Baby Brain


The blog has taken a backseat for a few weeks. As a 32-week pregnant expat, I’ve been busy doing a few ‘lasts’ before the baby comes. It’s all becoming very real … 


Image: Flickr / Pawel Loj


“I’ll be away this weekend, we’re making our last trip back to the UK before the baby comes.”

I knew I’d utter this sentence at some point. I just didn’t realise how quickly it would come around. As expats in Amsterdam, divided from our home nation by the sea, the time for last visits to family and friends was always going to come a lot sooner for us than for those within a short drive of their nearest and dearest.

Technically, at 32-ish weeks pregnant, I don’t need to stop travelling yet. Most airlines will take you up to 36 weeks. But, frankly, we fly a lot. As I have now reached a belly mass that requires me to widen my airplane seat belt, instead of the usual pulling in, it’s not that comfortable. So, it’s a consciously-made decision to start the great relax early. Or at least, stay within the country.

“Probably see you at Christmas when we’ll do a big road trip.”

It’s mid July and we’re already putting plans in place for a long festive tour with our new girl. Who obviously hasn’t been born yet.  

There’s something hateful about saying goodbye to people when you have no indication of when you might see them again. This usually means we’re making plans massively in advance. Sometimes I feel like everything from early September (due date) onwards is a big foggy cloud. Gone are the clear, regular time markers in our diary – we have visitors this weekend, we’re on holiday / back to the UK that weekend – and for once our agendas are completely empty.

The future ‘plan’ is:

√ Have baby.

√ See how we’re coping.

√ Resume normal (?) life at unspecified point when we realise we’re coping ok.

Visitor planning has a new tricky dimension when you live in a different country.

If we were driving distance from family and friends I guess post-baby visitations would work in the regular way. Family first, possibly even popping in to see you in hospital, then friends when you’re ready to have them round for a nice cup of tea and cake.

When people have to fly to see you, it’s neither reasonable or kind to ask them to come over for an hour then go away again. Usually, we put up our guests in our spare room for a whole weekend. Family often for longer. But who would want to sleep adjacent to a newborn baby? And what sort of hosts will we realistically be for a while? Naturally, we want our parents to come over as soon as possible to meet their new grand-daughter. But how do we balance learning how to be parents and a little family unit with bonding as part of the bigger family – which is so important to both of us?

Hence: the big foggy cloud.

The ‘lasts’ make things real

When people repeatedly include “next time we see you will be with the baby” as part of their farewell, you come to realise that you are, in fact, having a baby. Not just a pregnancy.

Thankfully, this hasn’t sent us into a tailspain of fear and panic. A bit nervous? Certainly. Incredibly excited? Definitely.

Having spent every single day of 2014 baking this baby, there’s nothing we want more now than to meet her – safe, healthy and ours.


Any other expat parents out there – how did you manage / are planning to manage visitors? Or for that matter, those of you with family and friends just around the corner? And what was your lightbulb moment that you were actually having a baby? 


11 thoughts on “Lasts

  1. We find it hard enough saying goodbye to the husband’s family and they’re only a few hours up the motorways in the north, so I can imagine things must be even harder when there’s a whole expanse of sea between you. In terms of visitors, I remember we invited both sets of our parents over for a big family barbecue a week after F was born 4 years ago. Due to where we were living at the time being so far from both sets of parents (and my sister) everyone stayed over. It was brilliant fun, and exhausting – but when it’s your close family that doesn’t seem to matter. Plus, you get made lots of cups of tea! I think it’s different with wider family and friends though, as you can’t just expect people to look after themselves. So you’re definitely doing the right thing in planning in some time to get settled. Those early days when you’re in a hazy newborn baby bubble are SO special and also kind of surreal. It would be a shame to pop it early with outside visitors who aren’t within your tiny little bubble. Thank you for linking up to the #BlogBumpClub again. I do so love your posts! xx


    • The big family BBQ sounds brilliant. Particularly the tea making … ! Well, I guess we’ll take each new day as it comes. I can imagine it won’t take too long ’til we’re itching to have people to show her off too! X


  2. Yes, this is hard. We live in the same country, but “flying not driving” distance from all extended family. And I have no idea how I will feel when the wee one is x-weeks old, or how long we will feel up to welcoming visitors, and yet plane flights would need to be booked rather soonish. We’re making some random guesses, but it would be much easier if we could invite people over for a few hours rather than a cross-country trip.


    • Of course – predicting when people should book flights is a total guessing game too! We’re lucky, our poor parents have just scrapped holiday plans in the weeks around the due date. Thanks for the comment 🙂


  3. We live in Glasgow; my Mom lives in Los Angeles and the rest of my family are in Ohio. Most of my family never met Blondie Boy until we flew to Ohio when he was 5 months old. It sucks. My Mom was over for BB’s birth and will be over for new bebe’s, too but my Dad didn’t come last time until he was 2 months old; he doesn’t have flights booked yet this time.

    I hate it. I hate I don’t my friends and family around you but what can you do? My step-sister is getting married in August but I’ll be 33 weeks by then so a transatlantic flight really isn’t ideal so the last time I saw my family was in January!

    ✰Transatlantic Blonde✰


    • It’s hard isn’t it? – and Scotland / LA / Ohio – that’s really some distance.

      I don’t know about you, but I really feel the time between visits when babies are in the mix … Like how I’ve not seen my nieces etc. as much as I’d like, and how long it will be before people see our girl. Wasn’t as significant when it was just me & Hubbo! … Well of course there’s Skype etc but it’s not really the same.

      It’s one of the toughest things about bring an expat, you definitely have my sympathy x


  4. My husband’s family is very spread out and far away, so it’s hard to imagine how we’ll cope with visitors. I’ve been sharing with everyone that if they are planning to stay with us, they must realize that we’ll need lots and lots of help with things like meals, cleaning, laundry, our dog, etc. I’ve tried to do this in the nicest way possible! I have no idea how it’s all going to work out, especially if flights have to be arranged weeks or even months ahead of time. I just plan to be very tactful but assertive about what our needs are once the baby arrives.


  5. I’m not an expat, but I can relate in a small way as all of my family live far away and I have a sister in Australia too. Often we say goodbye not knowing at all when we’ll see each other again. Strange, and it must be hard for you. Hope your visits go well x x


    • Thanks for comment. We try and look at the positives – when we do see people it’s usually for longer which means better quality time. But the big gap is rubbish. Sounds like you have a similar situation! But I guess, who these days lives around the corner from their friends and family? Just have to make the best of it … and try to be better with Skype 🙂


  6. This must be really hard! Saying goodbye is always awful, isn’t it? Not the same thing at all but we live about three hours away from both sets of parents, so all visits have to be really planned in advance. I do sometimes think it would be nice to be able to drop in whenever we feel like it x


    • Three hours away definitely still takes planning. Like you say, it’s tricky to just pop in for tea – so I’m sure it’s the same thing. Only difference is maybe you can get there without the faff of flying! And yes, while living in new places is exciting and brings great opportunities … there are those little moments after having to say goodbye when I hanker after Victorian-style ‘3 generations in one street’!
      – thanks for the comment.


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