Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Big Fat Turkish Family

My ''What to Expect'' book had been telling me for weeks to stock up on groceries and fill the freezer with ready-to-cook meals in anticipation of baby's arrival and the upheaval to our lives it would bring. Although I never found the energy to actually follow the book's advice, I did spend lots of time musing on the North American cultural bias that advice implied.

I suppose North American couples spend more time alone, away from their extended families; indeed, the books I read all encouraged me to speak up and tell well-meaning visitors to back off. But I have been more than happy to embrace new motherhood ''Turkish style.''

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and her daughter were all at the hospital within an hour of my husband calling to tell them, and witnessed my noisy labour (more on the Turkish hospital birthing experience soon). They were just outside the delivery room when I gave birth. They spent the night with us in our hospital room. They spent the following day with us at home. And I will be eternally grateful to them for that.

They changed Baby's first diapers; they stayed awake and kept watch so I could sleep, otherwise too afraid to take my eyes off Baby, lest he should stop breathing; they helped me learn how to breastfeed and burp him; they cooked meals for us. They comforted Baby when he cried.

Any first-time mother who doesn't need that kind of support, either from a professional or from family, must be super-human.

No comments:

Post a Comment