While I was expecting ‘Little P’ we spent a Christmas holiday driving through Spain and Portugal. As a natural worrier I was filled with anxiety during those first few months of pregnancy. So, I was hopeful that an interesting holiday would be just the distraction I needed. And it was. We were away for almost a month and, although some mild nausea and tiredness were early reminders of my condition, while we were travelling worry was not at the forefront of my mind. But it did remain somewhere in the background, niggling away.
About halfway through our holiday, close to New Years Eve, we arrived in the Spanish city of Seville. A beautiful place where we were surrounded by Spanish culture. Walking around we could smell the sherry and the tapas, watch flamenco dancers on the street and see the dramatic matador photos in every bar and restaurant. We fell in love with the place. The architecture, the people, the music, the weather and the atmosphere. On a balmy Sunday lunchtime we went to eat at Mercado Lonja Del Barranco at one end of the Puente del Isabel II. It was bustling with families and groups of friends enjoying fresh seafood, tasty tapas, steaming paella and fluffy Spanish omelettes. The air was filled with continental chatter and Spanish guitar while we stared at the endless choice of delicacies.
We took our seats beside two impeccably dressed Spanish families out for Sunday lunch. They had two young boys that were playing nearby with a balloon. While we were eating a little girl suddenly emerged from behind her mother’s legs. I’d guess she was probably about the same age as ‘Little P’ is now. Tanned in her yellow Sunday dress she had a head of toffee coloured curls. She walked straight over to the boys and began to admonish them in toddler Spanish, proceeding to whip away the balloon. She was full of attitude, curiosity and fun, just like any toddler. I watched her play with her brothers, or maybe they were cousins. Sometimes she was happy to retreat into her own little world and play by herself. She was brave enough to explore away from her family but not foolish enough to disappear into the crowd. Occasionally she would run back to give her Dad a hug or climb onto her Mum’s lap for some food.
As I watched her my worries and fears went quiet. It may have been the sense of freedom that comes from being in a new environment or it may have been the relaxation that comes from being on holiday. It may have been the simple joy of just observing a child at play. I began to imagine what it would be like to have a child of my own. I actually began to feel joy and excitement about the spark of life inside me. I know that on that day I allowed myself to feel happy in anticipation of what was to come. As the months progressed the worry never completely went away but I no longer allowed it to overwhelm my pregnancy. There was no need. Despite my early fears I went on to have an incident free nine months, a straightforward birth and a healthy baby.
So my number one resolution for 2018 is to let go of all that unnecessary worrying. And to the little girl in Seville? You’re far too young to know what you did for me that day but I’m very happy to say that I now have my own little girl who is every bit as feisty, happy, loved and loving as you. And it is wonderful. Feliz año nuevo!