Irinka Aliashvili, 28, Tbilisi
„Both my husband and I wanted to have a baby very much, i.e. this was a planned pregnancy and we prepared for that. Moreover, as my husband is a doctor, we learned the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations and almost retold them to each other. I also prepared my body for pregnancy, I tried not to drink any alcohol, eat more healthy food etc. Moreover, I used to read a lot during the whole time or pregnancy, I took salty food out of my diet and said that I was going to be a straight-A mother just as I was an excellent student at school and university. I did not really think that I would find facing the fact so difficult. Giving birth to a child was a great shock. For the first two-three months Gio (the author’s husband) and I were like sleep-walkers because when I fed the baby, he would not go to sleep right away we had to carry him in our arms and so on. To put it shortly, my husband and I took turns to take care of the baby at night and felt very bad.
Initially I really thought that people congratulated me for the sake of politeness, I could not realize what was there to congratulate me on when I felt so bad. Yes, there were moments when I thought that “was I ready for everything that?!” Gio even asked me once when I woke up with a desperate look in my eyes, „Are you happy?!“ This was the period when I prayed to God before going to bed every night that I could get Lazare sleep through the night. I did not work for the first three months, I was home all the time. When I was on Facebook I saw that some of my friends were visiting foreign countries, others were sitting in a café etc. I used to cry about that. Do you know how I felt?! When all the children are outdoors playing and only you have to seat home and do your lessons because your parents have punished you. I thought I would not be able to do everything that in the future, I would not be able to go alone anywhere…But my husband and I returned from Italy one month ago.
Moreover, you develop a low self-esteem. I remember once my friend asked me about politics and I started talking about the topic fired up with enthusiasm as I used to in the past. Suddenly I thought to myself „Wow, I know that too…“. I was almost sure that I could not do anything but breastfeed my baby. I do not feel like this anymore but when I remember first several months, I had a feeling that everything was covered by black curtains.
The moment of birth of a new life is rather emotional. This is something everyone should experience once in their life. A living being comes out of you and you think that you are rather cool. What Spiderman?! He gave birth to spider-babies and you have human babies! But it is a myth that you go crazy about the person you gave birth to at first sight. Initially, I felt exuberant about myself. When they asked me “How is the baby”? I started talking about how tough I was because I was alive even though I had done that. Love of my child has gradually came to me. Maybe I am saying a bad thing now but when he fell ill, I felt sorry more for myself because I had to be awake during the nights. It was for the first time one month ago when he fell sick and I thought, „I wish I were sick instead of him“, in other words I felt sorry for him as a person rather than myself for the first time. This happened one year and a month ago. What I am trying to say is that these things come gradually.
Mothers’ Group at Facebook helped me a lot to get through this tough period. One of my friends had created and added me to the group. Mothers shared with each other things they would not say to everyone around. With the help of this group I found out that I was not the only „hysterical feminist“, who “blacked out” sometimes, that all other girls were in the same condition and spoke out only in the group. Except for sharing knowledge and experience in different issues we also need to “give each other a pat on the back” during hard times. We have already become rather good friends.
Women are always bullied. We are bullied if we do not have a child and we are bullied if we do have a child. After giving a birth to my child, people used to make me feel all the time that I was not that interesting to communicate with as I used to be before. I also felt attitudes like “Why did you have a baby if you did not want to?! What did you think?!“ You feel rather overwhelmed. I remember once, one month after childbirth I came to my office and my co-employee told me “Look you have a belly left” Do you know how angry I became?! “My belly grew for nine months and sorry I could not snap back from pregnancy with a model-perfect shape in one month”. In the beginning I blindly followed this common trends and decided to lose weight, but when I looked in the mirror, I found out that I liked myself with this extra seven kilos on me, so why should I make myself suffer from the diet?! I had never asked this question to myself before, i.e. I was like “programmed” – “after I have a baby I have to lose weight” and so on.
I would like also to talk about the environment. I did not pay much attention to this in the past but when I visited recently Italy my attention was drawn by a big number of children everywhere – in the streets, subway or other means of transport. You have to either refuse to have a child here or stay home together with the baby because with a baby stroller you cannot go anywhere or get on any transport. For example, you cannot get into most of the pharmacies that sell baby pumpers, food, medicines with a baby stroller. As for cafes, the first problem is that almost none of them have smoke free areas, the second problem is that a few of them have baby high chairs and third problem is that none of them have any changing facilities for kids. Generally, I think that Georgians do not love kids, or we love them only in the toasts. To put it briefly, the environment is not child friendly to bring them out. If you bring the child out anyway, s/he should not run, paint and so on. As the environment is not adapted, parents have to actually sacrifice their life to their children. I handle some things independently, for example, I have never paid attention to the attitude of people to breastfeeding my baby in the street but there are issues that the parent cannot handle independently in this country.”