vendredi 21 janvier 2011


Since I am feeling slightly less vomity today, I’m going to try to answer some of the questions we’ve been getting repeatedly. Don’t know how useful this will be, since I can’t tell people, “please refer to my blog” when they ask baby’s gender/due date/immigration status, but it’s a start.

So, here goes:

FAQ #1: Due date

July 25th by American standards; August 1st in France. My doctor doesn’t know why France keeps those buns in the oven for an extra week (she doesn’t know any other countries that do). We’re American at heart, so starting July 25, we will be doing anything we can to convince Bout'chou that he's done baking. Suggestions welcome.

FAQ #2: What (who) is “Bout’chou”?

It’s actually “bout de chou,” French for “little bit of cabbage.” It’s a term of endearment, like “sweetie pie” or “pumpkin,” and appropriate for a baby whose last name does, in fact, mean “cabbage.” Bout’chou is pronounced enough like “boot-shoe” to make my mother VERY confused, at first, about our level of enthusiasm for becoming parents.

FAQ #3 Where will Bout’chou be born?

France. We don’t have health insurance in the U.S., and paying out-of-pocket is not an attractive option. Plus, here a pregnancy is 100% covered (although you pay to use the TV in the hospital room), average healthy-delivery hospital stay is 4-5 days, and apparently hospital food is fairly edible. It was a no-brainer.

FAQ #4 Will Bout’chou be a French citizen?

Probably not. A baby born to foreign parents on French soil can become a citizen between the ages of 13 and 18 if he/she has lived in France for at least five years. Will we log 5 years before Bout’chou turns 18? I don’t know! See FAQ #5.

FAQ #5 Are we staying in France once Bout’chou arrives?

We don’t know! The whole time we’ve been here, Josh has applied for things back in the US, just in case a great opportunity were to open up. This year, he applied for PhD programs (to start Fall 2011), and if he gets a great offer, well…I don’t think we’d turn it down. (That would most likely put us in PA or Maryland.) I think I’m ready to not be an expatriate for a while. But if none of our stateside opportunities look better than keeping our jobs and continuing our studies here, then we’d stick around. And even if we go back to the US, we’d be interested in returning to France some day. Maybe.

FAQ #6 Are we going to find out Bout’chou’s gender?

Yes. I think we'll find out in March, but I don’t have the heart to even HOPE this is a girl, let alone believe an iffy sonogram promising me a petite fille. We already refer to Bout’chou as “him.” I just couldn’t take the disappointment otherwise. Feel free to tell him some day that I wished he was a daughter.

FAQ #7 Have we picked out names?

Yes, multiple times. It seems to go like this: I fall in love with a name that Josh hates. I suggest the name often enough that Josh grows to like it. We agree on the name. We announce to friends and family that this will be baby’s name. I decide I hate it.

This is the standard procedure for boys’ names. We’ve had a girl’s name picked out from day 1, which is further proof that Bout’chou is going to be a boy.

FAQ #8 If God is benevolent, why is there suffering in the world?

OK, so this isn’t one people are asking when they find out we’re having a baby. But it IS a frequently asked question. Strangely enough, even though I’ve had some pretty lousy things happen in my life, it isn’t a question I’ve personally grappled with. Until now. I am NOT COOL with these crazy pregnancy symptoms. Debilitating nausea? Splitting headaches? And in 6 months, I’m going to have to do WHAT?!?!?! This is not reasonable; I’m trying to do something good here, bring a new life into the world, one I’ll care for and teach to be a positively contributing member of society, someone who will give money to charity and help old ladies cross the street. And I get repaid by throwing up every time someone in my presence mentions stir-fry? I don't see the point. Maybe all the other tough situations I’ve been through were a lot tougher than this one, tough enough that I needed to believe that my suffering was for a good reason, and so I managed to find that silver lining. Or maybe I just feel particularly screwed over by the universe on this one. And that whole story about why women suffer pain in childbirth? Do I really believe that? I can’t go more than 15 minutes without a Maalox because of original sin?

I don’t like to blog about “religious” questions because I MUCH prefer that kind of conversation to be a conversation, not a monologue, and it’s hard for a blog to be more than one-sided. I guess I brought it up here because I feel like so much of talking about pregnancy is squealing over cute onesies and not discussing the real hurdles—and triumphs—that life is throwing at us through this new experience. I probably won’t follow up with more theological musings, but I want to be honest with myself (and cyber-world) and say that this is not all hearts and giggles and vomiting. Not that I think asking myself these questions will be bad—it seems to me that questioning your faith is a great way to learn and grow, a way to move from “I believe this because I don’t have a reason not to” to “I believe this because I think it’s true.” In the future, I’ll probably stick to frivolous things in this frivolous (and public) forum. As I announce the “basic info” about my pregnancy, though, it seemed somehow appropriate to also make the announcement that I (and we, as a family) hope to spend these 9 months growing in ways other than my waistline, and hope to grapple with things bigger than dirty diapers. Although I hear those can be pretty scary.