My Baby

My Baby
by Take Root Member Linnea Kralik

I am seven weeks pregnant. My baby is the size of a grain of rice. So small, yet so monumental. Imagine all the issues such a tiny being can procure.

My first reaction when I found out I was pregnant, was panic. I’m not ready to be a mother. Give me another year. My husband and I have just celebrated our 10-month anniversary, it’s too soon! It will change everything!

This baby has awakened a whole new set of issues. What name will I tell my baby is my name, Annika, Emine or Linnea? How will I explain the difference? How will I explain my past, so that a young child can understand?

“My mother took me away from my father when I was little, and she changed my name from Annika to Emine. She took me to Turkey. Then she took me to Sweden, and she changed my name to Linnea. Since I have been called Linnea the longest, that is name I use.”

How do you explain the concept of name-changing to a child? How can you convey all the conflicts and identity issues that have risen out of it ? how can I explain that Annika is one person, Emine is another, and Linnea is yet a third? Yet they are all the same person. Her mother

I worry about the innumerable future situations we will be put in. Different people calling me different names. All the different version of my past, as many versions as there are people involved. And I myself don’t even have my own version straight yet. One group of relatives acts as if another doesn’t exist. How will the child look upon that? How soon will it take to learn the rules of the “game” they play, don’t mention this, don’t bring up that, avoid speaking about these topics?

How will my child relate to the concept of truth? What kind of view of reality will she have when she hears one story told from twenty points-of-view, none of which are remotely like another? How will she inherit my ever-lasting quest for truth, that ever-evasive slippery bar of soap?

My left-behind parent, my patient and caring father, voices a theory about family patterns. He sees a pattern in my mother taking me away from him, and her mother threatening to take her away from her father when she was a child, and my great-grandmother leaving my grandmother with a relative to grow up without her mother. Now my husband, after hearing my father’s theories, has worries I might carry on the pattern, and take our child away from him some day. I don’t know how to address such fears. I know that now, I love him more than anything else in the world, and I can’t imagine living without him. Neither can I imagine taking our child away from him. But how will I feel in ten years? Will latent urges surface, am I destined to become a parental abductor, as my predecessors seem to have been?

Other very practical issues come up. With three sets of grandparents (my mother and stepfather, my father and stepmother, and my parents-in-law), what names will my child give them? Who will we spend Christmases and holidays with? How will we settle the jealousy between them, when two sets are perturbed that the third got to celebrate their grandchild’s first birthday? This is not only an issue of one set refusing to be in the vicinity of another, but also a vast geographical dilemma, where everyone lives with chains of mountains or an ocean between.

Yet I did not create this. I was born where I am right now. I have returned to where I was, to where I was taken from. It is all the others who have chosen other places of residence. (Except my husband’s parents of course, they have stayed married and stayed put.) Now it is all their fault that I feel so isolated, I have neither my abducting parent nor my left-behind parent for support now that I am becoming a parent, with all the emotional roller-coaster-rides that includes. Who is my role model? Who am I supposed to look to when I need to know how a parent should be? My overbearing, mother-hen abductor, or my absent, aloof left-behind? It seems I have to reinvent the wheel, I have to teach myself as I go along how a mother should be. But in the end, I know that my baby will solve all problems. With her presence, all will become self-explanatory. All will be forgiven. She will tear down walls with her smile. She will force people who have refused to see each other for decades, to nod to each other at her baptism. I have faith in her future powers.

Leave a Reply