Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. Ambrose Bierce
I thought it’d be too scary to be left alone with my baby boy when my husband went back to work in the mountains for the first time, so my best friend from London came over. Over the course of her visit, she’s encouraged me to be myself and to enjoy the baby, relax, and not to hover over him!
As a further lesson in interdependent autonomy, we went and spent the afternoon at the local Lac Passy as soon as my husband returned home. Initially, I was anxious about leaving the boy with him, but E reminded me that my husband is “the second best person” in the world to look after the baby, and to relax.
Certainly, the clear, cool waters of the mountain lake on a hot day, the Alps reflected on the lake’s surface, encourages one to be ‘present’ and to enjoy the sensory sensations.
After that first day, the two of us took to swimming in the lake each afternoon before the thunderstorms would arrive, which also allowed for a leisurely morning and ‘midi.’
After a few hours at the lake (I can only depart from my boy for 3-4 hours as my breasts will burst!), I feel rejuvenated, sane, clear, and more able to tend to the many constant needs of a newborn with good humour, patience, and tenderness.
I have decided that I will definitely put my boy into the hands of a nanny for a few hours a day when my husband is away. It’s not, perhaps, what many women do so early in their child’s life…in fact, I’ve been told by a couple of mothers when I’ve asked them if they ever need time away from their babies, that they ‘actually want’ to spend time with their babies, implying that I do not...
This has hurt me because its prompted me to feel as though I am somehow failing as a mother because I do not want to spend 24 hours a day with my child, and because I do need to be on my own sometimes, and yet I do love my baby boy so very much…
Ultimately, however, I have decided that what works for one does not work for all, and for me a little time to myself is the best thing to help make me happy, which will, in turn, help make my boy happy…(now just to find a good nanny!)
I cried when E left. I felt bereft of camaraderie and understanding. I stood outside with the boy in the crook of my left arm, stupidly waving as her transfer van disappeared down the dirt road, then I looked down at my gorgeous wee one and said, “It looks like it’s just you and me, kid.”
Read all the birth diaries here