Being a young expatriated mother was a challenge. I was breastfeeding, day and night. The baby was always hungry. I was exhausted, dragging my poor post-partum body around he house. The stitching scars were aching, my breast was sore and leaking. I barely had the time to shower. Every time I would put the baby down, she would start screaming again. I had no idea what to do, apart from holding or feeding her. We had moved abroad a few weeks ago, and I felt more on my own that I had felt in my entire life.
My husband was working. My brains were rotting away.
When my husband was coming home at night, he would not talk to me. At all. He would put the radio on very loudly, or a car show on TV. Often he would be coming home for dinner, and then would go out for a beer. He had been living on his own for 3 months and developed a nocturnal social life before I arrived with our child. During the weeks before the removal, I had left our place, stopped packing boxes, and went back to my family’s house – I needed help and comfort, but there was no warmth there, and a day or two after I went back to my married life. My husband said it would be better once in our new place, but it was not. It was worse.
And here I was. Reading while I was breastfeeding, listening to Podcasts while I was walking around the house with my daughter in the baby-carrier bag, waiting for my husband to alleviate some of my mothering burden so that I could get a bit of sanity back.
One evening, he went out. Then he came back in the middle of the night. I went back to sleep, but a few hours later something woke me up. I felt dampness. The bed was humid. I got very scared. I immediately thought my husband had been in a fight and didn’t realise that he was injured and losing blood.
I switched the light on.
That’s when I saw.
It wasn’t blood. It was urine.
My husband had wet the bed.
I did not utter a word, I was relieved, it had been such a shock. Then I went to the baby’s bedroom and got back to sleep on the floor.
The next morning my husband was somewhat mad. He wasn’t swearing. He would never say bad words. But he told me that everything that happened was my fault. He then explained that he didn’t go to the toilet when he came back home after his night out at the pub, because I was the one who said not to wake up the baby.
I wish I had a friend telling me then that this was mansplaining at his finest, that my husband was a bad husband, and that I should divorce urgently because this was just the beginning of a long series of vexations, abuse, and manipulation.
But there was no one. So I went back to my life with him pissing on me at night.