“We will always be a little French”


Photo: shutterstock

Five months pregnant and on vacation with her father in the south of France, Gwendolyn decided to replace the crowded Randstad with an unobstructed view, her own botanical garden, and a swimming pool.

Gwendolyn (34 years old) is a single mother to Simeon (3 years).

“I wasn’t supposed to become a mother on my own. In fact, I didn’t even know if I wanted a baby. Semyon was a surprise, not a little one. A gift from a friends of interest.

Not connected

He said he didn’t want a baby, without batting an eyelid as I stuttered and pushed a positive pregnancy test under his nose. And I said I didn’t, either, but I definitely didn’t want an abortion. Furthermore: With this life in my stomach, I’m not sure anymore if I’m really consciously childless. Even though my brain had yet to follow, I was overjoyed in my heart with my pregnancy.

“I’ll do it on my own,” I said cheerfully. “Don’t feel bad, I don’t have to take responsibility, but it’s good to tell my child who his father is.” As far as I’m concerned, this role didn’t have to be filled traditionally. If only he knew who he was descended from, and his father was open to casual contact. The friend agreed.

Total rest

I was five months pregnant when I was on vacation with my father and his wife in the south of France. They lead a completely quiet life: unobstructed views, their own botanical garden, swimming pool, and horses in which they go out into nature almost every day.

I’ve been coming here every free week I’ve had for years, but now all of a sudden I’ve experienced my stay there differently. In Randstad there was a struggle to get a place in childcare, and my apartment was barely big enough for two people. No problem with the baby, but what if my baby grows up? There is no home to be found in the current market.

“Did I want my child to grow up in Randstad?”

Not to mention the dangers of the big city: violence, crime, traffic and drugs. Did I want to raise my child there?

stay in France

“Why don’t you just stay here?” asked my father one evening, together under a blanket in front of the fireplace. As a translator, I could do my work from anywhere in the world, he and his wife took care of my child with love. On top of that: enough homes in the area that were not only big enough for me and my son, but were also very affordable. Until then I can live in their guesthouse. I had friends in the area, so I also had a social safety net. It seemed like a win-win situation.

“Why don’t you just stay here?” asked my father

I let the idea emerge for a few days, smelled the air of the French hill from a different perspective and decided on the golden mean: I would rent my apartment in Holland and stay at least six months after giving birth.

Read also – Back to your parents. With the child: “I suddenly lived in the attic again”>

rock in waves

For final checkups with the midwife up to 34 weeks, I traveled back and forth, installed a renter girlfriend in my apartment and packed what I had collected into baby bags. A week ahead of schedule, I was born in a hospital in the south of France, my stepmother as a rock by my side. Stay that way, that rock.

On the nights when Simon was cruel and I passed by him. When breastfeeding isn’t going smoothly and she has a helping hand calmly. Perhaps having her was more supportive than if I had a partner. And so I stayed in the guest house.

French heart

I started working after three months and enjoyed motherhood with this wonderful safety net. Siméon discovered life between botanical garden vegetables and goat bleating and for a long time felt like the golden formula. Until he was a year and a half old, he showed a growing interest in my peers, and I began to miss my life in Holland. Early friends also had children there. And as wonderful the French countryside was, I realized more and more that I was the daughter again, while now I was the head of my family.

“Maybe we’ll be back for good someday.”

Two years after my departure, I withdrew into my familiar existence. Which has not been seen since then, because Semyon’s peasant roots are deep. In the summer we still stay with my father for at least a month, and in between we regularly fly back and forth. In moments of anxiety, I still googled sites in that area; Maybe we’ll be back someday, forever. We will forever be a little French – my son is responsible and I am in my heart.”

This article was featured at Kek Mama Summer Special 2022.

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