With Bertie’s first birthday coming up I was thinking that I would write his birth story, but (aside from getting Bertie of course) it’s not really a very fun story so I abandoned that plan! What I have decided to do instead, is write about one of the loveliest parts of our life abroad. A part that was more needed, more appreciated and stronger than ever during my pregnancy and Bertie’s arrival. Our friends and ‘expat family’.
They say ‘it takes a village’ to raise kids and having a family away from your own parents and childhood home can be tricky. You do need that village!
So this is a short but heartfelt thank you. To everyone who hugged us and shared our excitement about being pregnant again. To everyone who reminisced about their own pregnancies and babies and told us how happy they were for us. I was a little unsure about whether anyone would be as excited as when we shared the news for our first two pregnancies, after all it would be our third go around. Our friends and work colleagues here were so pleased for us though!
A thank you to the school nurses and friends with medical knowledge. At various points during and after the pregnancy, I wasn’t happy with our hospital. Several ladies at school supported me through worries, Braxton Hicks and even early labour! I didn’t want to return to the hospital after Bertie’s birth and so one of our awesome school nurses, who used to be a midwife, even ran through a quick post-natal check for me. She also made sure I knew I had someone to talk to if the birth started to play on my mind.
Thank you to the lovely people who took Arthur and Eirlys off to play at the park or had them over for tea during my pregnancy, while I lay down and tried to keep Bertie in for a bit longer. These friends have continued to do this since Bertie’s arrival, easing a bit of the chaos of life with three! We appreciate this so much.
Thank you to everyone who messaged us to ask if we needed anything. To the people who told me off and tried to get me to work less. To my bosses at work who physically made me leave work early every day, after Bertie’s first mini escape attempt. To the people who we weren’t so close to at the time, but who still gave us their phone numbers in case we needed someone to call, for anything at all.
A huge thank you to our special friends who looked after Arthur and Eirlys while I was in labour. Thank you for waiting around and getting up in the middle of the night so Tom could be with me and for making sure Arthur and Eirlys had the best time ever while waiting for their new baby brother. We also love and appreciate all our friends who offered to do this. We knew Arthur and Eirlys had lots of people ready to be there for them while we brought their little brother into the world.
Finally, thank you to all those who gave us and Bertie their blessings, congratulations and Masha ‘Allah’s. He was kissed, loved and welcomed in so many different languages by people from all over the world. Listening to our friends and colleagues greet him in the different ways people naturally greet babies in their home countries, was one of the most amazing things. That is a memory I will treasure forever. We feel very lucky to know all of you.