People sometimes think my family is a reconstituted family. They suppose my 14 year old son must be from a former relationship. And that my husband and I subsequently had a son together that’s now six. But there is another explanation for the age gap. Indeed, there is another partner in play. Rheumatoid arthritis has a say in my marriage. Even in us having a second child. After my first one was born my rheumatoid arthritis got very bad. I was helpless, couldn’t take care of myself, let alone take care of my baby. That was quite a struggle,those first few years as a mum.
When my son got too big for his crib, it was stored in the attic. Just like the clothes he grew out of. And the toys he was finished with. In the meantime we didn’t know what to do. Have another kid? Take a chance on my health, again? We kept doubting and the amount of kids’ stuff in the attic grew and grew.
Meanwhile treatment of my rheumatoid arthritis was a problem. One kind of medication didn’t work for me, the other one had too many side effects. Then my rheumatologist suggested yet something else with the warning that if I would start with this medication having any more children would be out of the question. We were put on the spot. A good thing. Because in hindsight I think we would have been in doubt up to the point having children would have been biologically impossible. Now we were forced into making a decision. We decided to go for it. And after a while happy circumstances made us get the crib out of the attic. Directly after the birth of my youngest I started those new pills offered to me earlier. And they worked. Furthermore and as opposed to the first time, I enlisted every help I could get to assist me in taking care of the baby.
Our gamble has worked out. We were able to silence my rheumatoid arthritis, that ‘third partner’ in our marriage. All the stuff our second son is finished with I now sell via the internet. The attic is slowly being cleared.
(written December 2010, translated may 2019)