Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Baby, interrupted.




Dear reader,

How I have neglected you (yet again)! Happy Spring and greetings from the depths of maternity leave. When I started writing this post, I was halfway through ML, which meant I was a few days from getting my last full pay check until I got back to work in six months’ time. I felt it was time to sit down and write my thoughts on what was going on, while Joaninha enjoyed her morning nap next door. On my right, the phone was telling me that Bolsonaro had won the elections. I remember experiencing a wave of despair running through me, followed by Joaninha’s inevitable wake up cry. And so I got up before I even started. Needless to say, the blog post did not see the light of day that month.

Then I blinked and she was 9 months old, her first tooth cutting through her gums (and sometimes my breast), my sleep deprivation reaching new heights because of something called separation anxiety and the unexpected fevers that came with the bexsero vaccine. My beloved Mozambique submerged by a cyclone. Brexit still going bonkers. Somehow, during this time at home, I had managed to write a few lines for the blog, these very few lines you are reading, whilst keeping my baby alive and taking care of the house. I'm still not sure how that happened. In other words, I was starting to understand this new way of living and writing – constantly interrupted by cries, poos and wees, each interruption bringing me back to her body in need of mine. I soon realised that, if I wanted to carry on writing, if only a few sentences here and there, I had to change my relationship with technology. Forget about the laptop. My new best friend was now the note app, which I could reach quickly every time I needed to write something down, often with Joaninha hanging from my boob.

A sentence I noted there one night, sitting down in the bathroom (pretending I was peeing): “This maternity leave has plunged me into my body.” My note app is packed with these silly sentences. I call them silly when I compare them to the urgency of my daughter’s cry, which does not need words to make sense. A wordless dictionary in my body decodes the cry and urges me to run to her and I never write notes about the complexity of that urge. I feel simultaneously sorry and happy that my sleep deprived mind is unable to write about it.

It is not unusual that I keep on writing  while Joaninha is crying. I should be running to her and yet I steal seconds, sometimes minutes, to write stuff like this on my phone. I write only when I refrain from going straight away. Which is another way of saying that I now write only when I feel guilty. By interrupting my presence in front of her, I remind myself that I am me and she is not me. 

I need reminding.

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