Chapter IX – Part 9

$ I am abroad when my husband takes me with him for one of his business trips or when we go on holiday. I go to company parties.

$ You don’t go to private parties?

$ Yes, I do. If it’s all right with my husband’s agenda and itinerary, which means: I last went to a final school exam anniversary 5 years ago. Surprisingly, I’m not very sad about it because my whole life is subordinated to my child anyway: wake her up, see to what she puts on, have breakfast, pick her up to school, pick her up from school, coordinate tennis, foreign languages courses, horse riding. In the meantime: colds, flu’s, everyday routine. The moment my daughter met the world was a shock for me. As if I – against my will – killed a part of me, giving birth to her. People stopped asking how I was; they only asked how was my daughter. If you put emphasis on dark sides of maternity, they label you: ‘baby blues’. But baby blues is a kind of depression and depression is an illness and the maternity troubles are not an illness, it’s a norm. In average circumstances a man is in his comfort zone: he works, leaves the house, plays with the child after he gets back home and gets some rest. His task is to give example.

$ Right. He doesn’t walk slowly in parks for hours, adapting his big steps to his child’s possibilities. He doesn’t sit hours and hours in sand cages. He doesn’t read the same fairy tale for the hundredth time. There’s plenty of magazines for mothers, devoted solely to children and they present a silky version of maternity. You read them and get ready for a wonderful adventure with a sweet baby.

$ On the other hand there are platforms and fora that inform you about illnesses, threats, helplessness of the conventional medical science.

$ That’s correct. Fortunately I promised not to read stuff like this when I was pregnant nor since Tom and me decided to become parents. And I kept my promise! I attended a school of birth, nevertheless, such a school only prepares you to the very birth. At least it’s its task, although it’s a misunderstanding because giving a birth is such an experience that nobody and nothing can prepare you for that. One of the most touching pictures is a mum breast-feeding her baby. In my case, it took me 8 long days to be able to do that. I don’t remember my mother ever mentioning any difficulties about it. Didn’t she have any? Or was she of the opinion that she had no right to have them? Otherwise, it would turn out she was an impious mother. Maybe she wanted to prove to herself that it was a right decision to become a mother and her target was to show to the world: I can manage that. Maybe she didn’t want to frighten me of maternity? I only remember my grandmother’s letter. She wrote it to her brother. My mother and her brothers and sisters were little children then and my grandmother was complaining what vexation they were to her. In the pictures my mum as a little girl has a very sad face. Am I offering the same to my daughter now? Anyway, coming back to the question of breast-feeding. It seemed so natural to me: stick my breast to my child’s mouth and that’s it. A pig, a cat, billions of other women could do that, so will I. And what? 8 days passed before my daughter and I learned each other. It’s my first child. I felt so incompetent. And all those mothers, grandmothers, midwives rolling their eyes when I was talking out my problem.

$ The priest forgets that he was a clerk.

$ I was completely unable to see it from a distance. I scolded myself that something was wrong with me. After all, maternity is an instinct, something natural, it has been there for ages. I am proud of the fact that our marriage passed that test. For many friends of ours the statement: being parents cements the relationship turned out to be lie. How can you keep a partnership if I am the one who has adequate hormones and breast with milk? How can we restore the atmosphere of our honey moon if we are both exhausted and hardly ever on our own? When I hear my words, I can’t believe I’m saying that.

$ Listen to this. Imagine that for about one year you’re not able to sleep at night nonstop for at least 5 hours (I discovered that this is the limit of – if I dare to say – getting my sleep; no, it’s rather the minimum I need to be able to function). After a year or a year and a half you finally learn how to sleep quite often nonstop your dream 5 hours. And then you notice that getting your sleep is not everything. In my case a year later the problem came back. And I’m not exaggerating. Maybe within 365 days there are less than 10 days you sleep 5 hours nonstop. You’re forced (and I mean ‘forced’; I don’t know any so conscious or illuminated parent that they would say in this context: ‘I choose’).

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