To say motherhood is a life changing even for any woman is an understatement. The arrival of a baby turns your life upside down, over and over again, like clothes in a tumble dryer. The sudden expectations, the ungainly physical changes, they all leave you in a mental state that is not very unlike someone’s who’s just out of a hurricane. It takes all your will, your strength and your belief in your sanity to pull through the initial years. And not to mention the most important, that cute smile of your newborn that assuages any pain, or hurt or guilt that may be ravaging you.
As the initial years start to move away from the window, and the train of life starts inching towards the future, clarity begins to set in, much like the bright sunny morning after the previous day’s rain. We begin to see everything using a new type of lenses – mommy lenses. Every single thing that is there to life – love, relationships, career, care, attention, and self-image – they all get viewed from the perspective of a care-giver to the newborn. And in that process, a lot of lessons are learned, about how life was, then and now, about relationships, about priorities, about changes.
When Sid came into my life, I experienced the hurricane described above, and how! And to think I did have help too. Someone to see me through the first year of motherhood. From the first day, till today, the process of learning has been a continuous one, and here I will share some of the lessons I have learned in the last four years.
Choosing You over Me
My mother holds a regular job. She started working right after my birth, and is just a few years away from her retirement. All through my schooling years, there had been numerous instances when I felt bad that she was not there to open the doors for us (my brother and me) when we came back from school, that she could not spend our holidays with us and had to leave us alone at home and go to work. It was this hurt that led me to decide that I will not work after my son arrives. And I did not; still do not, in the traditional sense of the word. I work from home, and though he goes to the day care, I am ready to be at his side as soon as he needs me. I have chosen him over me. And in the past few days, I have realized that my mother did so too.
I chose my son over me by staying at home. She chose me over her by going to work to stabilize our family financially. Today, when Sid cries that he doesn’t want to go to school, or glows with glee when he is brought home early every now and then, I realize how my mother would have felt when she had to leave us alone and go. How her heart must have pounded imagining all the worst-case scenarios that could happen at home with us two kids running rampant all over the place.
Somewhere in between toiling so hard for our sons and making them grow into gentlemen, we become terribly possessive of them. We do not show this explicitly, but it tears our heart when they fly out of the nest, or when someone else becomes closer to them than us. Being the typical Indian women that we are, all our lives, we spend idolizing our children, and once they are on their own feet, we are unable to shift attention back to us from them. The years of focusing in their direction makes us completely forget that we have a separate identity too. No, I am not there yet, but I see mothers withering and yearning for their children all around me. I only hope, that I don’t do the same thing when my time comes, and am able to let go of Sid, when he is independent.
Love is a Thing After all
However, there’s another side to it. No matter how independent you are, you can never not be your mother’s child. In the deepest confines of your heart, you still crave for her tender words, her hands ruffling your hair, or to rest your head on her bosom. You know you love her, but that’s not enough. Love multiplies when shared, and to add my own twist to it, when expressed. There is no harm in expressing your love to her, by the way of talking to her once in a while, letting her hear your voice, finding joy in hearing hers. There are too many of us today who are so busy with our professions and careers that we simply “forgot to call you Amma.” You can never be too busy for your own mother. All it takes is to pick up a phone and talk.
No, this one’s nowhere as philosophical as the ones before. This one’s in fact a rude shock – the way a woman’s body changes after childbirth. I never liked parmal (or kovakkai in Tamil) before, but now, I am downright allergic to it! And I have never been allergic to anything all my life! Just one single parmal down my throat and you will find me clutching my stomach for the rest of the day. And the headaches, what to say of them. I never had headaches before marriage (and no hidden meaning intended here). But during my pregnancy and even now, four year after childbirth, headaches put me down like nothing else. They just don’t seem to go away unless I drive them out with a pill and a sleep.
As I said, I am just a 4 years old mother, and there is a lot of motherhood that I am yet to see. So, I am sure, there are going to be more lessons, truck loads of them, that will come flying at me suddenly and catch me unawares. Motherhood, for sure, has nothing comparable to it in the whole world.
About Yamini Vijendran
Yamini Vijendran (@saimini) is the author of ‘Full Circle’, a romance novella published by Indireads. A techie turned freelance writer, Yamini has been churning out content from her home in Pune for the past three years. Her short stories have been published in ‘Love Stories That Touched My Heart’, an Anthology published by Penguin India, New Asian Writing and Six Sentences, and her poems in The Indian Review, Contemporary Literary Review of India and ‘A World Rediscovered’ a poetry Anthology by Cyberwit Publications. Visit her at http://yaminivijendran.