x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Baby brings out the best in people well before birth

Already friends have generously donated newborn baby clothes and accessories.

In Arabic, we have a saying that a baby comes with its own blessings. I think the saying was invented by parents to discourage their newlywed children from using financial limits as an excuse to putting off the child-bearing part of marriage. "You just give us a baby and the goodness of God and his blessings will shower on you, don't worry about expenses, everyone manages in the end, the money will just appear." I've heard a variation of this all my life. Admittedly, however, our baby is 10 weeks away from being born, yet Mr T and I have already felt the presence of those blessings. Baby A, as we have come to call our unborn child, has an uncanny knack for showing us the best in people, already.

Mr T and I have made no progress in preparing for the impending arrival; we're still as confused and overwhelmed as ever every time we find ourselves in a baby shop. What's a "onesie"? And how many bibs does a baby need anyway? And really now: which brand of nail clippers am I supposed to choose?

A friend's generosity rescued us from despair, and most probably rescued Baby A from finding nothing but hospital donations as a welcome to the world. Our friend, who had just celebrated her own baby's first birthday, offered to bring over newborn items that her child had outgrown. Mr T and I, afraid it was just too good to be true, eagerly awaited the loot that was to come.

I cannot explain the thrill that coursed through me with every item she unpacked from those boxes, smack in the middle of our living room. From a straw bassinet to rock the baby in, to a changing table that is miraculously the exact colours of our nursery, to the endless piles of the most adorable, tiny outfits and shoes and hats and socks that would guarantee our baby would be the best dressed child this side of the emirate - Mr T and I were left speechless under the weight of such generosity. Nevermind all the money she had saved us by donating the items that helped her own child through those first months of life, nevermind that I truly did not need to buy a single additional item for Baby A's first three months; the gesture was more than that. It solidified to us that soon, a tiny human being that belonged to us would become an additional tenant in our apartment. This was really happening - we had the items to prove it, strewn across our couches, miniature and yet with so much presence.

I am very much aware that Baby A will change our lives as we know it. But I never imagined that the baby would also open my eyes to the kindness of friends, to the blessings that come hand in hand with the birth of a child, to the unabashed joy we are shown by friends, colleagues, family and strangers alike on the impending arrival of our "alien". Not only will the baby turn Mr T and I from a couple into a family, but Baby A, it seems, has the power to create bonds of love between us and others before even taking that first breath.