Tonight I sat for an hour and a half with my mother-in-law. I had never sat with her talking for so long. I have to say just because my relationship to my husband and our marriage were a secret for so many years, it feels almost weird that my pregnancy is not. I don’t know why, but I was expecting people wouldn’t talk about it, I thought it would be a private thing, well, until my belly doesn’t pop out for everyone to see it…

But all my sisters-in-law know it, and they have congratulated me on the phone. The oldest who visited for a week after we came back from Europe is very concerned about my health, and she asks to speak to me regularly on the phone. They are all so happy it fills me with infinite love. Amma told us that she was happy that she would have a “toy” to play with, to love, and she’s already excited to give massage to our baby after s/he’s born. I think beyond all their “blind faith”, they do have a lot of knowledge as well – they must have – and being in rural India I think I will have a glimpse of all the care and goodness ancient India has to offer to newborns and their mothers! Apparently women receive daily massage for a month after giving birth, and they are fed with a blend of jaggery (an excellent source of iron among other things) and various nuts and spices. I’ve already tasted it and let me tell you, it’s delicious! Kishan also told me that newborns are washed in water that has been boiled with neem leaves… I shouldn’t get too excited before it all happens, let’s wait and see, but I think a beautiful experience of love and care awaits me…

And tonight Amma told me all about her seven pregnancies and giving birth. It was a delight to hear her narrate her beautiful stories. We don’t often find subjects of conversation, but when we do, and it’s often when she tells me all about her past, she speaks with a lot of light in her eyes. (She doesn’t ask me much about my European life, I guess because she wouldn’t know what to ask?)

I have to admit I do often think that our personalities are very alike. If we had grown in the same culture we would be best of friends. I think we both feel it. Our different-worldy backgrounds have given us a hard time moving towards each other, but the fact that we both know we are alike have made it possible. We do have a lot of love for each other. And I think my having a child, and finally going beyond the immense fear the thought of it used to give me, is going to be a huge improvement for our relationship. I finally embrace and accept it!

Tonight I even told her I would only speak French to our child. It was something I was concerned about, with no-one understanding it in our family. She clearly accepted it. And I talked to her about education, about the fact that just learning by heart and beating children when they say something “wrong” doesn’t do any good to them, and really doesn’t help with their education. I told her we needed to understand the children properly, that every child is different and hence learns differently. That children need interest, enthusiasm, to learn something. I don’t know if she understood it all, not even being able to read her own language well, but she was acknowledging what I was having to say… And it made me happy…

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