We have cake. And we’re gonna eat it, too.

Fănel* is filling the white silence in the apartment with his monotonous haaaaaaaa. Then the sound of a fork briskly hitting its metal against a porcelain bowl repeatedly stabs Fănel’s breath from the kitchen. It’s lunchtime, but our morning was lazy and long, so it’s actually breakfast time.

Sitting cross legged on the living room couch, like a Turk beside the rich Christmas tree, I am wearing a black pair of tights and a thin, light blue denim dress – not yet my New Year’s Eve party outfit: a low cut dark raspberry dress and my precious moldavite and peridot silver jewelry set. I’ve already taken a shower and then quickly put on makeup. The makeup is not because of the party we’re throwing, I do that every day to avoid feeling too home bound. The fasteners of my dress undone down to my belly button, my left breast sticking out is being held by this tiny pair of hands,  their thin nails leaving miniature half moons into its skin. He woke us up with his laughter this morning, followed by cooing and fist chewing to announce he wants to be fed.

It’s the last day of such a generous year! I think for the first time ever I am filled only with gratitude as I am going through memories while listening to my baby hungrily swallowing my milk, curled up in my  lap. He’s been with us from the beginning of the year, so we carried him everywhere: the mountains, Amsterdam, Hungary, Greece, Sweden, the Bulgarian seaside. Not in England, though; he came after our journey in England.

I lost three of my closest friends. Three people I loved with all my heart. Three people I shared my life with, no cards close to my chest. Pregnancy had a way of clearing people out of my life. I made new friends and got a husband and a son. I couldn’t have asked for more, really. Although I did get so much more.

This time last year we were flying to Stockholm. I’m remembering the last two years’ dancing parties in Sollentuna, a Stockholm suburb, together with my cousins and my friends – such a great time. This year we’re partying wildly, the three of us, in our home.

“You’ve grown so much, Dana, you’re now raising others”, I remember a friend telling me on the phone a few days after I gave birth.

All I really have to say after this amazing year is just: “Thank you.”

*I decided to name household appliances and make them feel  part of the family, and Fănel, the dehumidifier, is our latest adoption.


I used to despise pregnant women

I thought they were ugly, disgraceful, stupid, naive, helpless creatures, fooled by society that it’s their duty to sacrifice their bodies and their freedom to perpetuate the species. I thought men had it so much easier for them, so much more freedom and control. And I hated it. I used to roll my eyes when I passed by a pregnant woman in the street. On rare occasions I used to feel pity. But it was disgust, contempt and anger that mostly animated me around them.

The radical feminist in me denied their right to happiness and freedom of choice. Their situation had a simple and certain explanation in my head: manipulation and brainwashing by the patriarchal consumerist society. Yes, I was in my early twenties back then, in my last years of university, passionate about gender studies and still badly suffering from older wounds.

When I graduated, I got into a gender studies master and I remember I was attending a course taught by the the coordinator of the program, a well known Romanian feminist. I felt so angry at her views and stood up, in my military leather boots and my all black outfit, and powerfully voiced my own point of view on a popular culture matter, which made her exclaim:

“Girls, it seems we have a misogynistic feminist among us!”

So now, sitting among these very pregnant women, moving slowly and carefully, like whales in shallow waters, calmly petting their huge bellies, and among these breastfeeding women, their swollen breasts, dark nipples and visible veins, all smelling of milk, their babies squeaking in their arms and looking curiously at everyone around them, toddlers running all over the place, listening to talks about types of birth and breastfeeding positions and benefits, feeling my own little baby squirming and kicking in my seven month pregnant belly, I am one of those women.

my seven month pregnant belly