Sunday, November 15, 2015

Paper-pregnant

I am adopting a child. I received the official letter a few months ago that I am on the waiting list for a child and it might now be a matter of weeks until my daughter arrives. I am officially paper-pregnant soon to become a single mom. I am trying to prepare myself but from now on I might receive a call any day and within 3-5 days I will fetch my child.

Being paper-pregnant I realised that going through a real pregnancy does not only offer the opportunity to prepare for 9 months, it is also nature’s way of giving the new mom a clear sign – your life will change forever. You stop drinking alcohol, reduce your caffeine intake, you are more tired than ever, and your body changes significantly. You just can’t do the same things you were able to do before you fell pregnant (at least in the last 4-5 months of the pregnancy). Your life changes during a period of 9 months after which your life will once again significantly change.

Many women will think it is an advantage not to have to go through those changes when adopting a child; It might have its advantages but I do believe it has its disadvantages too. Adopting a child is a much more rational process. The whole adoption process requires not only a mountain of administrative procedures but also many decisions about your child’s health, background and features. You also don’t build a bond with something that is growing in your body but rather constantly try to imagine how it will be when you hold the child for the first time in your arms. How many times will I look at her and wonder if she is mine? How long will it take until I will feel that I am her mother? Someone said to me yesterday; it is probably how men feel becoming fathers.

Another difference being paper-pregnant is that you can make the choice any day to ‘switch it off’ to withdraw your application. When you are pregnant, you come to accept that a child will come at some point. You might have your doubts, but it becomes a fait accompli. When I have doubts, I find myself thinking to pick up the phone and just withdraw. Of course I won’t do it because I prepared for it for a long time and thought about it carefully, but there is the option, unlike in a real pregnancy, you can ‘cancel’ you subscription any day.

Besides being paper-pregnant, what I find much more mindboggling is becoming a single mom. I had given it a lot of thoughts before I even started the process. I don’t have too much doubt about my ability to ‘organise’ my new life. Luckily, planning and organising is one of my greatest talents. I am more concerned about the emotional shifts and changes. I have lived my life on my own for the past more or less 17 years. It is a little bit when people in their late 30s enter into a relationship. The issues that emerge are often about compromise and letting someone into your independent life. Am I ready to let someone permanently into my life? Someone that is 100% dependent on me and that will need 24/7 attention and care?

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to becoming a mom. There are many moments when I imagine holding my daughter in my arms and rocking her to sleep; admiring her and just looking at her.

Becoming a parent is very scary and having to go through everything in the mind and imagination, doesn’t make it easier. In contrast to actually being pregnant people cannot see it and look out for you. Being paper-pregnant means – it is all happening in your head.


I am not writing this because I am looking for sympathy but I thought sharing this would be interesting as many people have asked me about the adoption.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I have got no plans

This blog entry might come as a big surprise for people that know me well. I am famous for my planning and organising skills, so much so that a friend of mine once wrote a hip-hop song about me and my planning skills.

Despite this, I would like to share about the beauty of not having a plan. I am off work for a few days and many people asked what my plans were. When I responded that I don’t have any, besides waking up without an alarm clock, many were surprised. And it is even a surprise to me. In the lead up to this time off a little voice in my head was telling me “You have five days off work and you are not doing anything; you are not going away or planning any activities. You are not using your time off efficiently.”

Modern life demands us not only to be constantly up to date with what is happening but also to be always busy. Not having a plan is a luxury. We have our ‘to do lists’ that can fill our days up with errands and the social pressure demands from us to be able to tell people about and share on social media all the things we are going to do and have been doing. Not having to do anything is for free and yet, I think, one of the most luxurious and precious things to have – actual FREE time. Another important fact is that society seems to promote that we have to maximise our time and fill our schedules to make sure we experience life to the fullest. Yet, are we not most satisfied after an unplanned, spontaneous nights out or an extended unplanned coffee date with a friend?

Time without plans doesn’t mean to sit at home and do nothing, but to rather do things that you feel like doing in this moment – even if it means to just sit on the couch and do nothing. It allows for spontaneity and living in the moment, silencing the little voice ‘I still have to do XYZ…’ for a few hours.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not promoting a society where no one commits; to wait until the last minute to confirm/decline an invitation to see if something better comes up etc. That would be the other extreme. I still have a fairly organised life and ‘plan’ my time. However, I started to factor time in without any plans. I know it is a little more challenging when you have kids, but I am convinced children feed of the relaxation and enjoyment of their parents. Not always having an entertainment programme lined up also teaches the kids an important lesson about being in the moment and focusing on what you are doing.


So what are you doing next Saturday? – I hope your answer will be ‘I have no plans’. 
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