I like my life in Austria. I have lots of support. I am happy here. Yet in the months since I had a baby, I have never felt so homesick and alone in my entire life. I have never before questioned my decision so much. The question to move to Austria, you ask, or the question to have a baby? Well… both.
This whole process of having a baby and becoming a mother is an adjustment. It’s much harder when you’re in a different language, a different culture and family is far away. I’m lucky to have great in-laws who are very supportive and respectful. But it doesn’t change the fact that they’re not my parents. My parents haven’t met Sam. They won’t until he’s almost a year old. They’ll have a harder time cultivating a relationship with him. And all the Skype time can’t change that. I’m lucky that hubby is great at taking photos, but sometimes seeing all the pictures of his parents with Sam just makes me sad because it all hits me again.
I’m not going to say I’ve been depressed… rather I’ve had bouts of suffering brought on by extreme tiredness which means that I was… and sometimes still am… pretty sad and resentful. The sleepless nights and the hormones amplify everything. So all the homesickness and culture-shock and everything I’ve learned to deal with in the past comes back at me again.
On top of that, the advice and rules about babies and child-rearing is constantly changing – it’s a lot different from when my parents had me. In some cases it’s a lot different from just a few years ago. And best practices and advice also change across countries. So something that is the way to go in Australia may not necessarily be seen as the thing to do here. It’s not so much conflicting information as different ways to do things. So what’s right?
The physical act of birthing a baby is tough enough, let alone in another language! Honestly I kind of just let it flow over me at the time but I know that I would have had more information in Australia. I would have asked more questions… I would have known better what to ask. I’m not saying it would have been better care – the care here was great – it’s just that I don’t always know what I’m missing. Was that critical information or not? And if you don’t know, you don’t know.
I was lucky to have my bro visit recently. Sure, we didn’t get up to much with a young baby in the middle of winter, but I had an extra set of hands, and I could head out to the shops’ or simply go down into the cellar without having to secure a crawling baby or call someone to ome over. And then of course were the nights we kicked back and played Bubble Bobble and Wonderboy and Mario Kart like it was 1992. By the time he left, I had I started to feel like myself again, but then it all came crashing down again, as it inevitably does (albeit temporarily) when he left.
Sam is 8 months old now and the fog is gradually lifting. He’s on solids and that’s increased the time between feeds. Add that to my brother’s visit and my parents’ planned one for May, the start of spring, and everything is feeling a little brighter.
Oh how I wish we could just jump in the car to visit. Not possible. Sad sometimes too. But happy that you are doing such a good job at new mothering. Not an easy place. We do love the photos and thank modern technology. Not perfect but wonderful.
Yes and before we know it May will be here!