Monday, 29 July 2013

Becoming Saanvi's Mom or Something Like That...

Around the time I got pregnant, I started picturing the whole ballgame of being a mommy. I was prepared for it being "the big turning point" of my life and I was thrilled to bits wrapping my head around the idea of having a brand new person made out of, hopefully, the best of me and Sumit, who would wake each morning in my arms, give me a bright toothless smile, and fill our days with happy baby cackles ( and maybe the occasional wails when he/she's hungry and/or sleepy). Everything about having a baby was a party to me. The tiny bow-tied onesies, bright baby boots, little ruffled skirts... (OK frankly I was already styling my baby). But not everything was hunky dory in my picture. I was also prepared for dealing with the much-hyped about poop fest and all the other dirty details that I don't need to get into.

But that's all I thought there's to it. And with that happy, deluded image of a mom, I embarked upon the very dramatic journey of motherhood laced with pregnancy hormones and growing a giant ass and belly. ( I had no idea that they intended to overstay their welcome at that time.) My pregnancy, thanks to the prayers of all those around me and the doting, selfless love and care of my in-laws, was almost ideal. There were no eerie complications, everything was right where it's supposed to be and the baby was all warm and snuggly inside.
Through the scan rituals (in which it looked awfully cute), the butterfly flutters in my tummy and the various intrusive examinations that followed, the baby and I were beginning to bond with each other, not in a gooey "Goo Goo Mommy - Koochy Koo Baby" sort of way, but just as a host-parasite, for lack of a better example :). I had heard of a lot of to-be mommies developing an instant bond with the baby, christening it with a fetal name, creating a CD mix for the baby to hear, getting him/her to appreciate the classics and a whole host of "Awwwy" things. I felt....nothing. I mean, past the initial "We're having a babyyyy!" hysteria, I went uncomfortably numb and didn't feel like I had anything inside me until the bump started showing and  then I got all jazzed about my body changes. The only form of connection I can brag about was an occasional glance at my belly in the mirror saying, "What's up baby? Looking good."

I'm not very proud of it. I wish I had done more for my baby girl as I hadn't anticipated loving her so intensely today. But then, how could I possibly love somebody that I hardly knew and hadn't even seen?

I'm not very attentive to details so if you ask me when the fated transition from feeling nothing for the baby to being so damn proud and madly in love with my girl that I can't stop daftly admiring everything she does happen, I won't be able to tell you. All I can say is for the first time when I held her in my arms, I felt something change and I was aware of a truly miraculous, life-altering feat take place.

Of course, for the time to follow,  I would alternate between:
1. Internally whining about not getting enough sleep, gritting my teeth when roused by a screeching wail after I'd put her down to sleep just moments ago, missing my old reckless self, loathing my post-baby body, screaming to myself, "Why is time moving so f***ing slow!"...
2. Being in awe of her dazzling eyes, silken hair and tiny hands and her rare smile that made my heart melt, being so grateful to God for having blessed us with such a dear angel, feeling consumed with pride and joy, and also feeling sorry for how she was utterly helpless and so tiny...

And this irrational, dopey state, which lasted a couple of months, was a year and a month ago. What's changed? That window of exhaustion from sleepless nights and erratic baby and mommy mood swings is now relatively closed. (Knock on wood!) I have a better idea of who she is and what she needs and she has her own perception of who Mommy is and who Daddy is and who all of her family is and man she's one girl who won't be taken for granted! Try ignoring her for a while and she'll do something so cute or scary that you'll be either clumsily darting across the hall to her rescue or laughing your head off.  Every day I see her and I can't help but ask questions like, "Will she be a singer? (cos she can damn well break into a soprano if we test her will in any way), Will she be a great dancer like her aunt or a lousy one like her Mom?, Will she be a  conventional "want all things pink and pretty" girly girl or a Daddy's hot-wheeling aspiring F1 race driver or maybe an interesting mix? From a blank slate in the womb, she is growing up beautifully into a little person with likes and interests and a will of her own and it's amazing to see how she tries to emulate the way I wear make-up or read the paper or to learn every little skill you teach her with an open, curious mind. (And then there are some things that she picks up on her own like trying to excavate my touchy nose and lifting my shirt and giggling away).

The idea of my tiny little baby turning into a real person asserting her own independence and will to me is absurd. And yet, I can already see it coming. I sometimes catch her standing by the window trying to communicate with the birds and waving to the world at large. And while I keep watching her, I notice she's completely oblivious of me, totally at peace with herself, in a magical world of her own. It's not probably such a big deal but I wonder is this where she starts exploring the world on her own? Will there be a point when she'll stop needing me to be there for her? Feeling relieved and a bit dejected, I go back to fixing a meal and doing the laundry and there she comes prowling like a cub, spotting me and throwing me that familiar, reassured smile that I am so smitten with.

I realize, this and many such encounters and questions is what makes motherhood so captivating.  You want to freeze them where they are and also want to jump ahead in time to see where they're headed. It is an everyday state of learning, joy, pride, confusion and terror. And I know that I may have given up a part of my old me and that I don't fit into my old pants and regretfully I may not be a sassy dresser any more( for the sheer lack of time and resources), I am still the old me.

And yet, I am much more. A lot of people who know me, especially my family will agree that whenever things have gotten tough, I've looked for a way out and thanks to my indomitable will to escape, I have successfully located diversions (Read back-up plans). As a result of which, my resume seems like a series of unfinished projects.

But here I find myself in, indisputably, the most challenging role of my life. And there are times when I feel I could use a girls night out or a calming, rejuvenating day at the spa but I'm determined to go on. Not because I feel responsible for bringing her up but because I want to be the one to spoil her and go overboard on her birthdays and encourage all her little endeavors and get ketchup out of her hair and wipe the kohl art off her face. It's like over time, we've morphed into one giant, some kinda cute and meaningful looking blob.  I absolutely can't do without my husband and little girl.

I think this feeling is universal for all moms. We crib and complain, we learn something new each day, we bribe and threaten our kids to get our coveted me-time,  or are haunted by memories of our old carefree self but we sure can't envision a world without the squalls and hysterical giggles of our little munchkin/s. Looks dreary to me...

#motherhood, #expectations, #baby girl, #growth


  1. This is by far the best and "so true" read for me..Kudos..

  2. I had a smile on my face the entire time that I read this post. There's a tiny moment that I remember from our last video chat. Saanvi was in your lap just before going to bed and there was a tiny moment where she looked up to you and both of you had your eyes locked. It was truly beautiful. You truly have changed. I guess you finally found a project that you love working on. :)

  3. Also I dont think this project will let you quit it. :P

  4. And I wanna know the "ketchup in hair" story and also which aunt of hers is a dancer. cant be Meeta ben for sure. :P

  5. Hahaha...True :). Well she normally ends up with ketchup in her hair if you let her eat independently :). And I was speaking of Ritu. Meeta ben and I can't dance to save our lives :P.

  6. So well written and feelings so nicely explained... good job!! A father carries similar feelings, which suddenly erupt the first time one meets your baby, its such a different feeling truly..and such a big change...

  7. Thanks Vicky bhaiya :). Yes I can only imagine how it must be for a dad. As someone said, it's like you're born again after a baby :).