Well, it won’t be Madame Bovary, that’s for sure! All I can say, is “poor, poor child.”
Emma conceives while in the middle of a bout of depression, and is more concerned about the welfare of her dog than her soon-to-be-born baby.
She “hires out” all the baby sewing and knitting, because she really could care less.
She really wants the baby to be a boy, so that she can have “revenge for her impotences of the past.” (Part II, Chapter 3) Of course, it turns out to be a girl. So much for revenge.
The naming is a fiasco. First she wants one with an Italian ending. She refuses Charles’ idea to name the baby after her mother. Her mother-in-law rejects Madeline, which I think is the nicest of all the suggestions personally. Finally they settle on Berthe. Berthe?! Poor child.
The child is baptized with champagne by a drunken grandfather. Bad omen, I’m sure.
Then, Emma sends her daughter away to live with a nurse for however long it takes until she is weaned. I think she visits once.
When the baby finally returns to her rightful home, a servant takes care of her most of the time, leaving Emma free for other “pursuits.” The one incident recorded of mother/daughter interactions involves Emma pushing Berthe, causing her to fall and cut herself. Emma blames this on her daughter’s clumsiness, and somehow assuages her guilt by convincing herself that motherhood is just so difficult. Sure, Emma. You’ve obviously worked so hard at this vocation.
Mother of the Year? Sorry, Emma. Maybe next year? (Somehow, I doubt it.)
P.S. Our last novel was “smothered with mothers,” most of them wonderful examples to follow, but boy, this book is about as opposite as you can get in that respect!