When I first fell pregnant, a bunch of people asked me where I was planning to have the baby. Um, here? I guess people thought I’d feel more comfortable returning to America to deliver Harley. It’s weird, but I guess the stereotype that deep dark Africa is still a scary place or something and I’d prefer to have the kid in the safety of my home soil. If only people realized just how nice the local hospitals are, and just how comfy I am at home. Plus, haven’t people realized yet that healthcare in SA is sorta awesome and healthcare in the US is sorta unaffordable? At least here I have medical aid, plus the knowledge that I’ll be surrounded by awesome nurses and healthcare professionals who will make sure I’m okay?
Anyway, it got me thinking about other differences. I remember growing up in New York, my mom taught me to always give up my seat on a crowded bus or subway if a pregnant woman got on, and I always did. But there were plenty of times I saw pregnant women forced to stand because no one gave up their seat and I didn’t have one to give. Or carrying heavy groceries. Or suffering in the ridiculously heat. And it makes me incredibly grateful to be living in South Africa while pregnant, and even excited to be having the kid here.
You see, there’s something distinctly wonderful about the African mentality towards children. People here truly do love babies. It’s part of the problem with society because they will have kids even if they can’t afford them, but still. They adore babies and are incredibly kind to pregnant women. I get pushed to the front of queues, I am always offered a seat and told some of the kindest things. I had a complete stranger to tell my little munchkin to hurry up and get here because the world needs her. I had other strangers offer to get me water because it’s so hot out. I am always allowed to go to the ladies room ahead of other people (thankfully because when Harley decides to lean on my bladder, there isn’t much I can do) and plenty of people offer to carry my shopping to the car.
Sure, there are downsides to living anywhere, but today, I’m feeling gloriously happy to be living in South Africa. And I know it will continue when Harley is born. What could be better for teething than letting her gum on a stick of biltong forever? Plus, the way people are in this country towards small children is utterly endearing; while there are plenty of things wrong around here, that philosophy of “it takes a village” is truly beautiful.