I tried not to have too many expectations about what would happen when baby came home. The one thing I knew was that every child is different, and every parent’s experience is different. In fact, I was expecting the worst, and so far, apart from the first difficult weeks, things have not lived up to my dire expectations.
But when it came to pumping, it turns out I had very unrealistic expectations.
They say you forget the pain of childbirth. Ha! Who are they kidding? Sure, time passes, and like everything that passes, it feels less traumatic. But I’m not going to forget the pain of childbirth any more than I forget the chronic back pain I had to navigate through to get to that point.
But I can reflect back on the experience and choose to put away the worst parts. That I don’t think I can do this feeling, knowing it was all on me. And the expressions on the doctor and nurses faces toward the end when I could well see they were concerned but didn’t want to show how much. I can remember how from all this experience, I got something out of it (apart from a healthy child) – I learnt a new German word.
The question on everyone’s lips right now is… what are you having… boy or girl? Actually, we don’t know. Apparently we’re among the very few these days who don’t find out. For me, I just don’t really care. I can wait. I don’t mind what colour it wears or even what it wears – I figure that’s onesies for the first little while anyway.
I didn’t need other people to know and I also didn’t want to be one of those people that did the we know but we’re not telling anyone. Possibly because I’d inadvertently say he or she and let the cat out of the bag. In Austria the article for baby is ‘das’ – it. So that’s just easier. Though I do move between the three and confuse people no end.
Being pregnant… well to be honest it actually kind of sux.
We think we shouldn’t complain. Because everyone does it, right? Plenty of women go through this. When we’re asked how we are, we’re doing ok – it could be worse. When someone tries to help us we say “Leave me alone, I’m pregnant, not dying.” I think part of the reason for this is that we want to maintain our independence. We want to be ok. We want to be able to do all the things we can normally do. We don’t want to appear weak.
But the thing is, although we are certainly not dying, we are busy. Our bodies are working much harder than they usually do. Everyday tasks can be more difficult, can take longer than normal, and there’s this low level of discomfort all the time, I think no matter how easy your pregnancy is. There’s also this low level fear… what if I do something that compromises the baby, even unknowingly or unwillingly.
Maternity leave is a hotly debated topic the world over. I’m lucky that in Austria this translates to a pretty good deal. In fact, I was told when I first considered moving here that if I wanted to have kids one day, I should definitely stay in Austria.
I can’t go into all the details because to be honest, I don’t know them. Hubby thankfully took on all the research of the myriad of options, taking into account financial considerations, and then set it out for me in an easy to digest format.
When to reveal to the outside world that you’re pregnant is always a hot topic. Before it happened to me, I’d always considered myself pretty pro about telling people I was pregnant early on… my close family and friends, at least. While I understand the reasons not to, in the event a miscarriage, which happens far more than most realise, I don’t think it’s something I could deal with without my besties.
But strangely, when I did finally get pregnant, for a long time I didn’t want to tell anyone.
Before I got pregnant, I’d run through a multitude of scenarios in my mind about how it would make me feel. While I was hoping it would happen, I wasn’t sure what the prominent emotion would be. Would I be suddenly overcome with joy? Would I simply feel relief that it had finally happened? Would I burst into uncontrollable tears lasting days as I grieved the loss of my childfree life?
In the end, I think it was mostly shock. When the two lines came up I just thought to myself, right, that’s done then. It was a Friday so I wasn’t working, but it was a busy one, so I just got on with my day. But I didn’t feel any different. And it didn’t really sink in.
I have a confession. Babies freak me out. They’re small, and all-knowing and annoying in the way they can’t take care of themselves.
I’m also not completely comfortable with pregnant women. I see them out and about, trundling around with a huge bump in front of them… carrying a living creature! Growing one! They do it like they have no care in the world. Like it’s a completely normal thing. Which, let’s be honest, it is.
So the news that I’m pregnant might come as a bit of a surprise. I’m currently one of those freaky women walking around with a bump, with a freaky living creature inside me, that will turn into an actual squealing, unable to look after itself, baby.
And this was no accident. I actively made this happen.