I’ve written before about how living in Mexico makes me feel like my heart is divided, but have felt it more profoundly during my pregnancy. I decided to have the baby in Texas because I can drive to my parents’ house in less than a day, making it possible to go back and forth for appointments and ultrasounds. I had also kept American insurance. It’s not that I don’t trust Mexican hospitals or that I couldn’t have gotten good care here, but with this being my first baby, I want to be surrounded by people that speak my first language during what will most likely be the most painful experience of my life. I want my parents to always be involved in their granddaughter’s life and I think giving them the opportunity to see her for the first few weeks of her life will start us off on the right foot.
My parents didn’t really influence my decision at all. And neither did Carlos’ parents. Or even Carlos. Together, he and I discussed the pros and cons, but ultimately he left the decision up to me. And I chose Texas.
But there’s been lots of times since that I’ve second-guessed my decision. I’m leaving Saltillo in less than a week so I can spend the last four weeks of my pregnancy in Austin. Carlos will be coming up for the birth, but he’s not going with me next week. So of course, there is a chance that he might not make it in time, and if that happened, would I be able to forgive Carlos? Would I be able to forgive myself? After all, I was the one who made the choice.
Then there’s the fact that Carlos’ family won’t be there for the birth of their first grandchild, and they won’t get to see her for weeks afterward. But I’m not as worried about that, because after we leave Austin in May or June and travel back to Mexico, my parents won’t be in the same country as their first grandchild. She’s going to grow and they’re not going to get to see her on a regular basis.
That feeling is really overwhelming. The only possible way to combat it is to try to live in the moment. To not worry about tomorrow and in doing so, miss today. That while I’m in Mexico, love Mexico and be thankful for Mexico, and that while I’m in Texas, do the same thing.
Adopting that mindset has helped me develop a profound appreciation for my two families: Carlos’ family and my own. Carlos’ family can never replace my own, of course, but a few months ago I gave up trying to be so independent. I’ve needed them a lot during this pregnancy. Carlos’ mom has been devoted to cooking iron-rich foods for me ever since I developed anemia. There’s been lots of days where I haven’t wanted to be alone, so I’m gone to their house to work or take a nap or eat lunch. Last night, we had a casual baby shower with Carlos’ family extended family. Carlos’ mom planned the guest list and delivered invitations and made some of the food. My father-in-law offered to be in charge of the drinks and he made huge jugs of aqua de piña and aqua de jamaica from scratch. And Carlos’ sister planned the games, was there early to decorate, and stayed late to clean up, even though she was sick.
And then there’s my family. My mom has gone with me to almost all of my doctor’s appointments in Texas, and my dad has been at home every time we’ve come back from the doctor’s, asking, “How’s my granddaughter? Did you get a good report?” My mom bought me maternity clothes and has helped me handle many, many insurance questions. My dad has made special trips to HEB for me, and they both tried to tailor their meals around my first and second trimester food aversions. They’ve picked me up from the airport and even planned their annual multi-week international trip around my due date. Whenever I’ve questioned my decision, I’ve found myself picturing my parents: their stability, their service, their love, and how they’re going to be the biggest help in the weeks after I have our baby.
Now, instead of thinking of my heart as being divided, I’m trying to think of it as being double in size.