I think this article sums up one of the central conflicts of a mother’s life how to be a mother and a wife and still remember who you are without it being in relation to another person. Derelict mother here does take issue with the first sentence though…“Many married couples cite the birth of their first child as the happiest day of their lives. “
Or maybe I am just not one of the many or perhaps I just had too much morphine after my first abdominal surgery- the c section. I would say the day Eva was born was one of the more eventful days of my life but not the happiest. I am a scrooge aren’t I but I can think of better places to spend the Christmas season than in the hospital. The day Eva was born I was barely able to move and expected to take care of a baby. When they put her in my arms I smiled and said wow, and tried to look like I was beaming with joy but that was just the hormones, inside my rational mind was thinking, okay what am I going to do with this thing and who am I going to enlist to help me. Locate nurses’ buzzer, put the La Leche League on speed dial, handcuff doula to the hospital bed. Then I had to try breastfeeding, now there is a first time for everything but when you put your breast in an infant’s mouth and nothing happens, there is a new feeling of total panic and helplessness that comes over you- I wouldn’t call it joy. I cried all day the day Eva was born, it was tears of total bewilderment and fear. I am still talking about it two years later because it is etched in my memory and I was lucky Eva was born full term and totally healthy. Perhaps I am a wimp. A derelict wimp. However, one of the happiest days I do remember was the day six months later when I finally gave up breast feeding, and the day a few months after that when Eva first told me she loved me in sign language- now that was special.
Before I had a child of my own I thought women who became obsessed with their children and neglected their partners were just asking for trouble and the child obsession was some sort of choice. I laugh at my ignorance now… I had no idea because it wasn’t my reality, but that when a child comes into the picture, you don’t have time to focus on your husband or the marriage all you can do is take care of the screaming infant and if you are lucky take a shower once a week, and then there is that neglected other 75 percent of your life – your job. It really isn’t rocket science that marriages have a hard time after the introduction of children.
Everyone manages differently I have one child, and that’s enough for me. A lot of couples I know with two children are divorced or have discussed it. And there are always exceptions’ as I have a happily married friend with four kids, and that is her job and she is damn good at it. The fact of the matter is that I love my husband but a quiet candle lit dinner- Ha! But last night for the first time in quite a while Chris and I decided to have a date night after my writing group was postponed as I had already arranged for my parents to babysit. Our favourite restaurant was closed, and we had to go somewhere, which made me wish we had come home and warmed up a hot dog. Anyway, I made the unwise decision to call during dinner to find out how she was.
“Not good.” was the answer.
“All she would eat was three yogurts then she drank her bottle and cried and wouldn’t go to sleep and then she threw up everywhere.”
“You fed her three yogurts?”
“Your father did.”
When we arrived home at 10pm she was still awake watching TV after finishing an apple juice sugar riddled toddler cocktail. Oh well, so much for our night-cap.
Since we had our daughter Eva, Chris and I are both perpetually tired, but Chris seems to have retained his faculties, whereas I am perpetually absent minded. When Chris is on toddler duty in the playpen he usually asks me for a cup of tea. He is English and loves his cuppa. Sometimes I remember, but most of the time I forget, or bring him a cold cup of tea that has been steeping for an hour because I got side tracked. I can at least try to do that better, so while I am teaching Eva to say Please and Thank you I can do better at a few things myself. I am grateful but I am not very good at expressing it. Cup of Tea anyone? I wrote it under the to do list or rather do not forget list that Chris left for me this morning next to my computer. Here is a picture. Chris has started making lists for me 🙂