I feel like writing in English. Haven’t done that in a long while. It feels strange, distant somehow. Like those were other times. So much has changed in so little time.
My baby and his father are sleeping in a room beside this one. I fed him one hour ago, but I cannot sleep. My little baby is one month old, and he still gets the scares when he’s sleeping at night. He throws his arms up in the air when I approach to touch him, to check that he’s still breathing. Then, I feel sorry that I scared him. But I just have to check. He’s so small, he seems so defenseless, so tender to the touch that we fear we might break him. After one month and seven days, it seems like we are adjusting to having him, and he is growing used to us having him in our arms.
I just passed the flu with a high fever and I couldn’t touch him for two days. I felt miserable. The thing I wanted the most was to hold him; it would have made things better. But I didn’t want to risk his health. We left him to sleep with my mother and when the house was empty, we jumped at the little sounds we heard, thinking that he was still there with us. It felt strange not to see him for so many hours. It feels strange when he’s not around.
Tomorrow is my twenty-fifth birthday. I always said I would love to become a mother before I turned twenty-five. Well, here I am. It was not a decision, it just came and we accepted it. And we loved the little one since the very beginning, even when we were sure we were having a girl, and we had to make an effort to imagine a little boy in our heads. I remember that day in the hospital and how I cried. Not because I was disappointed, but because I could finally try to draw a face in my mind, the face of what would be the sweetest kid I could ever have.
He looks nothing like what I pictured him. I can’t even remember how I imagined him in my mind. But he looks exactly the way he should. His father’s lips, the shape of my face. People say he looks nothing like me, but I love the fact that he looks like his father.
When I think back and remember the 31st of August, all the sensations I felt come back to me. But I have to concentrate, because so much has happened already, and so hard tries the mind to forget the pain, that I see everything blurred and far away. There was pain, and there was suffering, and the hours were long and exhausting, but the fear I felt was only for my little baby. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he suffocated every time I moved, every time the contractions were too tough on him. The first time his heartbeat dropped, I died a little. The last times it happened, I just wanted it all to be over, and to hold my baby safely in my arms.
Twenty hours after my waters broke, he came. The nurses had to take him out and he didn’t cry until one minute later. The longest minute of my life. I believe I didn’t breathe for those sixty seconds. And then, they brought him. Oh god. What did I have to do with that little thing that kept squirming on my chest? What was I supposed to do? Now I know all his movements and gestures, and I know that he was just hungry, looking for my breasts to latch on. How dependent are newborns on their mothers… It’s so sad to think about it, but also so beautiful.
I spent the first hours in that hospital bed looking at it all through a veil. I didn’t speak much, I didn’t move. I was as tired as I was hungry, and I was joyful above all, but I looked at that tiny little body and I could not believe he was here. I could not believe he was a person of his own, he was no longer part of my body, he was there and he was breathing the same air we were breathing. It was a feeling I simply cannot explain.
Now I look at him and I jump at his cries, and mostly identify what he is trying to tell us, but it’s still hard. It’s hard when he won’t stop, when his cries become screams and we don’t know how to soothe him. But we manage. And I would not EVER change that for anything in the world.