For most pregnant women, nesting instincts have them shopping and setting up a baby’s room. My instincts woke forced me to face the unhealthy cycle of abuse I was in with my husband, and I couldn’t bring a child into that. I left our home in Vancouver, Canada at five months pregnant went to stay at the home of a close friend in Provence, France. I planned to stay a month to relax and get my head on straight. Figure out what to do. I knew if I kept taking the next right step, I’d find my way.
I ended up staying in Provence to have the baby. Eva Lenix Peterson was born in the village of Apt, Provence, France in a hospital with the help of sage femmes, or wise women (midwives). Though the choices I had to face while pregnant were difficult, it felt as though my baby girl led me into the unknown, and I’m still taking the next right step as I create our new life together.
During my time in France, life proved to me that theories like Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist are true. I learned that if you follow your heart, the universe does conspire to help you. Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined people rallying for a stranger the way the villagers did for me. Once word got out in the village that I was staying to have give birth, baby items started arriving on my doorstep. I was either given or borrowed everything I needed. Even French lessons, focusing on maternity vocabulary. Of course my new French language skills went out the window the minute I went into labor, but I also learned that some things in life need no translation.
One of my favourite ways my French tutor taught me though, was study French songs. It gave the language such a new meaning to understand the depth behind lyrics of artists like Vanessa Paradis or Edith Piaf. I’d always loved the song ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien,’ by Edith Piaf, the melody is beautiful unto it’s own, but I also loved the simplicity of living life with no regrets. The last four lines, however took on a new meaning when my daughter was born. I have the words printed out in a frame above her crib to remind me of our special time in Provence. And, because my life, my joys began with her, on the day she came into the light.
Non, rien de rien
Non, je ne regrette rien
Car ma vie, car mes joies
Aujourd’hui, ça commence avec toi
No, nothing at all
No, I have no regrets
Because my life, because my joys
Today, that begins with you