As the birth of our second child is imminent or may have taken place by the time you read this, I’ve been thinking about this oddly-named booklet that accompanies you through your pregnancy in Germany, the Mutterpass (literally: ‘mother’s passport’). To me it sounds like a certificate you’re awarded when you’ve passed all the exams related to baby stuff such as changing nappies, mopping up barf and skillfully steering around nervous breakdowns two to three times a day.
One manufacturer of baby formula had this very suitable TV ad, which unfortunately I’m unable to locate online. It said something along the lines of ‘No prior experience required. No need for an interview. No assessment centre. And yet the job is yours’, meaning the job of being a parent. The Mutterpass, accordingly, is not a proof of aptitude. It’s a medical document filled out by your OB-GYN (note to German readers: pronounce each letter separately – by the way, a brilliant source for English abbreviations is http://www.acronymfinder.com) which you have to have on your person at all times throughout your pregnancy.
On my quest to find out whether the same thing existed in English-speaking countries, I came across the South Australian ‘pregnancy record’, but couldn’t find an NHS equivalent. My husband’s cousin, a mother of two, informed me that the English equivalent is an A4 record simply referred to as ‘the notes’. I’d love to hear of other ‘bump log’ versions from you ladies around the globe.
The online dictionary dict.cc suggests two translations for Mutterpass, one of them being the above-mentioned ‘pregnancy record (book/booklet)’. However, I found the other one, ‘maternity log’, much more appealing, imagining how I navigate through some kind of baby haze and keep a log to record my journey to and through parenthood. Reminds me a bit of the Ehefähigkeitszeugnis (literally: ‘proof of ability for marriage’, legally a so-called ‘certificate of no impediment’) I only barely escaped from providing when getting married in England.
Next week, we’ll check out a different type of pass…
The Pommes Buddha says: Never trust a mother without a passport.
Listen to this text as a podcast episode: