Spring brings new life

It was a Friday in mid-April. The sky finally looked less gray and more promising. While I was making meatballs for dinner in the kitchen, hubby got a text message from a couple of friends.

"We are looking for people who are spontaneous, don’t start dinner early, enjoy outdoor activities and have a back yard for a BBQ. Do you guys happen to know someone?" I would say that they really nailed it. I assume ten out of eleven Dutch people would already be halfway through their dinner while reading this message and thinking "Since this is not on my agenda of things to do today, it is not going to happen."

Hubby asked them to bring some chicken wings and started to set up the grill. I reshaped all the meatballs and in five minutes, they became sexy and yummy burger meat.

So we had our first BBQ in April this year. What a nice way to welcome spring! Our friends liked my homemade burger meat and I indulged myself with some 0% alcohol beer.

Am I trying to say something? Yes, we are expecting our first child! This great news arrived last winter and grew steadily as spring slowly brought new life and all the colors back to nature.

Yet, in the first three months of my pregnancy, I thought I had come to the wrong country.

I felt terribly nauseous when I smelled cheese and felt unbelievably sick when I saw any kinds of potatoes. I even threw up once soon after having some French fries. After then, I put both cheese and potatoes on my black list and cooked only rice and noodles for almost two months. Speaking of which, I truly appreciated the understanding of my Dutch husband. He didn’t complain at all and told me that he liked everything I cooked.

Finally, by the end of the third month, I woke up one day and thought, "I feel like some potatoes and cheese today." So I made ‘stamppot’ (mashed potatoes) with a thick layer of cheese on top of it. That evening, I saw my husband’s eyes glow with light and he literally finished a full plate of stamppot in five minutes.

"Wow, you must have missed Dutch food very much, and I made you eat rice for so long," I said.

"No worries, you know I like rice, too. It’s just you cooked so well, and I am going to have some more. This tastes sooo good!" And then his mouth was full again.

"This must be true love", I thought.

My second trimester was as easy as pie. A similar Dutch expression would be, "Een kind kan de was doen." (A child can do the laundry). I guess I would be over the moon if my new-born baby could take care of the dirty diapers and laundry. But I had better not to be so greedy. In fact, I am absolutely grateful that I didn’t feel nauseous; I enjoyed my sleep and food almost all the time.

Gradually, my belly was turning into the shape of a watermelon. I was flattered when I got compliments. It sounds extremely interesting to hear people say, "How nice that your belly is getting bigger and bigger. Keep it on!" However, just when I was feeling as proud as a peacock, the comment from our 8-year-old nephew brought me back to the reality.

"The belly is getting bigger and bigger, and the hips, too." He said that at a family dinner at my parents-in-law’s. The next second, I had difficulty swallowing my food, and my husband quickly changed the topic. Well, he was simply being honest, wasn’t he? In addition, compared to a much bigger issue I will have to deal with in the beginning of summer, this is pretty much nothing.

What is it then? It is ‘thuisbevalling’. (Giving birth at home).

According to the Dutch explanation, it is a woman’s privilege to bear babies, and Dutch women dutifully execute it in the most natural and practical way. My mom’s jaw dropped to the floor when I told her that. Even my grand mom thought it would be abnormal in 2015. On the other hand, I myself have accepted this idea little by little and started to look at it as a new adventure this year. Call me crazy? You bet I am.


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