I interviewed my mother via Facetime, through my iPhone. I am in Oxford, Ohio and she is in Beijing, China. We had often talked about my childhood but I had never asked her any questions concerning her pregnancy. We had our conversations early in the morning. I had to factor in the time difference between Beijing and Ohio. It was early night in Beijing when I contacted her. We started the conversation casually. I took advantage of the fact that she had missed me and she wanted to talk. She was bored, as my father had not yet come home from work. As we began our conversation, my mother told me she had big and grand expectations of pregnancy. She and my father had been married for some time and they had waited for a child for quite some time. They were living in Beijing China and the situation at the time was that parents were restricted to only one child. Therefore, even before she became pregnant, she had already started preparing for a child. She tells me that she had bought many clothes and my father had already started buying many toys. However, she would have to stare at them for quite some time because it took her a while to become pregnant. She started experiencing the signs of pregnancy even before she confirmed this to be the case.
When she confirmed her pregnancy, she became so excited to the point that she told everyone she knew about it. This included her friends, colleagues at work, and her extended family. Most of them were just amused at her excitement but they were happy for her. She did not even have a clue about the suffering she would go through before I was born. This was despite the fact that she knew medicine since she is a doctor. She told me she had a fantasy-like experience of her pregnancy. She imagined glowing and becoming even more beautiful when she became pregnant. She did not imagine that her pregnancy would cause a rift in her marriage. She often imagined how happy she would be once I was born. She had already informed the hospital where she worked that she would take her leave early and that she would take some time off after I was born. She thought that the time would be sufficient for her to take care of me.
The morning sicknesses during the first months came as a surprise to her, and so did the changed facial appearance. She suffered a lot. She would experience nausea and she would vomit every morning. Her stomach could not stomach any meat. She had to eat selected vegetables and rice for most of her pregnancy. This was because she would vomit most of the things she ate. She began sleeping a lot too. This was unusual for her because she had been a very active woman before her pregnancy. She tells me that during that time, she almost divorced my father. She had developed such as hot temper that she would lash out at my father for no reason. She always got angry with him. However, my father endured it all and he would just look for ways to calm her down.
By the time she was in her sixth month of pregnancy, she was not experiencing morning sickness. However, she had become heavy and she started walking long distances. She would walk for hours even though she did not have a particular destination in mind. She was a practicing doctor and she understood the importance of getting enough exercise. My mother experienced labor pains for a short time. She tells me that she had expected to suffer a lot during labor but this was not the case. The long distance walking she had done had helped her a lot. They had helped her to loosen and relax her muscles and this helped her when she was giving birth. She had desired to have a natural birth. She was excited when the doctors told her that this would be possible.
I asked my mother where she got information concerning pregnancy and giving birth. She told me that she heard a lot of information from well meaning friends and family members. Most of them had good intentions. However, being a doctor, my mother knew the best sources of information. She consulted with the other doctors at the hospital whenever she had someone talking about traditional beliefs of pregnancy. Some of the stories she heard were unfounded. Most of them depended on rumors and she did not believe it. She also bought many reading materials concerning pregnancy and giving birth. She wanted to be as knowledgeable as possible. This was the only way to ensure that she took better care of herself.
My mother told me that she and my father had great expectations when she became a parent. They worked to ensure that their child would not lack in anything. They had already booked a place for me in a nearby kindergarten even before I could walk. This is because of the stiff competition in for schools in Beijing. Hence, it was usual for parents to make plans concerning school even before their children were born.. I did end up going to that school eventually since it was nearest home. My parents enrolled me in different activities. I was not good in many of these activities. I had to do them when I cleared school. My parents are professionals and they are aware of the high competition in the job market. Therefore, it was important for their child to acquire as many skills as possible. Moreover, many of the parents were taking the same measures
My parents did not have any big plans for me during my formative years. They had already spent most of their time with me ensuring that I had all that I wanted. They did not form any plans for me when I reached ten. My mother told me over our long conversations that she dreaded the teenage years. She was not sure how much I would change. She had read literature indicated the big changed that most teenagers tend to change for the negative. She did not want that for me. She told me that she was especially concerned that I would no longer listen to her. I asked her how she viewed the dreaded teenage years now that most of them were already past. She was pleased to inform me that they were not as dreadful as they had seemed. I still listened to her and obeyed her; this was more than she had asked for when I was younger.
As we neared our conversation, I asked my mother if she continues to have any expectations for me. I had become an adult and I was living far away from home. My mother is not sentimental and she rarely displays her emotions. She told me that the distance between us did not stop her from being a parent. She continues to wish that I succeed in life and that I become the best that I possible could. My parents’ decision to send me overseas was influenced by the desire they had to see me succeed. They worked hard all their lives even if they did not have to. This was to ensure that I succeeded in life. They continue to parent me even when I am in America. They call me constantly and they have to ensure that I am okay.
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