I always thought of motherhood as a passage, necessary and required, to have babies in our arms. I never imagined to feel the intense joy, I would say physical, by seeing the famous second pink line on the pregnancy test and, above all, feeling the first, almost imperceptible movement of Ginevra inside my belly. Here, if my life had meaning, was that of bringing another life into me! I was sure I was born for that! I am not saying to give birth; I am exactly saying bringing another life inside of me. My attention and my energies were all concentrated on the trip, her growth on ultrasounds and especially on his many, many kicks, to the point of not waiting to come back home in the evening and lie down on the bed to look and feel my belly moving. I was wondering how it would be after the childbirth: would have been difficult dressing her? Would have been difficult making her a bath? Would have been difficult not sleeping at night? Breastfeeding? Two notions to childbirth course and nothing more. Maybe I thought everything would happen by magic.
The spell has been broken two days before the 34 weeks: a rise of pressure (a problem I suffered before pregnancy), a recovery to a hospital that was not what I chosen for the childbirth and the bitter discovery that Ginevra had stopped growing. My belly was not that magical place that I imagined. “It seems you’re not feeling good being inside of me” I wrote in one of the thousand little paper thoughts that I dedicated to her during my pregnancy. “I’m sorry, because I’m fine having you inside me.”
I would have removed the following weeks: a continuous inside and outside the hospital, going to the gynaecological A&E, cardiotocography every day and doctors who kept telling me that it was time to give her birth. Then my tears, my infinite sadness that my wonderful journey was ending. I felt cheated: nature has promised me 40 weeks and someone wanted to erase even four. People did not understand when I used to “I still want her kicks inside of me.”
The day of the birth, then, was the worst: another upward pressure despite massive doses of medicines, an induction that I lived as a violence and to top it off an emergency C-section. The worst feeling was the sense of alienation that I tried that one moment that I saw Ginevra before they took her to the day care. Where was the baby who had grown inside of me and of which I knew every kick? Maybe it was the anaesthesia, or the hormonal collapse, but I did not recognize her and, above all, I was not happy, as I had imagined I would be! The next fifteen days were the worst of my life: I was crying and I wanted back the pregnant belly. I wanted back that furious joy. I found instead myself with a scar on the belly and a tiny little baby who did not even know if I was able to breastfeed.
My husband says it looks like a sad story, but it is not. Because between those fifteen days and today there are ten months in which Geneva and I we became mother and daughter. We learnt to know each other not the way I imagined idealized before, but in a real way full of mistakes, great fears, but also infinite joys. Ten months in which breastfeeding has allowed us to recreate that naturalness of the so medicalized conclusion of the pregnancy that has deprived to our being “you and I”.
-Photographed in Italy by Chiara de Marchi, a regional photographer for A Beautiful Body Project. To book a shoot with her, please visit: www.RicordiDiFiabe.com
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