Hello, friend… long time no see! But I could not let this day go by without updating you with some of the latest news about my life… it is Valentine’s Day, after all, and who can be better suited to share her two cents on Love, if not the LoveLabourer?
I am the happy and sometimes exhausted mother of my beautiful 2 month old daughter, Tara. The identity of my baby’s father is unknown to most, and, for a split second, I stopped and pondered upon it as well, when, having communicated him the news of my pregnancy, he asked me if I was sure the baby was his.
From there on, began a power struggle, enveloped in my many fears and doubts, in my stubborn determination to handle everything by myself, in my hesitation to speak my mind and to express my anger, my frustration or my apprehension about his role in our lives…
Serious discussions about the practical implications of my child’s birth were left to the last few weeks before her arrival, to my ever-increasing despair about the whole situation, about what I perceived as lack of involvement and interest and an aching passivity on his end. And even then, I did not succeed in summoning my courage, my intransigence, my willpower to say what needed to be said, to inform him of my firm and unbending stance on certain issues and to clarify the next steps.
That, of course, played a serious role in my understanding of and my perception of who I am, shaking me to the core, tossing me in a pit of self-pity, self-doubt, self-blame and, all in all, the complete abdication from being in my power, as a woman and as a future mother.
The day my baby was born, her father was seated next to me in an armchair in the delivery room, solving crosswords and preparing himself for the World Cup Final, reassuring me briefly that “It’ll be okay”, while I was building through and navigating through labour pains, sailing the waves of ever-more intense contractions.
Having reached the end limit of my endurance to pain, as well as my endurance of his idleness, for the first time ever, I stood up for myself and asked him to leave, because he was not providing the kind of help and support through delivery that I needed and wanted. That, of course, planted the seed for more drama, which I was gladly unable to handle right then and there, while my uterus was exploding into a billion shards, once every 2 minutes.
The next time I saw him, Tara had already been born. The next time I saw him, my despair became my power, my vulnerability became my strength. Tears in my eyes, I explained why his behaviours were hurting me, and why I was so fiercely going to defend and protect my daughter from any disrupting or disturbing factor, including himself, were he to become one. It was the most honest I had ever been with him. I had nothing to lose anymore, my fear had subdued me and freed me, all at once. And that is how, a completely new dynamic between me and this man has started. Because I no longer attempted to label him as anything… as a father, a partner, a lover, a boyfriend… He was a man and I was a woman and we had a shared responsibility towards the little star I gave birth to… to cherish and respect and support each other, and to be a team, for her sake.
Over the course of the past months, I had the chance and the privilege to see what it looks and feels like when a man is taking a woman’s feelings and needs into consideration.
It looks like nights spent falling asleep by your side, although he’d much rather head home and shower and be ready for work the next day. Or telling you to sleep well and eat well, prioritising your health and wellbeing. Or massaging your aching back, and even paying for a professional massage session for you, because he knows that every bone of your spine is sore. Or buying and delivering over 50 bottles of your favourite water brand to your home, because he doesn’t want you carrying weights or getting ripped off at the corner store. Or running errands for you, because you’re stuck at home for the most part. Or learning that you’d much rather he washed his plate or coffee cup, than just drop it in the sink for you to find later. Or simply holding you in his arms, wrapping you in peace and calm, making you feel supported and understood.
Or moving in with you, though temporarily, and quickly picking up on the ‘rules of the house’ of proper shoe storage or recycled trash cans (including helping you take out the trash) or unclogging your shower drain of all the nasties.
Or putting your differences aside, for the baby’s best interests, and really getting onto the same team… because respecting and cherishing each other, as human beings, as man and woman, as co-parents is the only way your baby can strive in a harmonious and loving environment.
It may not be a love story, but, when he wraps his arms around me at night and pulls me closer, when he laughs wholeheartedly at my silly jokes, when he teases me, when he scolds me as if I were a child, preaching certain ways of conduct that would be more aligned morally or ethically, when he makes efforts to fit into our lives, as per my needs and vision… it is, nonetheless, a form of love.
And with that, and the hope that wherever you are, balance and harmony are filling your life, joy and peace are enriching your day, and love is reigning supreme, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day of pure, unconditional, infinite Love.