I was seventeen years old when my gynecologist told me that I would never have children. Malformed ovaries and the hullabaloo. At 20, the same diag-nosis again, a few years later the same image on the ultrasound. So of course, I never bothered about contraception, the pill and condoms were for others. Not even when the first of my three husbands walked into my life. We were both young. Too young. A wedding in a flash, a honeymoon on the Canary Islands and then a dull feeling in my stomach. Weeks later the astonished look of my gynecologists. ” You are pregnant. I have no idea why or wherefore”. I didn’t want to explain to her the thing with the bees and flowers. If only she had given me a few tips on how to deal with the newcomer. Just like you get a full description in a car dealership, which button is for what. But I left the Doctors office in a trance and equipped with the light blue passport of a Mom to be, advertising brochures of diaper factories and milk powder kitchens. I got round. Swell up. Put on twenty kilos and lost a heel at a fair-trade event – on my wedding pumps, paid as a tradition in our country still is in pennies(!), collected in a 67oz cognac bot-tle, since the time I was a little girl. My elephant weight was too much for the heels of the designer shop.

On that day the calculated date of birth was still three weeks to go. I started my journey back home barefoot on the train. In those days I continued to work for the then newly founded marketing agency and slept under my desk during lunch break. Customer appointments were on the agenda. Money had to be brought in. Stupid that I woke up in the night to Septem-ber 3, 1998. Back pain at its best. I didn’t think anything of it, instead of at five o’clock in the morning, mellowed by American moderators in a home shopping station, I found the purses offered for sale so great that I bought one. Out of frustration, out of pain. Out of boredom.

The wallet was delivered four days later. My daughter only a few hours lat-er. The birth – an absolute horror. The Philippine midwife with Swabian dialect refused to give me any painkillers. To her, I was still too young. The producer – for good reasons an ex! – Vehemently resisted an episiotomy ad-vised by the doctor. As if he would have had to force this little human out. Pah. I still know that I screamed in the delivery room, he should bring a melon rectally into daylight. And then I bit the nurse in the thumb. I sin-cerely apologize for that at this point.

At some point, she was there. My charming daughter. More than twenty years ago. For nostalgic reasons, I still own the completely worn out wallet. And my child of course, anyway, followed by two brothers. And with every first cry a pack of lifelong responsibility. Sure, in the first surge of hor-mones you’re only happy about the crumpled something and the belly, which is suddenly much lighter. But then it starts. And you don’t have the faintest idea which button on this child is for what. You put the basics to-gether yourself. Change diapers, fill in milk, carry the screaming child through the apartment night after night until you are exhausted. It’s just as simple as driving a car straight ahead, setting the indicator or refueling.

But unlike in the driving school, where things are explained by a bored driving instructor what rights you have as a driver (the bigger car wins) and what obligations. The lawful payment of the motor vehicle tax, for exam-ple. My Monsieur is still stunned that Germany collects money for owning a car. Unthinkable in the neighboring country. There, yellow, purple and green vests would immediately march onto the motorway. The Frenchman assumes responsibility for his nation.

But my husband also takes responsibility for our children. We are happy to do so. Even though 20 years ago I hadn’t suspected that one never, never, never gets rid of these thoughts. Also, when the baby has now become a young woman. Studied. And long since with a driver’s license in her pock-et. To have responsibility is okay. To give these away – hurts. The first time after the birth with my (ex! -) husband gone out, leaving the baby to the sit-ter… the bare horror. I couldn’t enjoy the evening. After the starter in the noble dining hall, I raced home. Was the child still alive? Did the apartment burn? I burst into the living room. The babysitter zapped her way through crazy talk shows. My princess lay blissfully asleep in her bed.

The first kindergarten day. The offspring in the care of trained kindergarten teachers. The door closes. The dwarf happily wiggles at the kindergarten teacher’s hand into the playroom. I, as the mother, cried in the parking lot. School enrolment – not a bit better. Proud miniature with an oversized school bag next to mother with a snotty handkerchief. No flattering photo of me that we have there in the family chronicle. And the whole disaster three times.

At that time, I thought it couldn’t get any worse. But then school trips came. The first overnight stays with friends. The driver’s license. I cried my eyes out when my little girl drove out of the yard by herself. I must have looked at the empty road for half an hour when the brake lights disappeared behind the bend. She is an adult. Responsible for her own life. The umbilical cord has long been cut. From her point of view. It feels like an invisible elastic band to me.

That’s a good thing. I enjoy the ‘irresponsible’ moments, the shopping to-gether. Going for a stroll. At eye level. Nevertheless, I will always be the mother in our relationship and in that to my sons. Just like my mother was to me.

I had to take responsibility for her in the last months and days of her life. Do we turn off the respiratory equipment? Will she be able to get out of in-tensive care again? Decisions I don’t wish anyone to make. At the end of her life, my mother took the responsibility away from me. She died at home, quite peacefully. We had a loving farewell.

Perhaps this is the key to dealing with responsibility: replacing the harsh word with love. No more, no less. Respect for our fellow human beings. For our profession. For the world in which we live. Well. You don’t have to love everything. Fortunately, I have no responsibility for old-fashioned midwives or my ex-husbands.

If you get too much responsibility, a thumb might help. You don’t have to bite into it. Sucking is enough. Think of incredibly stupid TV shows and be glad that you are not responsible for their underground content.

Your`s, Silke Porath

This article was translated by the Courtesy of PonderingTime Fan Heidrun Klemmer. The Editors Staff is thanking you Heidrun!https://www.facebook.com/El-ARCA-MINCA-184444268593414/