Picture this: I was at the dentist for a routine appointment, and needed an X-Ray. The dentist asked me:
” Are you pregnant?”
I answered back immediately. I literally blurted out the words, without even thinking about what I was saying:
“Are you kidding me? NEVER AGAIN.”
Cost of a Child by the team at LV=
The dentist nodded, and said that he understood. It was far too expensive to raise a child in London. He does have a point. Actually, he has more than a point: at £231,843 on average in the UK, bringing up a child doesn’t come cheap (see the infographic). It’s actually slightly cheaper in France. But little did he know that I wasn’t talking about the financial cost of having a child. I was talking about the emotional cost. Simply put, I can’t go through yet another emotional roller coaster. I am not sure I have the energy. What am I talking about? Well, to cut a long story short, it feels like I have been exhausted for more than a decade. Not to mention that I have just been through the 11+ process for the second time. What can I say? I am simply shattered.
It starts with being pregnant -if you are lucky enough not to miscarry, that is. And don’t believe the women who tell you that they forgot about the pain during the delivery -enough said, I don’t want to scare off my younger readers. Oh, and once you’ve had your baby, just imagine the joy of not being able to sit properly for a month after an episiotomy. Lovely, right? And that’s the lesser of two evils: C-sections do take time to heal too…
Cost of a Child by the team at LV=
What if you are an expat and have no family?
Of course men are more involved. But have things changed that much? I don’t think so. Whenever men do something, like, emptying the dishwasher for once or changing a nappy with a few drops of baby pee, everybody praises them and admires how involved they are. Needless to say, we women do at least 10 times as much on a daily basis and nobody bats an eyelid. Not to mention that you don’t know what the true meaning of motherhood is until you have experienced a toddler suffering from projectile vomiting and diarrhea. Take my word for it: this is something most women have to experience on their own. If, like me, you are in a foreign country and don’t know what to do, you will understand my pain. In my experience, the out-of-hours NHS helpline isn’t of much help. Just saying. You will be on your own.
To make matters even worse, as my husband was traveling all the time, I had to spend long stretches of time taking care of my children on my own. Because they didn’t know when he was coming back, they sometimes had nightmares and suffered from a deep fear of abandonment. This means that they couldn’t stand me getting out of their eyesight, even for a couple of minutes. As a result, I have spent some long years having to have a small audience when I needed the loo (I eventually managed to negotiate that they would stay outside of the open toilet door). Needless to say, I really enjoy being able to go on my own now. You see, having children has taught me how to appreciate small things like these. Frankly, I still find the whole thing a bit unfair: I wasn’t the one to go away, but of course I had to pick up the pieces.
Forget about promotions at work if you are lucky enough to have a job, forget about your dreams of a high-octane career if you don’t have an army of helpers, and forget about all this having-it-all non-sense. You will have to pick things up where you left them once the children are more independent, if you so wish. So no, I won’t be doing it again. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be a mother. It’s just that I feel that it is now high time to be a bit more myself.