Monday, May 26, 2008

Morning sickness

One of the surprising (or perhaps not) sides of being a mother is that way in which any news story or even vague possibility of a child being hurt cuts to my core. The Boy and I watched The Piano a couple of weeks ago and I was relatively unmoved by much of it - before anyone assumes I am a cold and heartless person, I studied the holocaust and have been to the holocaust museum in Israel, nothing is more moving and disturbing than that - except the point in the film with the woman who had suffocated her baby to keep her quiet when the Nazis came looking for the family. I felt physically sick and needed a break from the film at that point.

When you start noticing, the news is full of children being hurt and abused. At the more extreme end is the Austrian cellar, but even here in Hong Kong there are stories of neglect when a mother decides to spend the weekend gambling in Macau leaving her children at home. Children are such vulnerable little things really.

It was brought home to me yesterday when H told me that she had been caught in the rain and popped into the flat of her former employer with Eve (they live just down the hill from us and right by the supermarket). I knew she had been there once before to show them Eve, and I was fine with this, but they then gave Eve a little gift. This, and H going there again yesterday led me to suspect that she is there more often than perhaps I know.

Now, probably they are lovely people. They have children of their own and H's sister still works for them. However, someone I don’t know spending time with my child, and her spending time in their home makes me feel very uneasy. All the nasty possibilities about what people can do to children come flooding into my mind. But then I found myself feeling neurotic and bad for being so mistrusting - after all, people in the UK leave their children with childminders and daycare all the time.

After discussing it with the Boy, and feeling a bit sick, today I told H that I would prefer it if she didn't go round, that I felt uneasy with Eve spending time with people we don’t know. She smiled that knowing mother smile of hers and said that she understood and no problem. Of course, she could still go there and I just wouldn't know about it. But if I trust her with Eve then I should trust her to respect my wishes.

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