“Before, there was pressure from the company I had worked at, from the sixth month after the birth, ‘When can you start working on a full-time basis?’ Therefore, I decided to quit, thinking that my life with the baby was important. Then, at the birth, too, after I became free, my principal business clients kindly let me conclude their contracts for a time. I decided that ‘Time with the family is important and I will live as I please.’“ Maiko, who is telling this, is the owner of Maternity Episodes. During her first pregnancy, she was afflicted with morning sickness, never experienced before, and kept staying cooped up in the toilet. She had no strength to get up. The number of unpleasant odors kept rising. She could not cook. She was gradually losing weight. Then the worst thing happened. “It was either anemia or a slight faint, but I had a fall in the bathroom. Unfortunately, at that time Momoca was fooling around, going out and coming in, and hit her head against the door that I had pushed hard as I fell. She had a serious gaping wound … and that was, of all days, on the night of her birthday! Naked, covered in blood, it was a real shambles! Still, it was only I who was flustered with panic. This child, even in that state, cared and worried for her mother more than for herself: It is OK! My husband, being his usual self, was composed and kept saying: It is OK, it is OK. Thanks to that, I regained my composure, took Momoca to the hospital and had her wound sewn up.” Moreover, this major incident occurred during an important period, the second month of her pregnancy. However, tragedy did not stop there. It was on the eighth month of pregnancy, when her stomach had become quite big. “On my way home from the kindergarten, with Momoca sitting behind me, I made a great blunder of falling from the bicycle. It was a Friday, and there were a lot of things to take home, so I lost my balance. The rucksack that I had put in front fell down, and I toppled, landing heavily on it.“ It was a miracle that neither the mother nor the daughter was hurt. Having gone through two truly frightful incidents, she is finally getting ready to give birth.
“At first she was fidgety, did not look at the baby, and acted an elder sister who looked clearly bashful. When I was at the hospital after the birth, just the two of them, the dad and she, were together from day to day. At the end of a daily visit, she bitterly wailed, as if it were a ‘last farewell.’” Although the mom returned to the apartment in the Tokyo Metropolitan area from the visit to her parental home in Kanagawa to give birth, something Momoca eagerly awaited, and the life began with the younger sister, which she was supposed to look forward to, Momoca was somewhat perplexed with the developments that were contrary to what she had imagined. “She gradually realized that the baby was the highest priority. ‘Why am I alone taken to the kindergarten? Carin and Mom are always at home, are they not?’ About two weeks after the birth, something strange happened to her. Her emotions might have become unstable, and she started doing things she was forbidden to, such as speaking in an immoderately loud voice and ramping around. She also became stressed out and could not play with her kindergarten friends. At first, I had to quickly modify the way I had expected to stay in a leisurely manner at my parental home, which I had not visited for a long time. Straight after the birth, I decided to return to my apartment and wait for the dad to return, who was on a business trip to the West Coast of the United States. After returning home, her jealousy little by little disappeared. Now she, as a very good elder sister, plays a supporting role to her mom. “She often plays with the baby and also looks after her when I cook. My husband, too, does all the housework apart from cooking; he is good even at lulling the younger daughter to sleep, so I am helped a lot. Because he gets up at night to cuddle the baby, I can fill a bottle with milk and give it to her. Anyway, I am grateful that he puts the family at the center in everything he does,” says the mom. “Fortunately, because the number of families raising children has increased in the company, we have flexible work arrangements. Now I can come to work 30 minutes earlier and go home that much earlier. The responsibility of giving birth and breastfeeding, something only women can do, is important beyond measure, but even getting the kids to the kindergarten and back is really hard. Therefore, it is a matter of course that I do everything apart from those things as much as I can,” replies the dad. This has been the Yamaguchi family, with the dad and elder sister steadily supporting the mom, who did all she could to bring a new life into the world.