My little Wriggler,
I’ve been thinking a lot about the journey we have ahead of us. In truth, we’re already quite some way into it and are slowly approaching the next stage. I like to refer to this next stage as your “hatching” – the German term “Schlupfen” sounds far more fitting to me than the English. Your Papa’s language can be so very descriptive and poetic.
I have rushes of excitement when I wonder what you’ll look like and the thought that soon, I shall get to meet you. It’ll make a change from having exchanges through the wall of your current home; watching ripples and twitches with bewilderment and feeling quite enchanted that you are already quite your own person, waiting for your moment to arrive. I’m so insanely curious to get to know you and watch you develop and grow.
I’m beginning to find it tricky to put socks on now. I wouldn’t say you’re a particularly big baby (yet), or that your current pod is over-sized. I’d like to think I was fairly slim in stature to begin with. When we need to get up in the morning these days, I have to either roll or slowly heave myself up. You tend to nestle in your favourite corner over night, making those first movements each morning a slightly delicate affair.
One morning this week you were so firmly nestled in your corner, I had a lop-sided bump and despite my gentle coaxing you point-blank refused to move. I definitely adopted a waddle that morning as I moved about the flat for the first 5-10 minutes.
The following morning a strange sensation roused me from my deeper sleep, and half-awake, I watched a suspiciously foot-shaped protrusion make its way from just under the right-hand side of my rib-cage over to the left; a bizarre dorsal fin of sorts that pushed back when I touched it gently.
Soon I will need to pack us a bag for your debut; you’re becoming increasingly active and I’m almost constantly watching you shift, twist and kick. Did you know that your feet already reach quite some way underneath my ribs? You seem to prefer the right-hand side, for some reason, although you did recently discover that you can park your tiny feet perfectly in the spot where my ribs part.
You also appear to be nesting quite low; almost a tad impatient, I’d say. At the last check up we couldn’t do any 3D imaging of your face for your Papa because you were nestled so tightly against the stage exit. You’ve got a while still to go, my little lion heart. Patience is going to be an important thing for you to learn, I feel.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about becoming a mother and what that means. Like all parents-to-be I have my concerns, my fears, my wishes. And as is to be expected, I want to give you the best start in life I can possibly offer; even if that isn’t that much compared to those more financially stable than us. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and talking to women who have already made this first intimidating leap into motherhood – what they found useful, what was a waste of time, and what they would change were they to do it all again.
Time and time again the theme of putting my well-being as your mother and (initially) main care-giver first comes up. “Solange es der Mutter gut geht, geht es dem Kind auch gut”, said the obstetrician to your Papa at the last appointment. You will thrive if I do. We will thrive together. I look at our current circumstances and we are in the unusually privileged situation where we can choose between two countries. It doesn’t feel like a blessing at times because I feel incredibly torn, but when it comes down to it, we do have a choice.
Here in your Papa’s country, we have his support for the first few weeks – although I’m not entirely sure what that constitutes of at the minute – and a high quality of medical care. But there will come a point when he goes and continues living his life, and I will need to care for us both; learning to stand on my own two feet and ensure that I am capable of nurturing you as you need me. This isn’t entirely impossible, but it is in no doubt a sizeable mountain to climb.
The alternative would be to temporarily return to my country. The healthcare system there is quite different – not necessarily worse – and it would mean that your Papa will likely not be present for your hatching, which does sadden me if I’m honest, but the love and support you would be born into simply eclipses the surroundings we would find ourselves in were we to remain here. You have no idea of the number of people who are curious, excited and nervous to meet you.
It’s hard to describe the feelings you evoke in others simply by just being there. If ever you find yourself having a dark or bleak moment, I want you to remember that there are people on this planet who have grinned with joy, emptied a few bottles of wine, and have been even moved to tears at learning of your existence.
I question of course whether or not this is the right decision; I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this and I do not doubt that you may question my actions later on when you are older and begin to understand the world we live in. Your Papa was understandably quite wounded when I mentioned I was considering moving us back to the island for your hatching, and said some quite hurtful things, as is to be predicted. I understand his pain, and this is not a decision I make lightly; I have talked the ears off of several donkeys on this and Lord knows I have driven people absolutely mad agonising over what to do. I have to follow my gut instinct – the same one that told me that carrying you was perhaps the best decision I’ve made so far.
This is just another leap we have to make, you and I. We’ve made it this far – we can keep going.
…but I’d be grateful if you could stop punching my cervix.