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martedì 17 marzo 2015

The word me

Paraphrasing a song I can't get out if my head today I've had it easy you don't know how easy I got it... This is the reflection I am making in the last few months, in the most wonderful yet the most difficult time of my life. This is not going to be a post like the other ones: it will be about a journey but of a different kind, a journey like no other with no suggestions but only observations. I was saying that I have had it easy and I realized to what extent only lately: my life has always been full, I have made it very full and I have always tried to live it as if there was not tomorrow. I managed to do most of things I wanted, travelled around rhe world, have been a dancer,have studied acting, have been on the stage a few times, have become a yoga teacher, have made experiences of all kind, have met thousands of people, have had my fair share of romance, learnt languages, have had some professional satisfaction being a lawyer, I have taught courses and worked at Universities, watched thousands of movies, been to many concerts around the world, lived in different countries: I have even been a drag queen. My attention was focused on me and what was going around me, my family, my friends, my experiences and years have flown by so fast and so fully. Yet up until not so long ago I had regrets on what I could have done differently or better to have made different choices in particular as far as work was concerned. I never had room for anything different in my life let alone for a family and I was one of those who were never crazy about children, or better I liked them but was not too excited. My mom, who had never lost hopes kept telling me that if I had any children of my own it would be different. Also when I saw my friends with kids I never understood fully their feelings, their worries, their happiness or pain. It was exactly a year ago when I was standing in the corridors of the hospital holding the results of my blood test which said I was six weeks pregnant and when I met the woman who turned out to be my guardian angel during the pregnancy. I had been told that for my age and other hormonal issues I had at that time a 3% chance to get pregnant and I wouldn't have known anyway since I had never tried. Well, there was my 3% right there in that paper. Tears were coming down my face but they were not tears of happiness at that time. I was completely lost: I had just met the person who then would have become my loving and wonderful fiance ( but I did not know this at the time) and I was not at all prepared for this. My guardian angel took me to the hospital bar for a chat and then to see a gynecologist to check that everything was alright. This last one rather abruptly said she thought my pregnancy had probably stopped and to wait for a week to have another check up. In that very moment my world collapsed, I felt like I was being punished for being so self centered. Well I would keep my freedom, I would take a few sabbatical months around the world like I planned so why was I so heartbroken? I was shattered. My wonderful friends ( you know who you are) were very close to me in that very difficult moment and were even more closer when a week later I saw that little embryo's heartbeat in the screen and felt like I had never felt before. Months passed by with nausea, mood swings, screenings and a lot of other pregnancy related issues but it was not until the very end that I realized what was happening to me. She came after 41 weeks of pregnancy, 16 hours of labour and an emergency cesarean. I could not see her until after they had given me stitches and checked me up because when they pulled her out of me I was sound asleep and did not even hear her crying. My boyfriend showed her to me when I was being taken to the post partum room running alongside my stretcher with the crib. When I could finally hold her I just could not believe such a perfect tiny human being had just gotten out of me. I could hardly hold her since I kept falling asleep ( I had been awake for 36 hours, in labour, under ossitocine, several epidurals, a cesarean, and on a lot of pain killers). This is why that first night I could not keep her in the room. I remember when I called the nursery the following morning asking to bring my daughter (!) in. It felt so strange to say those words and it still feels weird at times after all these years of not even thinking one day I could say such a word. It has been for sure the most difficult and challenging time of my life. The post operational pains, the post partum depression, getting used to her presence in my life, the experience of breastfeeding. About that: I was one of those people who don't like to see people breastfeeding in public or rather it really bothered me to a point I would say I was horrified ( there. I said it.) I had always thought there was something wrong about me but my mother again kept repeating her magical mantra that if I had had my own child these feelings would magically disappear. Well seeing how non chalant I am right now in that respect, in private and in public I just can't recognize myself. It took me a while after the wounds, the pain, the weirdness of it all but from a point onwards it all became natural and easy. It seemed impossible in the beginning. I got to the point of hoping I would not have any milk and give my baby the bottle, I read advice on how to diminish it and in the beginning especially at night I chose to give her formula notwithstanding the fact I had enough to give her. Only now I realize how easier it would have been if I had made the effort and tried to overcome the pain but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. i was one of the few mothers who went from mixed feeding to exclusive. Looking back it seems so far away and so absurd considering how easy it is now. I never thought it would feel so great to give her her nourishment and to have this contact with her. I never thought I would not care less about my breasts or about my body and the extra kilos I still have on me. I never thought I could wish for all the pain to be on me and to suffer incredibly when she got pneumonia at only one month and a half and we had to stay one week in hospital. I never thought her crying when the doctors had to take her blood for tests or take X rays would hurt me like stabs deep in my flesh. I never thought I could think to give my life for somebody else. I never thought I could show myself in a semi homeless like look those days and not give a damn. I never thought I could feel the urge to protect another person to the extent of sacrificing myself and my life. I now understand the real meaning of when in my wonderful trips to Africa and in the many safaris I have done I was told to watch out for wild female animals when they had cubs. I remember the looks female cats used to give me when I would discover them with their kittens at my aunt's house in the country. I remember the sound female elephants would make turning to look at my jeep when they closed the line of elephants with cubs in the middle. Oh yes I do understand now. I understand that all that seemed so important to me or even fundamental doesn't look so important now. I have not taken a plane in what to me seems to be ages and I am not gonna lie about it, I do miss that, but it just doesn't seem so fundamental all of a sudden. I don't know when I will take another journey and I know that when I will it will be different but I don't care. The feeling of freedom I felt for so many years travelling around the globe was fantastic. Getting in an helicopter in Machu Picchu, standing on the verge of Victoria falls, diving in the Australian Great Barrier Reef, driving alone on Us highways, getting lost in the Namibian desert, walking around temples at dawn at Angkor Wat, sitting in the back of a truck in Botswana, watching lions wake up in South African parks. Do I miss that? Yes but it belonged to another type of journeys. I know I will still travel and this time with my partner and my daughter or even alone at times and it will be different. And it's good. My life has changed and I like it. I am not working at the moment and ehen I think back at the sleepless nights I had worried about work it makes me smile. I am not dancing, nor acting, nor teaching yoga and practising very little but I don't care. I remember when I had to quit teaching yoga before the summer after only a year after I had started or even less and assured the gyms and centers where I was teaching that I would start again maximum two months after I had given birth. Yeah right. It makes me smile thinking how unprepared I was for what is was coming. And when I look at myself in the mirror and see all the flaws my face and my body now have I complain to my partner and relatives but then I smile again thinking I couldn't care less. My back aches constantly, I am tired and the sleepless nights now are for the anxiety of doing things right as a mother. It's when I wake up in the morning seeing that beatiful face next to me opening her eyes and smiling that I think : me? And who is that?