“so how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead, that it is such a large part of what it means to be human? I’m not sure. That’s my answer: I’m not sure.” ― Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
i think a lot about whether it makes sense to have kids with all the tragedy and pain in this world. to be anxious and fearful, trying to raise a responsible human being when it’s really a gamble what you’ll end up with. maybe we all just selfishly want to leave our mark. at 35 weeks we are nearing my july 9 due date. i’m more excited this time around despite the sleepless nights and neediness of infants and loss of personal space ahead. i’ve very slowly come to appreciate life as a gift and the enormous task of preparing a little person to face the world. having kids can either be a boost to your ego or a reminder of your weaknesses in each moment of choosing yourself over their needs or seeing them imitate your worst habits, then having them forgive you and adore you unreservedly.
the past several months have been full of doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and lab tests, slowly translating dates, times and instructions from nurses in my head, trying to explain that i don’t have a national ID number or health insurance. chileans use both paternal and maternal surnames, but my malaysian passport lists my surname second followed by my chinese name which means they can never find me in their system. there have been many frustrating and confusing moments, and some moments of being stared at and feeling out of place but at least we’ve gotten this far without any major hiccups.
it’s been a fairly uneventful pregnancy, but i’ve gotten several comments about my size. chilean women must carry tiny babies and starve themselves for nine months. in the US everyone encourages you to eat for two and sit on the couch for nine months, but i’ve never been more conscious about what i’m eating and how much i’m exercising. my ob is fully supportive of what he calls “a completely natural delivery”, but the doctor who did the last ultrasound kept telling me that they have anesthesia in chile and not to worry because there will be no pain. the rate for elective C-sections in chile is around 70%, but the hospital i’m at has a rate of 33%, with an increasing number of natural deliveries. i meet with the midwife next week so hopefully we are on the same page. delivering in a hospital is a foreign experience in and of itself so i have no idea what to expect. we’ll have to find someone to stay with emi on the day of (hopefully it won’t be the middle of the night), but otherwise we have everything we need after the women at church threw a baby shower. i am still astounded by how well they have taken care of us from the very beginning.
july is the other period that the expat community in santiago goes on hiatus. it’s winter here and all schools will be on break so many flee the city for the slopes or the northern hemisphere, and some families are moving. the timing works out great since things will be slow for a while. we’re still playing with fire in terms of insurance which is effective july 1st, but that means if the baby arrives before then we’re paying out of pocket for the delivery plus monthly insurance payments. we didn’t have insurance with emi either and scrambled to sign up for public healthcare, but that worked out so here’s to hoping this baby decides to stay put for at least another 3 weeks.