The true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul said Audrey Hepburn. However, as you approach the final trimester of the pregnancy, vanity feeds on you. You can be grateful to the wonder of changing hormonal compositions inside your body for the same. A woman by the last trimester cannot ignore her lush and silky manes (in my case the curls were bouncier than ever). The shiny nails without the compulsion of a pedicure were beaming in my eyes. We all have heard about a new bride complimented for her wedding glow (sometimes through the layers of makeup and sometimes otherwise also), but the term ‘pregnancy glow’ in my case was without any artificial layering; it was natural. This glow gives way for the prediction of the gender of the unborn child.
According to the old wives’ tales, if a woman appears dull during her pregnancy then she will deliver a girl child and a boy otherwise. If a lady has badly swollen feet then it will be a boy. If the pregnant belly protrudes outward then it is a boy, if the heartbeat of the unborn is less than 160 it is a sign of a girl to be. Another very popular technique of unprofessional sex determination is ‘the Chinese Calendar’ which asked for the date or month you planned the baby (Isn’t that too much detail to remember?). As far as the success rate goes, for us none was good enough.
Personally speaking, guessing the gender of the child gives members of the family an undefined thrill (thanks to the videos on social media, where kids and families in USA burst balloons and watch for the color that smears in the air. A blue means boy and pink otherwise. So fascinating!). I believe with the first child, the experiences around its birth are so unique that sometimes even if you tend to favor the arrival of a specific gender then nobody should judge you (sadly for our Indian culture, a girl child is still seen as the second choice!). However, it remained a mystery to us until the day the baby was delivered and so we were prepared with both the names.
Meanwhile, during my 7th month I did not appear very heavy because it was the first pregnancy and according to the doctor, the bump would begin to show now onwards An interesting thing happened while I was taking lecture in a class, busy with the students, I felt a sudden kick in my belly (a profound one, prior to this the kicks were feeble) this one was magical. When you start feeling the movement of the baby, it makes you realize the wonder of womanhood, you feel so blessed for being able to experience the presence of your own child so intimate and how it is a part of your own mind, body and soul for real. (Also the creepy idea that crossed my mind was that there is a human inside another human)
As the days progressed I started to feel the discomfort in sleeping, the backache began to take a toll on me and this is when we decided to hire a driver to take me to the college because driving wasn’t a safe idea (Pampering to another level). At the food front, the cravings for gol gappas and chaat were fulfilled on weekly outings. On our mall visits, my husband and I, greedily eyed the baby clothes sections but did not buy anything before the baby arrived as per the instructions from the parents. The maternity wear shopping went from L to XL and in some brands XXL. The social media was replete with maternity photo shoot pictures but we both decided against it because we were influenced by the superstition clause of our parents (but I did not miss taking personal pictures that would make for my happy memories).
One following night, I woke up to a disturbed dream. It was probably the acidity in the stomach and the aches of the body which were playing in my head. My husband and I decided to call our in-laws a month in advance to avoid the last minute rush. Even though I was mostly comfortable being myself alone in my own house but this time I did not mind (pregnancy and anxiety become detachable as the D Day approaches).
On 15th November 2018 after attending my last Diwali celebrations in the Institute and after making the necessary hand overs I put down my papers. It was an emotional moment for me .A place I had worked for so many years, a place which made me believe in my passion for teaching. The warmth of my students who I had seen growing from the first year to the fourth. The unmatched thrill of delivering a new lesson to the satisfaction felt on ending a successful session, were some heartfelt emotions on my last day at work.
It is said if you follow something for straight 21 days, it becomes a habit. Well, waking up for work every day had become my routine then. The initial days of the maternity leave before the baby arrived were physically comforting but mentally frustrating. To take my mind away from the monotony, I decided to arrange my cupboards, a phenomena known as nesting syndrome. I tidied up my room to the best of my cleaning skills (just like Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S would have done!)
There are extreme ways in which pregnancy progresses. In the initial months, the news is strictly a secret and in the later part a grand celebration is scheduled. This is the event known as the baby shower. My baby shower was a small family function but it was all bright and glittery with loads of gifts for the unborn. The husband and I were asked to go shopping and buy for me the best traditional wear. So on one of those regular mornings, I dressed up almost like a bride and my husband who had to follow no groom kind of dressing still managed to fit in the pictures perfectly (check last image for reference). My mother believed I was well complimented by the natural glow (mothers I tell ya!).The ceremony was simple, I was made to spread my daaman (the cloth area of the upper wear which covers the legs) and both my husband I received gifts for the baby.
The cultural fabric of our country is so deep rooted that celebrations of love and life make way for umpteen memories. Hence, there is no doubt that we have pictures of every occasion stored safely. In the long run, it is these memories that help us stay connected to our roots firmly.