I am not the kind of person who gets frazzled easily. I feel like I am a rock, it takes a helluva lot of beating to break me. I was always sure of what I wanted from life, being married and having two kids was almost priority number one and I stuck to it. The first time I got pregnant I was 26, young and excited. That pregnancy didn’t last beyond the 5th month for reasons I still cannot comprehend very well. Sometimes on days that are gloomy and depressing I wonder if I gave up too soon then. What if I was stronger and more assertive of what I wanted? What if I had it in me to research more and bombard the doctor with questions. But that’s a chapter that is done and I see no point in reliving that. I am strong in that sense. I don't remember ever weeping or mourning the loss, I knew it would again happen when it would happen. And it did.
I got pregnant again when I was 27 and the pregnancy itself was wonderful. I enjoyed it, basked in all the pampering and love being showered on me and took full advantage of my new elevated status – being pregnant. People around me were taking extra care given what had happened the first time around, this time I knew it would be fine. Up until the day my son was born I was in a good head-space. I had all through my pregnancy told myself that I would have a natural delivery and the first jolt came when at 4:30 p.m. the doctors at the clinic told me they would have to do a c-section. I immediately clamped up, I was angry at them and everything around me. This wasn't part of my plan. I was wheeled into the OT and could easily have resembled a grumpy bear at that moment. The anesthetist bore the brunt of some of my anger but I guess he sees people like me so often that it didn't seem to really effect him.
From being wheeled into the OT to the actual delivery, it took all of 25 minutes. The doctor held my son up for me to see and all I could ask her was, “Why does he look so white?” She laughed, I remember that laugh, and said they would clean him up and get him back soon. It wasn’t a love-at-first-sight kinda feeling for me. What I thought would come very naturally to me was rather difficult – embracing motherhood. The next two days were absolutely torturous to say the least. Every nurse in the maternity home took it upon themselves to walk into my room, move my sheets away from my body, expose my breast, to pull, yank, and pinch at my nipples; all in the name of helping me breastfeed my newborn. Whatever little self-respect I had went flying out of the window. Every time I started trying to breastfeed my eyes would wander to the room door that would open and close because some sister would be searching for the one sister who was helping me. It was pure torture.
Coming home after those few days was just blissful, but only up until that first night happened. It was raining cats and dogs and my child decided on exercising his vocal chords all night long. My mother and I spent every second that night wondering what had happened. I tried feeding, rocking him to sleep, singing to him, and pretty much everything I could possibly do given my state (post C-sec). Nothing worked. I have never in my life been happier to see the sun than I was that day. The days that followed weren’t particularly easy, but after a point I got used to the madness that we call – motherhood. The sleepless nights, the innumerable nappy changes, the yuck ‘pathyam’ food that was fed to me to ensure I would produce enough milk for the baby; all of it was just so much to take. And I was feeling all these million things despite being in my mother’s house with constant help and support from her and my octogenarian grandmother, who also was specially flown in to be with me and the baby.
I have spent many many waking hours, and there were many of those, wondering what I was going to do with this ‘bundle of joy’ once I was on my own in Gurgaon. Once my mother dropped me back there with my husband. I had no doubt of how wonderful a father he would be, my issue was with how I would turn out as a mother. All through my school and college years I was called the mother goose and somehow when the time to live it up arrived I was like a headless chicken.
Today, three years later I have embraced motherhood the second time around. If anything, I am a calmer, sorted, and surer mother this time around. Motherhood changes you like nothing else, and it can be stressful, maddening, and even extremely depressing and lonely at times, but you got to keep at it and trust me when I say you begin to find a method in all the madness.