Temporary Nests

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

So it appears that I shall be missing out on the Italian birthing experience after all, although having now been confronted with a steady stream of jolly midwives as opposed to one rather austere male gynaecologist, as well as the promise of tea and hot buttered toast after delivery as opposed to, well, I don’t know – crodino and a dish of olives, perhaps? – on one level at least, I find myself not minding too much.

Yes, as you may have already surmised, the roof situation remains unresolved; with occasional mutterings about possibly having an answer before Christmas but no information we can either get our teeth into or make any plans around, and no answer whatsoever to one desperate letter and three evermore desperate emails to the provincial reinforced concrete department explaining our situation and begging for some sort of clarification.

My husband is finding it hard to heat the apartment to even his satisfaction now the temperatures have plummeted (and he is far from being the weedy freddolosa I am), and the engineers who tramped the roof all those months ago taking measurements for our paperwork managed to break several more tiles, ensuring even more rain can now find its way into our bedroom.

Such are the circumstances that have forced us into making a decision, and as unjust as this whole situation feels, it seems I am to graduate Learning to be Philosophical 101 after all, although undoubtedly more complaining loudly than cum laude.

And whilst up to that point I never actually let the idea of giving birth in Blighty take root – as a non-resident I must pay for NHS care, there is no evidence that the quality of healthcare is superior, and it would have always meant being away from my husband at the crucial moment – I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t been experiencing a very strong homeward call ever since I knew I was pregnant.

The first in eighteen years.

I wonder what that’s all about.

But aside from the obvious warm, dry house in which to lay sproglet, there may well be additional advantages to this new situation (the tea and toast influence in the decision-making process, for one, cannot be stated strongly enough):

In England the Mothership is in a position to confidently undertake emergency dashes to hospital (hubby not being in possession of a driving license).

I won’t have to try to slot back into Italian healthcare after an absence of almost two months and several unexpected pregnancy hiccoughs.

It will be quicker and easier to get a baby passport in England, allowing us to shoot back as soon as the roof has been done.

Health professionals in this country are more geared up to help with the anti-depressant pill-swap which will have to take place on delivery.

And finally, I won’t have the stress of dealing with certain Italian acquaintances who will put their desire to get their baby-obsessed hands on my child far above my need for peace and privacy in those early days.

For personal experience has shown me that privacy in Italy can be a rare commodity; neighbours having been known to rap only once on my door before opening it and coming in – occasionally finding me in a pregnancy-induced, underwear-clad slump on the sofa, and with one elderly gentleman choosing a Sunday morning to surprise my husband and I still in bed in our pyjamas.

One such culprit of the uninvited entry made us the very kind offer of an apartment until such a time as the roof was fixed, insisting that due to the lack of kitchen, we would eat with them downstairs. A generous proposition indeed, but one that had me running for the hills at the complete lack of independence and intimacy it would entail. For how would I be able to ration visits for baby-viewing, baby-squeezing and unwelcome baby-rearing interference from my hosts and their extended family under those circumstances?

Exactly. Far better to put 1,600km between us and be done with it 😉

This is Status Viatoris, ticking off the days until hubby’s Xmas Eve arrival, whilst signing up for Impending Motherhood 101 and hoping she will achieve a rather more impressive score… 32 weeks and counting!



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8 Responses to “Temporary Nests”

  1. Helen Devries Says:

    Your husband must be beside himself with all the problems and, living here, how I appreciate what you say about lack of privacy where new born babies and their mothers are concerned.
    Danilo – our essential factotum – has a daughter who has just produced her second child – the much awaited boy.
    As far as I can see the house resembles Horse Guards Parade on the day of Trooping the Colour with a continual parade of neighbours and relatives, each with their own view on the upbringing of tiny babies and the conduct of their mothers.
    Luckily , here, it is strang verboten to come in by the back door if no one answers the front one….
    My husband knows why.
    In our early days here he called on a neighbour. Getting no response at the front door he did what one did in France – went round the back….where he met the lady of the house starkers and without her make up.
    Collapse of two stout parties.

    And as for having to pay for NHS services….words do not fail me but I am aware of the limits of decency in the printed word.

    All best wishes.


    • statusviatoris Says:

      I’m actually pleased that the NHS has got its game together enough to start charging non-residents – no other country would dream of offering a non-tax-paying visitor all its healthcare services for free. I would be curious to know how they ensure everyone in that category actually coughs up the cash, though… 🙂

      Love the naked neighbour story! Poor hubby!


  2. Anja Says:

    Wat een toestand! As we say in Holland. Hope it all will turn out in a positive way. I
    wish you all the best


  3. farfalle1 Says:

    Speedy has always marveled that there is no word for ‘privacy’ in Italian, at least not one that he has been able to find. It simply is not part of the Italian psyche. Hope all goes easily and well with the delivery, and that your roof woes will be behind you.


    • statusviatoris Says:

      The word would be “intimità”, but in my personal experience it is rarely applied! Actually, that is not fair at all – I know plenty of Italians who keep themselves to themselves in exactly the same way I try to do. It’s attempting to manage (without offending) those who have no concept of personal space or alone time that is the difficulty, and I never have mastered the knack with much success. Mostly I just keep my door locked and pretend to be out!


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