House things are somewhat taking a bit of a back seat, although there is still a long list of things that need to be done before baby gets here. But today I wanted to share my musings on something that is inevitable as an emigrant – pregnancy far away from family.
My closest relatives are my mother’s uncle and aunt, but even they live a three hour drive away and are on holiday a lot. My sister lives in Wales. Everyone else is either in Germany or in the States. My husband’s parents live in Edinburgh, which isn’t too far, but still an hour away. Those are his closest relatives.
I went to boarding school and therefore am pretty used to not being around my family. However, as we get further into this pregnancy, I find myself often wishing some of my family lived closer, particularly my mum. It seems like such a cliche, wanting your mum when you’re pregnant, but she’s – well, mum!
My mother is an amazing woman. She had me and my sister relatively young and then went to university to become a doctor when I started primary school. She has always relentlessly worked for us and supported us, in a wonderful no-nonsense loving way. I value her advice and opinion and I love snuggling with her, even at 28.
She had planned to come over near the baby’s due date, but due to various complications it’ll probably be later and maybe not at all. That’s okay, she’s got a job and a life and things that need taking care of. At the same time I really hope it works out. As we start our own family, I want our baby to fit into my existing family, to get to know them and love them. That’s immensely difficult over such long distance. I’m lucky, really: at least it’s all still within Europe and a day’s travel at most for anyone.
The considerations continue when I think ahead to the future. Many of our friends here who have had babies already rely heavily on their family to help out with child care. We won’t be able to do that – my husband’s parents have a variety of health issues that mean they are not mobile enough to help out and they are the closest relatives. What that means is that friends will step up to the plate. We have so many wonderful friends who truly feel like family to me and I know we will be okay. We will go to see family and they’ll come to visit us. And yet there’s a little bit of me that’s just sad I won’t be able to just pop round to my mum’s with the baby, my gran’s with the baby etc etc.
I knew that this is the way it would be, of course. I’ve lived abroad for over ten years now. But the bittersweetness of starting a family without your family was not a reality until now. I’m very glad the internet exists and contact is easy. I suppose this just makes every time I do see them in person that much more special.