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A working woman starts facing the music as soon as she becomes a mother. Riding on the roller-coaster of home & work, I feel somewhere along the way she forgets the true essence of life. I am a gynecologist by profession. The word in itself is enough to gauge the kind of pressure I handle at my workplace. When my daughter was born, I was working in a tertiary care government hospital. Initial six months went well with maternity leave, enjoying the joy of motherhood. When I joined back my profession, we managed home & work with a care taker around. Although I won’t exactly call that time easy, but because of my hubby’s cooperation, everything went on smoothly.
But soon my beautiful life turned into a nightmare. My husband went for his civil services training & I was left behind with my one-year-old daughter managing everything, virtually as a single parent. With little physical family support around as my both sided parents were working, I decided to continue my job with a round the clock maid at home. It seemed a good option with apparently no problem. But soon I realized I was doing perhaps the biggest crime as a mother.
Being a gynecologist, my normal working hours were around twelve, though the duration of working hours exceeded this quite frequently. I used to leave the house with my daughter sleeping & during noon when I entered the house just to have a glimpse of her, she would have already slept after waiting for me. I used to leave the house in a state of despair. In the evenings when I used to reach back, she was with the maid playing in the garden but I always saw a kind of restlessness on her face & blankness in eyes. My friends always told me that she always kept mum, never mixed up with other kids and never gave even a smile. I kept ignoring these signs thinking she is too young to understand my presence, rather absence around.
Whenever I was back home, her behavior altogether changed. She talked to me, played with me, went for outings and I used to think that giving her this much time, I had compensated my absence adequately. But only time was to tell how wrong I was. In a few days only, things started turning alarming. I saw conspicuous behavioral changes in her. In the evenings instead of going for play, I always found her standing on my flat’s door staring towards the stairs. At occasions, she didn’t even talk to me after my arrival at home. She was exhibiting obvious social withdrawal. At night time she used to cling to my arm, fearing of losing me. Even my visit to washroom in night used to induce vomiting in her out of anxiety of separation. I can never forget the night I made one of my presentations, with one hand with my daughter clinging on to other. This whole thing went on for a good three months.
Gradually over-tiredness & her behavioral changes started affecting me at workplace too. I was not able to concentrate on my work. Almost every other night I cried & asked the same question over and over again ‘was I doing justice to my little girl’. Why was I ignoring the fact that her behavior was reaching on the brink of dangerous psychological changes? It was a classic case of pigeon closing its eyes after seeing the cat.
Then one fine day I stood in front of mirror & asked myself what will happen if I don’t work for next 5 years? What worth is my education if I am a failure as a mother? Becoming a dedicated mommy perhaps might not affect my career that much as it can affect my little girl if I remain so dedicated to my profession. I never looked back after that day & I left for my home with my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
Making the switch from being from a busy doctor to a homemaker will not be easy. A lot of my friends warned me of this and I was also afraid. Perhaps this was the reason I was dragging my feet on this decision. But as soon as I let it go, time started flying by. The day now starts with cuddling my daughter in bed, seeing her bright smile, hear her chuckles; things to which I apparently had turned deaf and blind. We bask in the sun playing little games, running, falling, laughing, talking to trees, birds, sky & the list is endless. At end of the day, she sleeps in my arms listening to bed time stories with a calmness on her face & gratitude in her eyes as if saying thank you mamma for always being with me. One year has passed since the day I stood in front of that mirror and today she is a chirpy, happy going, bright girl who is fond of picnics, gardens & children of her age. My husband is back from his training & I can face him proudly that I took care of our daughter well.
Whenever I sit and think of that time, my heart fills up that I gave the toughest time to my little girl at such a tender age. In the rat race of career, we tend to forget the little but priceless joys of life. We forget that our kids need us most in the initial years of life as the psychology developed in their minds has a permanent effect on their personality. Those precious years will never come back to you and your children. So go out and enjoy them fully. Happy Mothering.