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It had been almost two years now since my motherhood journey began. What a remarkable beginning to pregnancy it was, in the loo, alone of-course, at six in the morning, when the pregnancy kit showed-or-did-not-show and extra violet line. Only got darker the next day I tested it. I was pregnant.
So, this blog is a note to mothers, the mothers to be, and the women contemplating to be mothers. Sorry if I am disappointing my audience, but it is not about how glorious my pregnancy was, how emotional I got when my son was keeping me off sleep for days, and nights, and more days, and more nights, or how first diaper cleaning sessions felt like the purpose of life.
They did not feel great. They were hard. Sometimes frustrating. I missed the simplicity of my past. Where it was just me. I felt burden of another life, with which I had no clue of what to do. I felt abused. My body felt abused. I felt inadequate. I felt incapable. I felt that I had given up too much of myself for this.
I was confused if I had walked the right path in life.
After the initial euphoria of seeing my son subsided, this is all that I was left with. This was the ground zero of my motherhood experience.
Though on the net, life felt more difficult, there were some nice things about the baby being born. I found it good that after nine months, I could see my feet again. I could eat stuff without thinking twice about the harmful elements that may impact the growth of the baby in me. I went out often leaving the child at home with my parents. I found it good that literally, sometimes, I was alone.
But, all through, I felt guilty. I felt that I was not the right mom, or my son was unlucky to have me as his mother. Mothers are meant to be dutiful. They are meant to crave to give more to the baby. What was I doing? Actually reading a book in a coffee shop leaving my two month old baby at home? I could not come to terms with myself. I draped them into the blanket of post partum blues, and found some peace.
My son grew to be older.
And, there came a point when he started recognizing me as a person. He started interacting with me. Addressing me in whatever manner he could. He must have been seven months then. Life changed at that point.
The reason I write this is because I wish I had read something like this before I was a mother. I would have been less guilty. And I would have enjoyed that little time life gives you, when your child only depends but does not engage with you, to get back to terms with the change you have been subjected to.
Few lessons I have learnt in retrospection:
New borns are not cute. Toddlers are. New-borns demand support. Simple physical support. They want to be held in the right manner, fed in the right manner, cleaned up, and rocked to sleep in the right manner. They dont need a “mother”, they just need support. They find it hard to adjust to the new life outside the womb. They can find your parent, a nanny or any experienced hand more comforting. You can use that time to knit your life together. Because, things will never be the same after they ask for you. That is when they need their Mother!
Motherhood is like infinity. It can suck all of you into it. You have to define how much you want to give, and how much you want to keep for yourself. Because, if you give all of your life to being a mother, then you will start living the child’s life. There is a danger that you start seeing your success int he child’s, your expectation in the child’s, and then, what is the purpose of giving birth to another different life? I want to satisfy my desire for success, purpose, entitlement, and everything else, outside his life, and give him the larger chunk of the whole, which is being his mother. And thus, I made the choice to go work from when he was four months old.
Going back to work is not a moral question. You dont need to guilt trip for leaving the child on a good support system. I found it important to go back to work for a few reasons. I wanted my child to grow up with me, and not with what I make out of myself for him. I want him to grow up to see his mother who manages her life, and his, but not a mother who has given up her life for him. I dont want to throw that burden of mine on him. I want him to grow up to respect that I make decisions, I choose, I reject, I think, I work hard, I organize, I plan to make the best for him. I want him to see that I have chosen to walk a tougher path, and yet, have so much to give for him. I want him to empathize with me. I want him to empathize with the larger women audience he would deal with, and most importantly, the lady whose hand he will hold in wed-lock.
My son is now a year old. I find motherhood more interesting. I find my role more challenging to be his mother. I see he demands. He has preferences. I have to understand. I see the child in him. I find a better mother in me. I feel it fulfilling to make him laugh. Or teach him something new. I feel like getting him the best. I find purpose to my earning when I buy him something that brings a smile to his face. Motherhood is great, but it did not come to me on day zero. This is my story. It is starting now.