interviews, he finally took a new job with an entirely new chocolate company. We knew the job was perfect for him, but that meant finding a new apartment and imagining a new life outside of Zurich.
As luck would have it, we quickly found a place we loved and we signed the same week. We’ll be 25 minutes away from Zurich by train which isn’t so bad. I’m excited for the peaceful proximity the countryside and mountains, and we’ll be close to the lake as well. The city girl inside me is enjoying the last few weeks living so close to the buzzing city center, enjoying the ease of walking wherever I want to go, whenever.
Creating a family away from home
If I’m honest, having a baby away from close family and friends isn’t exactly what I envisioned for my motherhood journey. I’m prepared that it will prove challenging, and maybe even lonely at first. I know in the coming months it will be important to surround myself with a community of women, and young moms in a similar situation. Luckily, the moms I’ve befriended so far have been so inspiring and helpful, especially because I don’t have many close friends nearby with kids.
As of April 1st, we’ll be in a new town, a new apartment, awaiting the biggest adjustment of our lives. It’s a bittersweet feeling to expect so much change, but it’s also thrilling and a feeling we’ve become familiar with. I know by now that it’s so crucial to slow down and be purposeful about the coming days and weeks, to take in what life is like now, instead of obsessing over what it will become. Meditation has helped me be more present, especially during pregnancy.
If there’s one thing that brings me comfort, it’s the fact that maybe we’ve been preparing for this moment our entire relationship. Walking into the unknown with open arms has kind of been our ‘thing.’ 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. All I know is that I’m so excited for it and as ready as I’ll ever be.
More to come soon as the weeks fly by…
Are you first time mom living overseas? I’m curious! Share your experience below in the comments.