June 29, 2020

Amie & Asabea

Originally published in Nuda:Mother

Photography Angelina Bergenwall

Translation Olivia Bergman

Words between Amie Bramme Sey, journalist and co-host of the podcast Raseriet and her friend Asabea Britton, midwife and blogger.

" I used to cry about how shitty the world was and ask myself how my child could be so sweet and innocent when everything else in the world was so ugly, dirty, loud and horrible."

AB

I went to preschool with Lalo today.

ABS

Omg tell me!

AB

As you know, the introduction to preschool isn’t going that well for Lalo and me, so we’re extending it a bit. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I’m a control freak and that I want to see what’s going on there. But it went well. Even though I struggle to not feel like preschools are a sick construction.

ABS

What is it about preschools that makes you feels like it’s a sick construction?

AB

I don’t know. It feels sick to leave your crying child to people they don’t know. Why should babies get used to not being with their parents? I mean, I get that it’s good for children to have their own social context, but I feel conflicted. I heard such a beautiful thing this weekend, that researchers have seen that mothers who carries their babies in the womb has her child’s cells in her heart. Some of the baby’s cells leak into the mother’s blood during pregnancy. No wonder you feel so strongly when you are apart. I mean we have created them, and pushed them out of our bodies. Of course you’ll get separation anxiety.

" To have children is really a challenge in sense and sensibility. Sense is like: ”Pretty please don’t forget that the feminist strategy behind daycare is that it frees the woman from being tied to the home”"

ABS

I also felt like shit when my child started going to kindergarten, both physically and mentally. I was asking myself – is it supposed to be like this? I’ve always taught my daughter that she my top priority and that always will be right by her side. All of a sudden I’m supposed to just leave her and be like: ”Bye, mum will be back later!”

AB

A person wrote to me that her child, who was verbal at an early age, had asked her: ”Mum, why are you leaving me when I’m crying?” That hit me hard.

ABS

Oh god no! But also – word. I mean, it is the big question.

AB

Right, what do you respond to that?

ABS

To have children is really a challenge in sense and sensibility. Sense is like: ”Pretty please don’t forget that the feminist strategy behind daycare is that it frees the woman from being tied to the home” Well yes can’t argue with that. But still… the feeling. When I had Eira, I felt this strong instinct to protect my child; that came as a shock for me.

AB

I felt it too, even before the deep feeling of love came over me I had this ”I would die and kill for you”-feeling. Right after giving birth my hormones was all over the place. I remember I would cry because I had such a bad conscience for giving birth to him. I thought that I had forced him into this world. Do you remember that?

ABS

No! Haha, I mean the first period you were.. a total lunatic. I used to cry about how shitty the world was and ask myself how my child could be so sweet and innocent when everything else in the world was so ugly, dirty, loud and horrible. Do you think its selfish to have children?

AB

In one way it is, or? You want more meaning to your life and to be able to see yourself in another person.

ABS

Right. Wanting to have children is kind of egoistic. I thought a lot about wanting to create a family and to pass on my family’s legacy. That history continues. It became much more important for me to go to visit my dad’s family in Gambia, to show my child places that is also a part of her. Before traveling there with my daughter I hadn’t been there in 8 years. All of a sudden I just felt a much stronger connection to my roots. Do you feel the same?

AB

Absolutely, it’s so important to me that his connection to Ghana is as strong as mine. But it has been even more so for my partner. He, just like you, went to Gambia for the first time in years when I was expecting our son. Another thing, that I didn’t expect would be that important to me was that my son was given my last name. I guess it’s also has to do with passing something, or me, on.

ABS

It’s also a way to carry on women’s history. Think about all the maiden names that disappeared with marriage, and the family history with that.