Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
After notifying our local municipal office about my pregnancy, I was given a few items. One of them was a badge with a message – おなかに赤ちゃんがいます (I have a baby in my tummy).
Mums-to-be display the badge to alert the public of their pregnancy in hope of receiving acts of kindness. For example, commuters offering their seats on crowded train rides; having personal space and not getting knocked over during rush hours; smokers refrain themselves from puffing nearby; getting the special parking lots allocated to expectant mothers.
Seem like a wonderful thing to have. Well, it DIDN’T work wonders for me at all. Despite of carrying the badge prominently on my bag, I was pretty much being ignored. Hmm, maybe I should flash it like a cop to get better attention.
The Boshi Kenko Techo (母子健康手帳 – Mother and Child Health Handbook), is an important booklet issued from our local municipal office. It is mandatory to bring along to every clinical visits as prenatal results, birth details, baby’s growth progress and immunization (up to the age of six), will be dutifully recorded by the healthcare team.
Another booklet, which we were glad to have, provided us with coupons that subsidized expenses for 14 prenatal and 2 pediatric health checks.
Since my Japanese is hopeless, my husband bought me the bilingual (English-Japanese) version of the Boshi Kenko Techo. And knowing that Japanese healthcare team babbling foreign medical terms can be intimidating, he accompanied me and was my personal interpreter at EVERY doctor visit.
On one occasion, we signed up for a parenting class. Of which, my obliging and good-natured hubby was picked by the nurse to wear a 10-kg fake pregnant suit (with huge breasts) for an hour. Though he was embarrassed, he appreciated the experience. Hmm, between you and me, with all the active involvement and participation he had, he would know more about my pregnancy than me!