Vendula Pizingerová (Svobodová) is known to almost everyone in the republic. She is an active lady who has been helping oncological children for more than twenty years thanks to her Drop of Hope endowment fun, which she founded after the passing of her daughter Klárka. The ex-wife of composer Karel Svoboda has gone through a lot in her life, but she has never given up, she has risen from the bottom after every blow in her life and, with her head held high, has made the first steps towards a new tomorrow. She is currently enjoying her maternity leave with her new son Josífek. In the interview for LP-Life.com, she talked among other things also about motherhood and childbirth...
You have a baby at home. How old is he now?
Two months old.
So you're done with the puerperium.
I didn't even have any special hormonal fluctuations during the puerperium. I remember that my hormonal imbalance was far worse at twenty-three than it was now. I couldn't even close the lid of the pressure cooker, I just couldn't do it. I remember it to this day. The baby started crying, I couldn't close the pressure cooker, Beverly Hills 90210 was on TV, Andrea was giving birth to her illegitimate child there and it all seemed so sad to me that I started crying. I took a meat mallet and just hit the lid with it. Hormones sometimes evoke tears or anger, but this time around I actually enjoyed the puerperium, I spent it mostly brest-feeding. We were at home and at the cottage, it was nice. It's good that you don't even feel the pull to go anywhere during the coronavirus.
You got pregnant and gave birth at this terrible time. We're all aware of it around us, what was your experience of it? You had coronavirus and also you were pregnant.
I didn't know about it, I probably had it asymptomatic. I know I had a terrible headache for about a week, but I thought it was just a migraine. Maybe it was a covid symptom after all. Before the c-section, I had tests done because I thought it wasn't possible that I had been in contact with so many people who were positive and they had only found out a few days after seeing each other. I thought it was impossible not have caught it, and it did turn out I had high antibodies in my blood. So I had gone through it and thank God it had such a light course and didn't affect the baby or anything else. I also know of people around me, who had their parents in an induced sleep because of it. It affects everyone differently and it's not fun.
We don't know, but since we sleep together in one bedroom, he and Jakub could've also gone through it. They didn't get tested, so we don't know.
What about the Drop of Hope? How will your work in it look like now?
In the spring, as part of the first wave, we made the Wave of Hope fund, we raised ten million for respirators, hospital vetilators and the like. When we started preparing the Christmas concert, which took place on December 20th, we'd already decided in the summer that we should prepare for a coronavirus option. We approached a whole new team of people, they are young people who were behind the Golden Angels Awards. I really liked the broadcast and I think we offered the audience a completely different program. A lot of things were pre-recorded in the studio, and afterwards we broadcasted from the Prima TV studio. There was no audience, but the performers were live.
How much money did you raise?
Last year we'd raised a little over 22 million, this year we raised an incredible amount of 27,841,629 CZK. I'd hoped it would be more than last year, but I hadn't expected such a miracle, honestly not. I want to thank everyone very much. Not only the sponsors, but also all people who contribute in these difficult times.
Is it hard to find sponsors at this time?
We are looking for alternative options. It also happened that a sponsor left because they no longer had such income due to the coronavirus. Such a replacement option, a beautiful option, is for instance a carafe and a glass designed by Eva Jiřičná and the sets of it are being sold in the Billa stores now. The proceeds go to the Drop of Hope, so I'm curious how it will turn out and I hope that everything that was made will sell out.
If you're still planning things like these, it's probably not completely like a maternal leave for you.
It is a maternal leave. For instance, I'm not entitled to a maternity allowance.
Because I'm not a social case.
How is that decided?
Probably according to one's income. When I gave birth to Jakub, I really wasn't a social case, but I got a maternity allowance. And now that I'm almost a social case, they won't give me anything (laughs).
Did you find that out on the spot, or did you know it beforehand?
I didn't know, someone told me, probably Monika Absolonová. So that's why I only have a maternity leave.
I meant that you're not on a classic maternity leave.
So far I am, I'm staying at home for now. My friends babysat my little one and strolled with him around the square when I had to go to the beauty salon. That cost me a lot of nerves, because you have to walk to the square, it's over half an hour, moreover, you have to calculate the directions with the baby carriage, I forgot all of this already. But from January I plan to pay more attention to the Drop of Hope. But I think I have a good director there, who gives me all the final reports and that everything works well so far.
What about the grandma?
The grandma is very excited, it's the love of her life. I go for a visit with my baby carriage, the grandmother also babysits.
It was your third childbirth, how would you compare it in terms of age?
Good. I left the hospital after three days, it used to be a week after c-section. I started breast-feeding right away and was home in three days.
Weren't you scared?
I remember the first childbirth, how definite it felt, that you can't run away from it. That this is not an operation you can change your mind about. It's nothing that crazy, though. Of course, some people will look down on you if you give birth by c-section. I think Veronika Arichteva talked about this a lot, she went through all of it, the birth pains and the c-section. In that case it's really painful, it's a big abdominal operation after all, it's no fun.
You look perfectly fine, like you just came from a jog.
I should start again soon. Two months after the operation, you can start exercising lightly, I should start doing something. So far, it looks more like everyone else around me is (laughs).
With your late pregnancy, you probably gave hope to many women.
It's true. A lot of women write to me on Instagram that they are over forty, that they still want a baby, and it gives them hope. It's nice. When I went to see a doctor, he also told me that my son means hope to some people. Which is very nice.
Are there also messages from people who had problems with it?
In the beginning, yes. Maybe they have a problem with that even now, they just don't say it anymore. It's a matter of opinion. One of their arguments was that something can happen and the child will be left alone, but it can happen even at the age of twenty, both young and old mothers can die. My pregnancy was absolutely chill, I didn't even have any leg swelling. The gynecologist told me I was The Makropulos Case. It was nothing short of a miracle.
What about Pepa? He must be happy.
He took care of him for the first time yesterday afternoon. I was here but he picked him up even when he started whining a little. Until now, he had always given him back to me when he started doing that. He always laughs at his dad so cutely, you know, we're all excited here. We had a surge of oxytocin when he was born.
How is Jakub managing?
He's doing well too, he bathes him with me, sometimes he babysits. We were recently in the garden in the sauna and he watched over the little one, tucked him in. Then he said he would no longer shout as he runs down the stairs so as not to wake him (laughs).
Jakub is fifteen, how does he manage the online school now?
He will be sixteen soon. He started school very well. I think he liked the first two weeks of distance learning, but now it's probably not that great.
What about girls?
Nothing yet, he just rides his bike with his friends.
Your husband Pepa is so... very active and not afraid of dangerous things. Aren't you afraid he'll rope even the little one into it?
That's already a given. He keeps going on about how they will go on hikes when he grows up and so on.
In my opinion, the older the mom, the more worried she is about the baby…
I was probably most scared when Jakub was born, because it was after Klára. I kept checking his temperature like crazy and stuff. But not anymore.
How old would she have been now?
You've been through so much in your life…
Countless lives. You can't be afraid.
Do you have a girlfriend with a baby here?
I do, she had a baby recently, we will stroll around together. She has a baby girl, she was born prematurely. I'm looking forward to strolling around together.
What will your traveling look like now?
We bought an expedition car with a tent on the roof. My husband told Josífek that he bought it because he needs to ride with us. That he doesn't want to fly a plane because the kids scream in it, he doesn't like it himself and doesn't want to put others through it either. We will travel this way instead. But we don't know how it all will be now. Whether vaccination will be mandatory or not, because a lot of people don't want to get vaccinated. I don't know, I think it's a little against civil rights to ban you from traveling when you're not vaccinated. It's strange. I don't know what will be the requirements in other countries.
Where would you go if you could? To Romania?
My husband would like to go to Romania, of course I said I wanted to go to France.
Would Jakub go with you?
I don't think he'll be very interested in coming with us anymore, he's sixteen. But we'd all fit in that tent.
How did you celebrate Christmas?
The whole family was together. Pepa still has his grandparents, so little Josífek has a great-grandmother and great-grandfather. Every year, if we're in the country, we all gather.
So that means you cook, you bake…
We always compared potato salads. Several of them are made and then we compare what ingredients we put into them.
How many of you were there?
There are always nine of us here. This year it was ten. We also have two dogs.
So it's noisy! But I'm used to it, to when it comes to you, you probably can't do it any other way.
Yeah, it wouldn't be me if there was no racket, but all of us are always really looking forward to it. It's a beautiful time spent together.