(18) The birth and untimely death of Sonya, the long-awaited first child of Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky - Heaven and Hell in Geneva

Dostoevsky and His Wife's Fateful Journey: Travels in Western Europe of Madness and Love

(18) The birth and untimely death of Sonya, the long-awaited first child of Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky - Heaven and Hell in Geneva

In this article, we will discuss the biggest event of their stay in Geneva, the birth of Sonya and her untimely death. For Dostoevsky and his wife, the greatest joy and the worst sorrow came almost simultaneously. Let's take a look at how it all happened. We are sure that you will be surprised to see how much Dostoevsky loved his beloved child.

Dostoevsky cares for his wife Anna who is about to give birth

As the days went by, one more concern grew. We worried about the big event in our lives that we had been looking forward to, whether or not the first birth would go without a hitch. All of our thoughts and dreams were focused on this upcoming event, and we were already thinking tenderly about the child that would soon be born. We discussed naming the baby Sophiya if it was a girl (my husband wanted Anna, but I didn't agree). I wanted to honor my husband's favorite niece, Sofiya Ivanova, and to commemorate the "Sonechka Marmeladova" of "Crime and Punishment," for whom I had felt so much sympathy for her unfortunate fate. If it was a boy, I decided to name him Mikhail, after my husband's beloved brother.

I am grateful to my husband for taking such good care of me, and for his constant advice to refrain from any sudden physical exertion that might touch my body, which I was not aware of because it was my first experience. No kind mother could have taken as much care of me as he did.

After arriving in Geneva, as soon as he received his first remittance, my husband recommended that I see a first-class obstetrician/gynecologist and asked him to introduce me to a midwife who would visit me once a week to take care of me. A month before the birth, I had a chance to see how attentive my husband was to me, and I was very moved. One day, Mrs. Barrow (the midwife) came to me and asked me if I knew anyone who lived in the same town as her and if I had seen your husband around. I thought it was strange, but I was sure I had mistaken her for someone else. When I asked her husband about it, he pretended not to know at first, but then I found out that it was her husband. Mrs. Barrault lived on one of the streets leading uptown from Bath Street, the commercial center of Geneva. The streets were all steep, with no horse-drawn carriages passing through, and in addition, they were confusing because of their similarities. So my husband decided to take a walk up here, thinking that he would not be recognized at night if he went to call on her suddenly. He had been doing this for the past three months, but with his asthma on the verge of kicking in, it must have been no easy task for him to climb the steep hill. However, no matter how much I asked him, he would not stop walking. It came in handy when it was time for her to be born, and he was so proud of himself when he arrived home early in the morning and brought her to me.

My husband, out of concern for me and to please me, asked my mother to come and stay with us for about three months. My mother was very sad and worried about my absence and wanted to come right away, but I told her that I could not leave for a while to take care of the various troublesome household chores.

In mid-December 1867, in anticipation of the birth of her child, she rented a new house just a few blocks away on Mont Blanc Street, which was also home to the Church of England. This time, he had two rooms, one of which was very spacious, with four windows and a view of the church. Although we preferred the new house, we missed the two elderly sisters who had been the landlords of the old one. The owner of this house often left the house with a maid. The maid was a local German-Swiss woman who could not speak French well enough to be of any help. So my husband hired an attendant to take care of the children and look after them while I slept.

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p186-187
The house where Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky were living at the time of Mrs. Anna's birth

Dostoevsky cares for his wife Anna who is about to give birth. The episode in which he walked to Mrs. Barrow's house every day to remember where she lived is also very funny.

Finally, in February 1868. The day of the birth finally arrived. The delivery was recorded in detail in "Recollections" by Anna. It is a bit lengthy, but since we have gone to the trouble of going through it, let's look at it all.

The long-awaited birth of Sonya, his first child. Dostoevsky's fumbling and overjoyed in "Evil Spirits"

In addition to working on my novels without a break, I had a number of other things on my mind, and before I knew it, winter had come and gone, and in February of 1868, it was time to give birth, something I had been looking forward to, or rather, worrying about.

At the beginning of the year, the weather in Geneva was beautiful, but in mid-February, it suddenly changed and the wind began to blow violently every day. The sudden change in weather, as usual, had a bad effect on my husband's nerves, and he had two epileptic seizures in a short period of time. The second one, in the middle of the night on February 20, was so severe that he was completely out of it and could hardly stand up when he woke up in the morning. That day, my husband was very weak and foggy, so I encouraged him to go to sleep as soon as possible, and he fell asleep at seven o'clock. Within an hour, the contractions began. At first they were not so severe, but each hour they grew more intense. The pain was unique, and I knew that the birth was near. After about three hours of patient endurance, I finally felt uneasy about being alone, and although I felt sorry to worry my sick husband, I had no choice but to wake him up. My husband immediately lifted his head from the pillow.

What's wrong, Arnetica?"

It's starting, and it's very painful.

Poor Anya," my husband said very gently, and then suddenly put his head back on the pillow and fell fast asleep. I was touched by his gentle tone, but at the same time I felt alone. In this condition, I knew I would never be able to go to the midwife. On the contrary, I needed a good night's sleep to restore my weakened nerves, or I might have another attack. As usual, the family was away (everyone went out in the morning and spent every night at a gathering somewhere), and the maid could not be counted on. Fortunately, the pain had subsided, and he decided to endure it as long as he could. But what a horrible feeling it was to spend the night. The trees around the church were rustling wildly, the wind and rain were pounding on the windows, and the outside was shrouded in blackness. To be honest, at that time I was devastated, feeling completely alone and helpless. How painful it must have been to have no close relatives by my side and no help from my only protector, my husband, at a time when I had to live through such a difficult time. She began to pray to God, but only prayer could give her strength, which she was about to lose.

As dawn broke, the pain increased, and around 7:00 a.m. I finally decided to ask my husband to wake up. When he awoke, he had regained much of his strength. He was horrified to learn that he had suffered all night and blamed her for not waking him earlier. When she finally showed up at the doorbell, the maid did not wake her, saying that her hostess had just returned from a visit. Fyodor Mikhailovich threatened to ring the doorbell forever, and if that didn't work, he would knock on the glass. It was an hour later that I finally woke Mrs. Mikhailovich up and came back with her. She told me that the baby would be born in seven or eight hours at the earliest, and that she would be here by then. My husband went out to call an attendant. Thus, my husband and I waited with great fear and melancholy for what was to come. But when Mrs. Barrow did not arrive at the appointed time, we had to pick her up again. But she had been invited to dinner at a friend's house somewhere near the station and was not home. My husband asked her to go up there and come and see the baby. She told me that the delivery was slow and would take until midnight. She gave me a few reminders and went back to eating. Seeing her continued suffering, my husband became very worried, and around nine o'clock he lost patience and rushed to the house of a friend of Mrs. Barrow's. She was sitting across the table from Mrs. Rotterdam, who was a friend of Mrs. Barrow's. She was a very nice woman. While she was playing rototomy around the table, her husband told her that the pain was so severe that if she would not stay with him, he would ask the doctor for another midwife who would do her duty more properly. This remark worked, and Mrs. Barrow reluctantly left the table she was so engrossed in. She took great offense at me and said repeatedly, in an exaggerated manner, "Oh my God, these Russians! "My God, these Russians, these Russians!"

My husband had to prepare a lively dinner, buying all sorts of treats, sweets, and wine to keep her in a good mood. I was so happy to see my husband calling for the midwife, running around the store, preparing dinner, and forgetting about me, if only for a moment. The labor pains were painful, but it was even more unbearable to see my husband, who had just come down with a seizure, affected by my suffering. I was horrified to see the look of anguish and despair on his face, as if he had just cried out from time to time, and I feared that I was on the brink of death. When I think back on my thoughts and feelings at the time, I realize that I did not feel as sorry for myself as I did for my poor husband. I knew that if I died, my husband would be ruined as well. It was then that I realized how much hope and expectation he had placed on me and our unborn child. If this hope were to be abruptly cut off, his fierce and relentless nature was sure to bring ruin. At last Mrs. Barrow, thinking that I might be too anxious and excited about my husband and delay the delivery, told him not to come into the room any longer, for the condition of the woman in childbirth would be disturbed by what you had taken. He kept his word, but I was even more worried than before, and in the moments when the pain had subsided, I asked the midwife and attendants how my husband was doing. Each time, I was told that he was on his knees praying or deep in thought with his hands covering his face. The pain grew worse with time. Sometimes I would lose consciousness and suddenly find myself staring into the dark eyes of an unfamiliar midwife who was staring at me in horror, unable to understand where I was or what was happening. Finally, at around 5:00 in the morning on February 22 (Russian calendar), the pain stopped and Sonya was born. My husband later told me that he had prayed for me. I was praying for her, and suddenly, between my moans, I heard a strange cry. It was the voice of a child. I couldn't believe my ears, but the baby's cries kept repeating, and I knew that a child had finally been born. She was so happy that she got up, ran to the latch door, and pushed it open with all her might. My husband knelt by the bed and began kissing my hand. I couldn't believe how happy I was that the pain was gone. We were both so moved that for five to ten minutes we did not even know if it was a boy or a girl. Then I overheard a woman who was there asking, "You're a boy, aren't you? You are a boy, aren't you? The other woman answered, "Yes, I am. The other woman replied, "It's a little girl, isn't it? It's a little girl, a lovely little girl! But we were both men. But we were both happy, man or woman. We were happy to think that our dreams had come true, that a new life had been born to us, our first child.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Barrow wrapped the baby in her nightgown and held her like a big white wrap while she congratulated us. Her husband graciously crossed Sonya, kissed her wrinkled little face, and said, "Anya, look at this sweet little baby. Look at her, Anya," he said, "what a sweet little girl. I too cut my cross and kissed the baby. My husband's face was so happy and full of emotion that I had never seen such a happy face before.

My husband was so happy that he held Mrs. Barrow in his arms and squeezed the hand of his attendant several times. The midwife told me that in all the years she had been doing this job, she had never seen a father so excited about his baby. she repeated. She sent her maid to the pharmacy to buy something and told her husband to stay with me so that I would not fall asleep.distance between outstretched thumb and middle finger (approx. 18 cm)The following is a list of the most common problems with the

*Fyodor Mikhailovich wrote variously about the feeling of his daughter's birth in the birth scene of Shartov's wife in "Evil Spirits".

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p187-192

When Anna's labor began, Dostoevsky was in a daze because he had just had an epileptic seizure. It is very typical of Dostoevsky to have this happen at a crucial moment.

I was also amazed at the mental strength of Anna's wife, who endured the situation in the face of isolation.

andEvil Spirits."It is interesting to note that Shartov's thumping written in the book was not from a true story by Dostoevsky.

'My goodness, these Russians, these Russians!

It all comes down to these words.

The author of the gruesome "Evil Spirits" and the profound "The Brothers Karamazov" also became like this before the birth of his wife. I am sure that the fathers of the world can relate to this. Mothers can also understand how their husbands calmly look at their husbands. Dostoevsky was a common man, or rather, a very slow and miserable man. I have a preference for this kind of pathetic Dostoevsky rather than the stern literary giant Dostoevsky. How about you?

Dostoevsky dotes on children

When the Waka family became more or less settled, we began a life that will always remain as one of my fondest memories. What made me happiest was that my husband showed me how to be a kind father. He would always be there to help me when I needed to give my daughter a hot bath, and he was always there for me. He would wrap her in blankets, fasten them with safety pins, and carry her to bed. Even when she was at her desk, if she heard her crying, she would leave her work and run to her. As soon as he woke up in the morning, or when he came home from work, the first thing he would ask was, "How is Sonya? How are you, Sonya? Did you sleep well? Did you drink enough milk? She would stay with Ved for hours, singing to him and talking to him. After three months, Sonechka said that she could understand him now, as she wrote in a letter to May 18, 1868, to Maiukov: "This little thing is not yet ready. This tiny, frail, helpless creature, only three months old, is now a human being with a personality of her own. She had already begun to recognize me, liked me, and laughed at me when I approached her. She loved to hear me sing in my strange voice. She did not cry nor did she balk when I gave her a roszuke. When I approached him, he would stop crying.

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p193-194

Dostoevsky's love for his children is well known. Dostoevsky continued to care for his children with what could be described as doting affection.

Dostoevsky's love for his wife Anna grew even greater, and he began to live the happy family life he had dreamed of.

But those happy days did not last long...

The sudden death of his beloved daughter... Dostoevsky sinks into despair.

However, it wasn't long before I was able to enjoy a life of unencumbered happiness. The first two or three days of May were beautiful. The doctor insisted, so we took the baby for a daily walk in the English garden, where he slept for two or three hours in the baby carriage. One day, unluckily, during our walk, the weather suddenly changed and the beads began to blow. The baby seemed to catch a cold, and that night he developed a high fever and began coughing. We immediately took him to the best pediatrician, who assured us that there was nothing to worry about, as he made house calls every day. He assured us that there was nothing to worry about. He even told us that he was feeling much better only three hours before he breathed his last. Even so, my husband was unable to work and remained by the baby's side. Both of us were plagued by a terrible anxiety, but our dark premonition proved to be true. At noon on May 12 (Russian calendar), our precious Sonya breathed her last. I cannot begin to describe the despair we felt when we saw our sweet daughter lying motionless. I was devastated and grieving over her death, but I was even more concerned about my unhappy husband. His despair was so intense that he would stand there in front of his sweet, cold daughter, kissing her pale little face and hands, crying and sobbing like a woman. Never before or since had we seen such desperate lamentation. We felt as if we would never be able to bear this sorrow. For two days, we did not leave each other even for a moment. We had to go to various government offices to obtain a burial permit, to prepare the necessary items for the burial, to dress her in white satin, and to set her on a small sheep covered with the same white cloth. Her husband's face was hideous to look at, and during the week Sonya had been ill, his cheeks had fallen completely off and he had become emaciated. On the third day, they held the funeral of this treasured child in the Russian church and laid him to rest in the allotted plot in the Plan Palais cemetery. A few days later, cypresses were planted around the grave and a white marble cross was placed in the center. Every day, we visited the grave, placed flowers, and shed tears. It was too painful for us to say goodbye to our precious baby, whom we had loved so passionately and on whom we had put our unlimited dreams and hopes!

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p194-195

Three months after his birth. The happy days came to an abrupt end.

The shock of losing his beloved daughter left Dostoevsky deeply traumatized. However, it is also true that the death of his beloved daughter brought about an even stronger bond with his wife Anna, and became a major source of inspiration for his writing career. We will talk about this later. For now, let us leave them alone in their despair.

The following article will introduce the city of Geneva, where the couple tasted heaven and hell. We would like to retrace the steps taken by Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky in this city.

be unbroken

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Click here for a list of Dostoevsky's recommended books.

List of recommended Dostoevsky biographies."
List of recommended Dostoevsky commentaries.
A list of recommended commentaries on "Dostoevsky and Christianity."

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