Hello folks, it’s been a very long time. Too many things have happened over the past year for me to even recount everything. Last year I was fully committed to wine making and WSET diploma and, as if they weren’t challenging enough, I decided to have a baby and carried her through the harvest. I thought I could take advantage of the super sense of smell on the tasting exams, which didn’t quite work out. However, it was proven quite useful when I was sniffing the fermenting wines and during the blending process of 2016 vintage. If my baby grows up to be a wine girl, no surprises there!
My pregnancy was smooth and I quite enjoyed tucking into sucuk, kebab, katmar, kunefe and all other naughty desserts that I didn’t used to eat without feeling guilty. My cravings were for fatty and spicy food, and hubby drove to Istanbul and Izmir to provide me with the best croissants in Turkey.
After 40 weeks, however, I started to get frustrated, not having any signs of imminent labour. Then suddenly on 29 Feb came this sweet girl, who is sleeping peacefully next to me. Why on earth did she decide to come out to the world on that date? It definitely shows that she’s got a little rascal in her like me and a story to tell even from the birth.
Being a mum has brought a whole lot new experiences, which I hadn’t imagined and certainly wasn’t prepared for. Gosh, I struggled to breastfeed, which is such hard work – I thought it would come naturally but no! Finally, after two months, I find a little time for myself, some days not everyday, while she takes her long stretch of midday nap.
This Covid situation is such a nuisance and I haven’t been outside since the delivery except a few visits to the doctor for checkups and vaccines, let alone getting out of my nursing PJs. My parents-in-law are feeling sad and desperate to see the baby, having already missed out on so many magic moments over the last month.
In Turkish culture, women wear a red hair band and get looked after by family for 40 days. MIL came to our home every morning, did all the housework and stayed till hubby got home before the lockdown. Although she couldn’t make it to 40 days, short of a few days, she still looks after me from a distance and makes healthy delicious food for hubby to pick up every evening. It’s been a huge relief and deeply appreciated as I don’t have time to cook and need to eat well to breastfeed.
Her love and thoughtfulness is felt in every food. I’ve tasted a variety of Turkish mumsy foods so far. MIL doesn’t usually cook this often but the lockdown seems to have motivated many people to expand their culinary skills. In-laws have been baking such amazing sourdough bread with spelt flour recently as well.
Food would arrive, still warm, and be served right away before the baby, who would look at the mobile by our side while waiting for us to finish, loses her patience and gets grizzly to be fed. However, I couldn’t resist taking photos of these special dishes as a reminder.
It is the month of goat kid and FIL made his signature Ciğer Sarması (stuffed caul fat or crepinette) and MIL made the healthy field poppy&nettle borek. Though I’m familiar with many wild herbs in Turkey, it was my first time eating the leaves of field poppy. Since it’s Ramadan, she made the special dessert güllaç as well.
I thought that delivering a baby would be the end of it but little did I know it would be just the beginning. Me and my hubby’s lifestyle has changed dramatically, and one of the most frustrating parts for me as a foodie and wine lover is not being able to drink coffee and wine. I’ve started drinking weak milk coffee recently after the last feeding in the evening as a treat though.
For the first month I ate the Korean seaweed soup everyday as it’s traditional postpartum food. While watching this little girl sucking and sleeping at the breast, I get a cascade of emotions and repeat to myself, “My little angel, I’ll try to be good for you.”
As they say, you only truly appreciate your mum when you become one, and I take my hat off to all mums out there. Motherhood is truly a special gift and I’m finally experiencing it. I’m very excited, yet at the same time nervous about the coming months and years with the new family life around this girl. I’ll share more stories later on when I have more free time. Before I go, a big shout out to all mothers in the world. You are truly amazing and special!