It’s a new year. Christmas is behind us. Most people is back to work and to their normal routines. I’m still on vacation for another week, which is great. I’m still at my husband’s home country, which is not always easy.
We arrived the weekend before Christmas. I fell sick with hay fever immediately, which has progressed into a nasty cough and difficulty breathing (I’m suspecting bronchitis, but didn’t bother seeing a doctor). I always get allergies here, it’s the high humidity together with bad housing habits (such as never opening any windows!) and the bedroom of my husband’s brother which constantly emanates cigarette fumes.
I’m so tired of being sick and no medicine is helping. I’ve also got eczema and psoriasis all over my face. Makes me think my immune system has gone haywire. I’ve told my husband I’m not coming here if I’m pregnant, I’m pretty sure these reactions could harm the pregnancy.
We spent Christmas Eve and day at his aunt’s in the countryside, as usual. It was fine. There were times I had to hide and cry, but overall not too bad.
I never feel like I really belong when I’m with his family or his parents. I guess it’s not unexpected when I’m from another country and we see each other about once or twice a year, at best. Although I shouldn’t assume to be close to them in these conditions, living far away, being from a different culture, it still bothers me, feeling inadequate.
I think these feelings are more pronounced now because I always hoped that once we had a child I’d finally be part of his family. A baby, half him and half me, would connect me to his relatives like nothing else could. A grandchild would bring his mother and I together, at last. This is probably an unrealistic, romantic idea, but I’ve hold onto it for too long and being here once again, feeling just as far away from a baby as 3 years ago, simply brings me down.
However this was not my biggest disappointment these holidays. I don’t expect his relatives to understand how hard this is for me or to show compassion for my struggle, especially when we’re not even that close. That’s ok with me, I just hold it in and pretend everything is fine.
I did expect, though, that they would be more supportive of my husband. He’s been having a hard time and, just before we left, he wrote a lengthy and emotional email to his parents opening up about how he’s been feeling and telling them he’s taking medicine for anxiety. They replied that they’re shocked but they’d talk once we arrived.
I spent several days in anxious anticipation for a Big Talk, feeling like a teenager again, when my parents would sit across me on the sofa to complain about something I was doing wrong. The talk never came. Actually, they never mentioned anything about our situation and never even asked him how he was doing. There were no questions about future treatments or next steps either. Just complete and utter silence.
I know better than to await support or sensitive comments from my parents. I’ve learned the hard way they’re simply not equipped for that. But I expected more from his parents. His family always seemed like this TV-show-from-the-80’s perfect family, all hugs and I-love-you’s. I thought they were going to be there for him; not for me, but at least for him. My husband: their son, nephew or cousin is hurting and no one, absolutely no one, offered a ear, a longer hug, words of compassion. Only silence and pretending all is fine. Denial.
One situation in particular sickened me. My husband’s cousin, who has always been so close to him and who he considers like a big brother, made a comment that got me fuming. We were doing a short hike in the hills around town and his cousin was complaining to my husband that he hadn’t organised his mother’s surprise birthday party yet (she’s turning 60 in a week; her birthday is actually the reason we’re staying here so long). My husband replied with something on the lines of I don’t think I’m in a good state to throw a party, I have too much on my mind lately. I felt like he was trying to open up, to give him a clue. But his cousin, very dismissively, said: I can’t imagine what can be on your mind; you’re on vacation, there can’t be anything worrying you right now!. My husband, of course, stepped back and agreed to handle everything soon (which he didn’t because he really can’t right now, but nobody seems to understand or care). I was so angry, I wanted to yell at him, call him insensitive or worse. But of course I didn’t do anything, I don’t want to get between them.
We are doing better now. We left on a little trip just the two of us after Christmas. We are staying in a hotel (my health is thankful for that) and the plan was to have many nice, long walks, but we’ve been a little unlucky with the weather. It’s raining a lot, so sometimes we manage to take a walk in nature or sightsee the area, other times we are simply relaxing, watching movies, reading a book or taking a long bath. That’s just what we need now. And I need to reenergise before going back to my in-laws’.
I’ll leave you with some pics of the area, it’s really beautiful, I recommend a visit!