I had a high-risk pregnancy followed by a difficult delivery with our oldest child. I ended up with an infection and a third degree tear. Our baby was born with jaundice and needed to be kept under the bilirubin lights at the hospital. These things are not all that uncommon. Still, I was relieved that we had been sent to a developed country for our baby’s birth. At a month old our baby developed breast-milk jaundice. I had to wake the baby every two hours to feed. I was exclusively breast feeding and was told to continue. Given where we were going next, I so desperately wanted to ensure that the baby was breast-fed to give as much immune protection as possible.
MC’s next job opportunity was in an undeveloped country with poor health care, poor infrastructure and too many disease carrying mosquitos, but it was “such a great opportunity.” The focus of the job was in the country next to where we would be living, with its own set of safety issues. At first, my impression was that he would have to travel, but perhaps once a month or every three weeks for a couple days. Soon after we arrived, he decided that he needed to travel every other week for two nights and three days each time.
I had already lived in many developing countries, with poor infrastructure, poor health care and the many concerns of the developing world. But, I never saw them as “shit holes” because it was such an amazing adventure, meeting amazing people and experiencing amazing cultures. We would travel, explore, and meet new people. This place was different. I was different. I had a 10 week old baby. I was worried about malaria. I was worried about a variety of other diseases prevalent in that society. So, I didn’t travel outside of our little town. I had no friends and no family and my husband was traveling A LOT! Our baby had gotten into the habit of breastfeeding every two hours. I was exhausted. I was miserable, I was depressed. I hated it there!
MC was doing fantastically with his job. He would talk about it all the time, so excited about every detail. One time he came home from his travel and was confident, bold, and assertive with sex. I loved it. I had always wanted him to be like that with me. But, he had NEVER been like that. I asked him why the difference? He didn’t have an answer. Now, I know the answer!
When he was home, we would go to a local club to swim at their pool during daylight hours, avoiding dusk and dawn activities when mosquitos were most active. I spoke a modicum of the local language, but MC was quite good at it and so it was just easier to have him with us to go anywhere. We did have a housekeeper, so I could leave our baby home to go grocery shopping, which was its own little adventure. After a year in country, I met another new mom at the pool. We talked about how lonely we were and how wonderful it would be to start a Mommy and Me group. It started with just the two of us, then three, then five. By the time we left country, we had so many moms and little ones that we decided it was time to splinter into two groups (a baby group and a toddler group).
During this last year, MC had been doing very well in his career. He was tapped for yet another “wonderful opportunity.” We would cut this job short to make the move. He asked my permission. It was such a perfect fit for him, with so much less travel for him, that I said, “yes.” On the one hand, I had finally made a group of friends and was starting to enjoy life where we were. On the other hand, I did not like his travel schedule and was anxious to have him home with us more.
Just to be clear, my use of the term “shit hole” to describe a place says everything about my state of mind at the time, and absolutely nothing about the actual location where we lived. What I have found through the years is that there is beauty and hardship in each place we’ve lived. It is, however, my state mind at the time that determines what I choose to focus upon the most.