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「以前、勤めていた会社は産後6カ月頃から『フルタイム勤務はいつからできるの?』というプレッシャーがあり、こどもとの生活を真剣に考えて退社を決意。その後、フリーになってからの出産でもやはりメインのクライアント業務はいったん契約を終了させていただきました。『家族との時間を大事にわがままに生きよう』って。そう語る舞子さんはなかなかのマタニティエピソードの持ち主です。一人目の時はまったく経験しなかったつわりに悩まされたとのことで、お手洗いにはこもりっぱなし。立ち上がることもままならない。苦手な匂いが増える。食事も作れない。どんどん痩せる。そんな中、最悪の事態が起こってしまいました。「貧血なのか軽い失神なのか、お風呂場で倒れてしまったんです。運が悪くその時にももかがふざけて出たり入ったりしていて、倒れこんだ勢いでわたしが強く押したドアに頭を打ち、ぱっくり割れるほどの大けがをしてしまったんです…しかもそれはよりによって彼女の誕生日の夜のできごと!裸で血だらけ、まさに修羅場。だけど、パニックでおろおろしているのはわたしだけ。この子はそんな状況でも自分よりもママが心配、だいじょうぶ!?とひたすら気遣い、主人は主人で落ち着き払ってだいじょうぶ、だいじょうぶだからを連呼。おかげで冷静さを取り戻して、ももかを病院に連れていき傷口を縫ってもらいました」。しかもこの大事件、妊娠2カ月という大事な時期でのアクシデント。悲劇はこれだけではありません。おなかもすっかり大きくなった妊娠8カ月めのこと。「ももかの保育園お迎えの帰り道、後ろに彼女を乗せたまま自転車で倒れるという大失態をやらかしてしまいました。金曜日で持ち帰りの荷物が多かったからバランスを崩しちゃったんです。前に乗せていたリュックが落ちて、それを踏んで思いっきり転倒」。どちらも母子ともに無事だったのは奇跡的。妊娠期間にまさかの2回ものヒヤリ体験を経て、いよいよ出産のクライマックスへ。

“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.

「最初はもじもじして、赤ちゃんのことを見なくって、明らかに恥ずかしがっているご様子のお姉ちゃんでした。産後の入院期間、パパと二人きりの日々。毎日の面会終わりには"永遠のお別れ"かという感じで辛い辛いと号泣しましたね」。都内にお住まい、神奈川の実家への里帰りで待ちに待ったママの帰宅、楽しみにしていたはずの妹との生活が始まったものの、どうやら想像とは違う展開にとまどうももかちゃん。「だんだん気が付くんですよね、赤ちゃんが最優先なんだということに。『なんで私だけ保育園に連れて行かれるの?かりんとママはいつも家にいるんだよね?』。産後2週間ぐらいすると、彼女に異変が起こったんですよね、情緒が不安定というか、やたら大声を出して暴れまくるし、ダメって言ったことをすべてやるし。保育園のお友達と遊べないストレスも発生。当初、久しぶりの実家でゆっくり過ごす予定だったところを急きょ変更。出産直後、アメリカ西海岸に出張へと旅立ったパパが帰国し待つマイホームへ戻ることにしました。我が家に戻ってからは少しずつジェラシーは解消、今はすっかり良きお姉ちゃんとして、ママのサポート役に回っています。「よく遊んでくれるし私がお料理をしている時も面倒を見てくれるし。主人も料理以外のことはすべて家事をやってくれるし、次女の寝かしつけだって上手、ほんとうに助けられていますね。夜中も起きて抱っこしてくれるので、おっぱいあげてハイって渡せますし。とにかく家族中心に考え、行動してくれることに感謝しています」とママ。「幸いなことに、会社にはちょうど子育てをしている家族が増えてきたので、働き方を柔軟にできるタイミング。今は30分早めに出社、その分早く帰社できています。女性にしかできない行為、出産やおっぱいの責任は計り知れないほど重大ですよね、保育園の送り迎えだってほんとうにたいへん。だから自分はそれ以外のことをできる限りがんばるのが当たり前」とパパは回答。新しい命の誕生でがんばったママをパパ、お姉ちゃんがしっかりと支えている山口一家なのです。

“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.

Dec. 2016


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