When you can’t get pregnant and all of your friends and siblings have started their families it can feel a bit like you’re stranded on a station platform, while they all board a train and disappear into the distance. Life changes so much for people when they have a baby, and with the best will in the world it’s hard to stay in touch properly.
Now, it is absolutely lovely to catch up with my parent friends and siblings, to chat to them about all things baby and child-related and to learn more about how they’ve handled the inevitable challenges that we have in store. And what’s even better is that I am blessed to have in my life a collection of extraordinarily sensible, good-humoured, tolerant and generous people who happily share the good and bad tales of parenthood, and listen to my (no doubt) rambling and unrealistic ideas and views with unfailing patience and good grace.
I’ve just returned to Auckland after a week away, spent partially in Feilding with my family and partially in Wellington, catching up with friends. It really has made me realise how lucky we are to be having our babies in New Zealand. Aside from the practical considerations (I would have probably been felled by my daily two hour commute and the demands of my job by now), the level of support we will get here is fantastic. My mother is already planning to come up and visit us every few weeks, and it’s so great to know that, if Tristan is busy or away, Tui, the babies and I might be able to decamp to my parents’ house for a visit. And it’s lovely to realise that our children will grow up in a big extended family, with seven cousins, two aunts two grandparents, and a fantastic great aunt and her partner in their lives – not to mention the four other grandparents in Europe and the whole South African extended family as well (for when we have the intestinal fortitude to travel internationally with the kids). And then there are all of our friends as well, both in NZ and elsewhere.
We are very lucky!