Strong anonymous women

We go forward. We go back.

The excruciating physical pain that a woman feels when trying to push out of her exhausted body a dead fetus – that unborn child who already has a monochrome-printed profile and a name – is exceeded solely by the preternatural sorrow (and unutterable rage against the Gods above) of seeing the stillborn weighed, measured, tossed into a plastic waste bag, placed carelessly in a cardboard box and labelled “miscarriage”. Nobody makes the sympathetic effort of shielding you from the haunting image of the deformed seven-month-year-old lacking the nasal pyramid or performing the sordid medical procedures outside of your purview.

How do you keep from going insane after a truculent experience like this? How do you grow the courage of ever carrying another baby in your womb? How do you manage to come up with a minuscule grain of trust when addressing doctors who disregarded your condition, ignored your suffering and explained nothing of the phenomenon that left you non-mother?

Hope, faith and an intimidating character strength are the only answers I was given by the friend who recuperated after this unsparing episode. I don’t even need a miracle, just a little bit of attention. And if, eventually, I don’t get it, I’ll just adopt. That is what she told me, tears welling up in her inane eyes, body convulsing with painful memories and chagrin. She is right, of course. She just needs a moment of God’s time, when he does not turn his head away, but caresses the lives at stake. She needs just a little devotion from her gynecologist and some hints of humanity from the medical staff in the delivery room. A few moments in time, that’s all. Less than a drop in the infinite ocean of Time.

Somehow, because you believe it is still possible, because you want your dream of motherhood and you want to feel a baby in your arms, because you hope it will go right this time, because you know God has done it before for others, because you wake up the next morning, trembling and aching, but you make it through the door, because there is a husband who holds your hand, a family and some friends who hold your arm while limping up the stairs, you DO get over it. You do not forget. You cannot forgive. You do not understand. You dream. You pant. You panic. You cry. You collapse. And then you whisper.. but maybe, this time.. Please! .. and in the shadows, among the volcanoes of your disheveled spirit, you open your eyes again and push ahead.

We go forward.

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Home or Place?

How do you know that all deep connections to a person’s homeland have been severed? They no longer say “I’m coming/going home”, they switch to “I’m coming for a short visit in the country” or “I have to go see my mother”… They no longer have the reflex of calling their original country ‘home’.

The mesmerising rituals

How I know I’m now a mother more than anything else?!

All alone in the house, I go “Don’t get scared, I’m plugging the vacuum cleaner. 1, 2, 3 !” and then laugh for two whole minutes when I realise my son is in kindergarten and that he no longer gets scared when the vacuum cleaner powers on, anyway.

I play My Talking Tom at night so that my son has coins in the morning to feed the damn virtual feline.

I build Lego Creator cars when he is out of the house following the instruction leaflet so that he has a new vehicle to play with and study when he arrives home.

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Men and Women with children

We are a classic three-member family.

As in all classic families, our son leaves his toys scattered around the house, especially on the carped in the living-room.

At night, when he is asleep, we invariably step over one of his tiny cars, Lego parts, plastic animals, cartoon minifigures, trains or books. It’s the moment when a muttered or a well-articulated swearword can be heard across the room.

The difference between men and women becomes obvious, though, if one were to analyse the reaction after the cursing.

The mother: Shit. I broke the mirror on this little green car. Maybe I can fix it with some Super Glue. It should be dry and functional by morning.

The father: God damn this freaking pink pig! Stung my foot three times already. Figures it finally broke in two! Serves you right!!

..and as he is about to pass by the named victim, a female voice jumps in:

“You could at least pick it up and throw it away! It became a hazard now for our kid.”

I’m not saying that this is what happens in all families, but I’d bet more than a buck that it does happen in 90% of them !!

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differences..

You become a mother. Suddenly, all the concepts you were used to, develop different definitions.

What does it mean to dress up for a party?

To manage to leave the house without stains on your improperly ironed clothes.

What does it mean to do your hair?

To have succeeded in washing and combing your hair both during the same day.

What does it mean to go out for coffee?

To carry a periphernalia of toys and objects that you hope will keep the youngster busy long enough for you to order and pay for your coffee. Actually drinking it is never a certainty.

What does it mean to watch a news bulletin on TV?

To crouch on the carpet, set a car track set, play with plastic animal cars and listen in on the news when the kid manages to keep silent or not tug at your sleeve for 30 seconds. Actually glancing at the screen is never feasible.

What does it mean to have time for yourself?

To have an hour a day during luch nap when yoy cook, wash dishes, fill the washing machine, answer the calls missed during the morning, gather the food crumbs from around the house, clean the tables and the wipe color marks off furniture and floors, bite a couple of times from a sandwich you prepared out of your kid’s leftovers and get in the mood for another 6-7 more hours of fun and play.

What does it mean to celebrate your birthday?

To feel guilty for leaving your child at home with his parents and go enjoy a dinner date with your husband in a quiet restaurant in between phone calls giving instructions about how much coughing syrup to administer before bedtime or where the hidden chocolate bars are placed in the pantry.

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When does our brain learn symmetry?

I watch my 27-month-old son build his plastic brick contraptions and I marvel at the lack of association of what he creates with something (anything!) real (probable, feasible). Adults are tempted to try and build A thing .. a bridge, a tower, a castle, a boat, a tree.. anything that has a name, identity, conventional meaning and image.

I try not to influence him in any way since I love this no-connection creativity. I simply enjoy the fact that he needs no starting point, he needs no inspiration, no set notions or concepts. However, when I do help him place those Lego Duplo bricks one on top of the other, I realise the colours I choose, the types of bricks that I set as props.. they all fall into a minimal symmetry game of my subconscious. My son however is never tempted by it, he never cares that there is one single brick as foundation and 15 larger pieces on top, he never focuses on balance and equilibrium. He never deems them compulsory. Or useful.

I realised that there is no concern for symmetry or balance when he stacks things one upon the other in general. Which is why I noticed that these reflexes are acquired, learnt, assumed by a conscious effort of our mind and personality. It is one of those issues civilisation brings with it and which proves that humans evolve, develop and ‘mature’.

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