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As I began to write my story of motherhood, I thought I shouldn’t write it because I didn’t have those happy moments with my baby like most of the mothers had - baby’s milestones, how baby made parents’ life joyful, his/her first word, first step, the two beauty teeth, the giggle, the sparkling eyes, the all naughty stuffs he/she does etc. I wish if I could also write about those beautiful and cherishing moments about my baby but for me definition of motherhood has become entirely different.
When my elder son was 1 & half years old, I was pregnant with the second baby. Even though it was unexpected one but I knew this time it will be a baby girl. I always dreamt of having a girl child. I admired little girls with their mommies. Little frocks, shoes and dolls in the shopping malls fascinated me. My pregnancy glow indicated it was a baby girl. During my pregnancy I put baby girl’s pictures on Almirah and walls. And finally she came. Everyone was so happy on her arrival. She was a first girl child in both families. I forgot all my pain as soon as Doctor told me that it’s a Girl. My Jennie was a beautiful baby with big eyes and silky hair. Laying on the delivery room, I began dreaming of having little frocks, little booties, clips, bangles, anklets, ear rings and hair bows for her. I even thought of her hair style when she grows up!
But everything is not going to be perfect according to the plans we make or dreams we dream the day our little ones are born. As months passed by, everyone began to ask about her milestones. Being new parents we didn’t know that she isn’t developing normally. She didn’t have head control even after 5 months of age. She didn’t track objects or look at our faces. We were worried about her. Meanwhile she began having seizure attacks which lasted for almost 2 hours in a row. She began to lose her weight as she was vomiting during seizures. She got seriously sick for months and was diagnosed with rare kind of neurological disorder called “West Syndrome”. It is a severe childhood epilepsy which occurs in 1 out of 4000 children. Most children with West Syndrome are developmentally delayed. There are possibilities of mental retardation. No accurate prognosis can be done about it. I couldn’t help but cry for my baby. There was a long way to go for us battling through every challenge. Life was going to shift from Normal to Different.
Few months later, we came to know that our elder one has ADHD. His diagnosis brought another storm into our life. Life was going to get even harder now. Mostly I had to look after both kids when my husband went for work. I spent many days crying and worrying about them. I was depressed and frustrated many times. On one side I had my elder one showing his extreme tantrums and hyperactivity and on other side I had my baby girl crying with seizures. I had challenges putting them to sleep, to bathe to feed. My daughter cried for hours when she had seizures so I had to hold her in my arms until she was quiet and sleepy. My elder one was mostly fed on junk food and toddler videos as I was not able to pay attention to him. My house looked like cyclone affected as I had no time cleaning it up. We didn’t have sleep at night because it was hard to put my daughter to sleep. We had dreaded days managing both kids. We longed to have a normal and easy life.
As time passed by we learned different ways to attend both children’s needs. We began to find better alternatives. We tried giving more attention to our elder one as he was completely neglected by us in the past days. He began to go school and began to show some improvement. Meanwhile my daughter’s seizures got controlled which helped her to have some relief. She is still developmentally delayed and needs lot of care and attention. But we are hopeful for a better outcome in her case too.
My life has changed entirely as a mother. I don’t think about myself anymore. My needs, comfort and wishes come secondary. My kids are always on my mind. I was a person who loved doing work slowly but now I shift in 5th gear to finish off my household work, cooking, bathing, and other daily chores after putting kids to sleep. It’s too challenging sometimes to put one to sleep while one is awake. Especially my daughter isn’t able to sleep for long and she cries when left alone. Many times I skip having food and survive only on snacks because I don’t get enough time to cook when I am alone. I have withdrawn from social life, weddings, birthday parties, family gatherings and other social events as I want my kids and me to be comfortable outside but mostly we aren’t. I hardly get time for myself, my hobbies, interests and entertainment. I rarely give them priority as I think I am first needed for my kids to spend time with them and care them well.
Life has become like a roller coaster ride. It’s tough with day to day challenges but I have also learnt some incredible lessons which I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. My baby helped me have more dependence on God for my strength in the tough times. She helped me realize that faith is an everyday activity whether we are in the darkness or in the sunshine. She made many hands lifted up for prayers. She made me genuinely feel the pain of other mothers who are in the similar situation. She helped me realize that I am stronger than I ever thought. She taught me patience and sacrificial love. She taught me to count and enjoy every simple and little things of life such as her once in a while smiling face, a little fun time spent with the elder one, a five minutes break to make tea and have it ‘’hot’’, ten minutes’ walk outside in the sunshine, a short drive to the nearby town to have a cone of ice-cream, and a long drive to the beach to have some bonding time with family.
Even though we have challenging days, sleepless nights and emotional turmoil’s time to time, her innocent face melts our hearts and makes us love her more and more. Children are gifts from God and we are to love them unconditionally. My motherhood is teaching me to be patient, to love sacrificially, to find joy in simple things, to be hopeful in every situation and never give up, no matter what challenge life throws my way. After all it’s all about our choice. If we decide we can even turn our heartache into an encouragement for someone!
# Having baby changes everything #