Fertility is like a soccer match; eleven sperm trying to get past the goalkeeper

We visited many extended family members whilst staying in Kahramanmaraş and one of the most memorable was to Ahmed’s aunt and uncle who lived in another dusty Turkish back lane. Their house was smaller than the one belonging to Ahmed’s family; the courtyard housed a goat and chickens and at the end of the small brick path there was a door opening straight onto a tiny basic kitchen. Further through into the small lounge or salon as the Turkish prefer, a mattress was placed on the floor in one corner with an elderly lady reclining in the make-shift bed. The sense of family is so strong within Turkish families that there is no need for retirement homes for beloved seniors who have spent their lives helping to raise several generations. Most elderly Turkish relatives are cared for by the same families that they have nurtured. Turkish children are taught from a very early age to respect their elders and those values remain with them throughout their lives and in their respectful behaviour towards all senior citizens. To this day, I love the custom of greeting elders by kissing their right hand then placing your forehead onto their hand.

Floor cushions were strewn around the room and every inch of space was occupied by women and children of all ages, none of whom spoke much English. Before we knew what was happening, Ahmed was ushered through into another adjoining room like the prodigal son or conquering hero, to where the men were assembled. Sensing my discomfort, he threw me an apologetic smile over his shoulder, before disappearing from sight, clearly relishing his moment of glory.

I was bade to sit and then bombarded with never-ending food and drinks by the gracious host family whilst the beautiful brown-eyed children sidled up to take a closer look at me. I have always loved that about children; that their curiosity far outweighs any embarrassment or social etiquette. I’m sure this would be a far better world if that childlike wonder and trust remained with us throughout our adult lives. I answered all their questions with the help of my faithful Turkish dictionary, bought for the princely sum of £8.99 in WH Smiths. The children tried to help me with my poor Turkish pronunciation and were genuinely captivated by all my family photographs on my mobile phone.

Whilst I chatted and laughed with the children, the elderly matriarchs of the family were talking in rapid Turkish and although I couldn’t understand what was said, it was clear from the gestures and nodding in my direction that Ahmed and I were both the hot topic of conversation that evening. I never did discover whether it was in a good way either.

A new-born baby was being passed around and inevitably I was invited to hold the beloved dark-haired infant who held my gaze in the way only newborns can. A few minutes later one of the women in broken English asked me to hand the baby back so that he could be reunited with his mother. Imagine my astonishment, when he was gently passed to the reclining elderly woman to nurse.

Later that evening in the car on the journey back to Ahmed’s family home, he delighted in telling me how fertile the men in his family were and proudly boasted how they remained so, in fact, long into their twilight years. I cannot tell you how comforted I felt that I was spending my life with a man who’s biggest asset was that he was more fertile than a growbag!

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47 thoughts on “Fertility is like a soccer match; eleven sperm trying to get past the goalkeeper

  1. I like the way the Turks respect their elders and take care of them, as the elders in their time looked after the children…. It’s a nice thing Ahmed believes himself to be so fertile. At least he won’t have to resort to eating dog meat like the Koreans do to boost their fertility! 🙂

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    • I can’t think of anything worse than becoming a parent when your a senior citizen but I’m sure that there are many grandparents out there for one reason or another have had to step up and will have become amazing parents all over again

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  2. Hi,
    Oh that would of been a shock to see the new born handed over to the elderly lady, most unexpected. Loved the way you wrote the story, and had a good laugh at the ending.

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  3. This was cracking me up …. that is Turkish men in a nutshell I think, their manhood and it ability is so important. Have a couple of girlfriends that had long relationships with distance with men in Turkey and they have told me similar stories. This is so funny.
    Their views on us women and our part in their lives is so far away from our own.

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      • I had more foreign partners than Swedish, mostly because I have been living abroad for so many years – but I think that in the end we have to choose a partner that has the same basic values. Maybe the Swedish man isn’t very romantic – but he knows how to use a vacuum cleaner.

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  4. Lovely descriptive story about the Turkish customs witht he extended family, but what a punch line, I think you will need the extended family if you are having kids so late in life. It makes me feel like a “Nanny nap” coming on!!!!

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  5. This was a joy to read. What a wonder, but that fertility thing; well this is where I think there is something to be said for polygamy. Men get all the fun of it while women get simply ruinit (Texas word) by overt fertility.

    I love your stories, you tell them so well.

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  6. Haha! Awesome! Lets here it for fertility!
    (I seem to have a lo of catching up to do… Hopefully now that I have some time off, I will do just that. Catch up on all my favorite blogs!)

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  7. I love the title of this post.

    Elderly ladies having babies is a little scary, but could be the way all of us are going if people keep putting off motherhood for years and years. My uncle has just become a dad for the first time at 47 and his partner (also in her 40s) wants to try for another one.

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