Can women have it all?

Now that I’ve caught your attention with the cliché, let me admit that I don’t believe in this concept. The question is inherently loaded; burdened with a sort of societal expectation that pressures women to have some kind of all, at all times, and yet even before they can begin to answer, tells them that they have already failed. Tricky!!!

Let me tell you what I think. No one, absolutely no one, can have it “all”. Men can’t, women can’t. My belief solidified further when reading about the immense “sacrifices” on the family front made by James Anderson, the English cricketer who recently achieved the feat of 600 International test wickets.

Jacinda Arden with her baby

Jacinda Arden is now a well-known name all over the world. She was recently in news for being one of the few female leaders across the globe who have successfully made New Zealand corona free under her Prime ministerial-ship. Before this feat, she featured in the national daily a year ago. She was the first political executive to bring her three month old baby to the UN counsel meeting.  Holding the quote by Jim Rohn, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” true.

The timer for women to settle down starts ticking from very early on. I remember when I was growing up, perhaps around 12, I had an aunt who advised my mother to teach me how to cook. Of course my mother was in no hurry. The point is, girls are trained to take on responsibilities from an early age. She is expected to settle down soon after she finishes her education, which for most of us means 23 (the age of graduation) or latest 25 (if you go for post-graduation). While she does choose to get married, even before she is even done settling and exploring the new relationship, the new pressure adds on. Girls are told that now their biological clock is ticking fast and they better get to business. The idea of a fulfilling life is lost somewhere in these timeline validations.

During the pregnancy, I used the time to read as much as possible. I was excited and motivated to take on motherhood with rolled up sleeves. I had a mental road-map for my future. One such day I was discussing with one of my fellow colleagues who also happened to be a mother, about extending my maternity leave to spend more time with my baby. She was not very pleased to hear this. With the best of intentions, she told me that the longer I stayed back with the child, the stronger would be my attachment and that would hold me back from rejoining. Ever! The thought was terrifying.

Talking about attachment.Well!

The competitive and comparative scenario of today leaves us with little choice of our own. If a mother decides to be a ‘stay at home’ mom, she is constantly nudged by friends and family about this new ticking time bomb of the career “gap”. Personally also she is hounded with the thought of her education going waste. I heard about my friends going back to work within a year of delivering the baby. I respect this choice and honestly am also in awe of them. I am sure they had to have an extremely strong heart. But the society isn’t kind to these women either. Women who choose to join work right after are denounced as over ambitious, self-centered and selfish.

Can we please catch a break! Except for the mother, nobody should be allowed judge what the perfect time to go back to work is.

Just saying!

When I sat down to ponder over these two aspects, I wondered if it was really that difficult for women to have the best of both worlds. Maybe I wanted too much. I was stubborn enough to not want to give up my career. I also wanted to soak in full measure the experience of my child becoming a person. I wanted to be there for every bit – the first walk, the first words.

While my own mother told me that letting go of the career for now is a compromise I ought to make for happiness, I wasn’t very convinced. The definition of happiness is different for each one of us. I draw my inspiration from some very uplifting stories of women who have done it all. Our home grown champion, Mary Kom had twins and yet she returned to her game and won a gold at the world championship. Sania Mirza, my current role model, tags her son along to her practice sessions.

We as women have immense potential to push ourselves. We can love our babies, spend quality time with them and at the same time focus on our careers and future goals. It goes without saying that this will be possible only with the support of our families. The moments that we spend with our young babies today need to savored and cherished. As the famous spiritual guru, Sadhguru says, a child is a 15 year project, and if not loved and taken care of, it can continue for a lifetime.

Acknowledged

According to a survey conducted by FitSmallBusiness.com men might own more businesses, but female owned businesses create more revenues. The firms under women leadership generate more job opportunities. The rise of more women entrepreneurs around us might appear as a product of women’s growing passion for business, but in reality it is more need based. A self-owned firm gives women a sense of individuality and affirms their capacity to evolve naturally.

I did not have to look very far for success stories. A close friend started her own clothing venture soon after her kid turned 1.Today with two toddlers by her side, she is steadily steering and making name for herself. Our residential society inmates also support the businesses (small and big) owned and run by females. The ventures are varied, some are baking fresh cakes, while others are home chefs proving their culinary mettle through continental to Mughlai cuisines that are being delivered to door steps. Some others have started home tutoring and have students vouching for their mentor-ship. These are only a few examples. All these moms are doing well for themselves.

My go-to Supermoms

Motherhood has made me explore myself. When my daughter was almost four months old, I was offered to co-author a course book on a new technology, Blockchain. I grabbed the opportunity and plunged into it. The book is currently under publication and I am eagerly awaiting its release. Staying at home with my child, gave me a lot of time, which I used to pick up long lost areas of interest, such as writing. It was in this period that I decided to start documenting my journey through a blog. Hence CurlsSpeak was born! My friends are aware of my love for public speaking. Even during my days as a lecturer at the University, I was in-charge of various “professional communication” training programs for students.  I am again contributing in this area, by appearing for friends that are conducting webinars in their respective colleges. There is so much more that I am doing every day. I am discovering myself.

The blueprint of my book in publication

Motherhood pushes me to get out of the bed every morning, earlier than my girl, to take out time for myself. It has taught me to evolve and I look forward to present a correlation in my next series. I draw inspiration from Michelle Obama to continue the pursuit of my dreams. In her book “Becoming”, she says, “Motherhood became my motivator. It dictated my movements, my decisions, and the rhythm of every day“. It is doing the same to me.

Going back to where we started, the right question to ask women and men, then perhaps is, “Can we ever be content with our choices?” The answer to this question is very human and very personal. And to the question – Can women have it all, my answer is, why not! Just let me define my own “all”.

Stay tuned for the next blog 🙂

Parenting-Then and Now

It was a warm December afternoon with the sun glowing at its might. The Christmas program in our residential society was scheduled to begin in a while. I had given my month old daughter the mandatory shower, of course, with the mother in-law by my side. While the baby enjoyed a soothing post shower nap, my in-laws and I sat in the balcony waiting for the small function to begin. My in-laws had been with us for over a month by now, the awkwardness had lessened. I presume we were all secretly going through a “we are a family”phase. Thus began, the casual winter banter as we looked down upon at the little Santas and elves.

Kids mostly aged between two to five, all dressed up in red with Santa caps, danced and played around the finely decorated cotton covered plants casting an imperfectly adorable impression of a snowy Christmas. Mother in-law broke the ice and brought our attention to how most kids were accompanied by house helps. She continued to express her disappointment over this modern parenting hack of letting the kids grow with maids rather than the parents. This gave me food for thought on the different styles of parenting.

My supermom with me in her lap

While I was visiting my parents I decided to get hold of old albums to relive my childhood. My baby pictures where I was held by my mother who sat coyly with a child on a jhoola (swing) made me question the secret to her calm and composed persona. Dare I say, inspite of a child on her lap. My mother reminisced getting support from my dadi and phuppos (aunts) who were mostly around when I was born. The almost joint family set up gave her little time to be exclusively available for her first child. Her duties as a dulhan (daughter in-law) kept her on toes. Right from cooking to cleaning, she had to manage everything and also tend to her baby girl. My mom hardly remembered any postpartum blues. She does hold that she felt no regrets about prioritizing family over her kid. It was how she had grown up watching her mother and this was how she was going to go ahead.

Our conditioning, by the same women holding these opinions, was surprisingly different. When my husband and I decided to plan a baby, our concerns were more about – how to utilize the maternity leave, look for a good day care, assigning house chores to the maids. There were many more questions, the answers to which we are still figuring out. When we decide to get help, our aim is not to hand over our child completely to her, but to ease our life, so that we can continue focusing on other aspects of living as well. A house help in no way compensates for the mother or the father. Her role is restricted to being a mere supervisor who can look after the child. The love we have for child is no way lesser than the past generation but yes our love for our lifestyle is as important. In the long run, we do not wish to present a sacrificed version of ourselves to our babies but want to be their role models who are capable of managing it all, if only with some support.

My brother and his love for food and camera has not changed much since 1998

The current generation is more ambitious. Our parents made us so. They wanted to give the best to us. This for middle class families’ translated into making education the priority. No wonder my friends and I, are all well qualified and based in metro cities to fulfil our professional dreams. The stereotype of roti, kapda and makaan (bread, cloth and house) has extended to fancy mobiles and big cars. While to our parents we may appear more fizul kharchi (spend thrifts), our idea of living doesn’t just revolve around comfort, but values luxury too. Modern parenting is a possible fall out of this lifestyle change. We take our own sweet time to settle down and plan a family. The schools we plan to send our kids will also be better than ours and we hope they will give them more exposure than we got in the smaller cities we hail from.

When we were kids, our parents took us around on weekends to visit local zoos. The mention of Appu Ghar to any 90’s kid will give way to a nostalgic smile. As my in-laws put it, “We did not have malls and so for us, spending time amidst the nature, looking around at fluttering birds and colorful butterflies made for outings and happiness.” For us and our babies, the best forms of entertainment is a home theater. Mobile phones equipped with videos and games, and a personal room are basic tools necessary to raise children. And yet, taking a leaf from our in-laws healthy book, we make our best efforts to plan outings to city gardens and keep our little one close to nature.

My in-laws and the family posing with ease in front of the Taj Mahal

I remember when we were young, if parents had to go out somewhere, they would easily leave us behind with our neighbors. These people, not related to us, were like an extended family. Even though I have built a strong connection with my neighbors, I cannot imagine leaving my kids solely to their supervision. The challenges of modern parenting are different. A child cannot be left all by herself to play outside the house. As parents we acknowledge that their physical and mental safety is paramount. Daily headlines about unfortunate crimes against young children may have not increased over the years, but are highlighted more now. Possibly being noticed more by us now. We as parents are more cautious and aware.

Some days when I am not debating with parents over parenting styles, I think about my idea of parenting. During my pregnancy, the walks around the parks made me notice kids engaged in different activities. When I spoke to a mother of a five year old, I was told that Monday was assigned for one hour tennis coaching, Tuesdays for Zumba, Wednesday was a break, and on Thursdays she goes for gymnastic class. If this wasn’t enough, on Fridays she learnt taekwondo and on Saturday afternoons she went for skating sessions. I was a little taken aback and spoke to my brother about this. My brother’s opinion was that it was important to expose the kid to various extracurricular activities in their initial years. This would ensure that they grow up to realize their interests and can easily follow their ‘passion’. My counter argument was based on a podcast I heard the other day about letting the kids be on their own. The message there was that this “constant gaze” may manipulate creativity. I think there is merit in that. While we intend to expose our child to as much possible, bludgeoning her with all that is possible, may not be a good idea.

One of my cousins often walked in our house with a notebook and a pencil, drawing on it whenever she was by herself. To me, that is the idea of raising an independent kid rather than fixing their likes and dislikes by keeping them busy all the time.

Our parents will never leave us alone

A few days back I came across an article about how present day kids, despite access to every possible luxury, face mental stress. As a modern parent, we have to make our kids learn about healing the bruises on their knees but also help them build a strong mental character. Our biggest challenge will be to keep our kids grounded. We have to give our kids the purpose for living. All this and more while ensuring their innocence is intact.

My cute parents with me and my sister in 1995

I am not sure if any one parenting style is superior, but I have come to a conclusion based on a quote from the Quran, “to you be your way and to me be mine”.

Change is inevitable

This morning my day started with a chirpy conversation when I received a phone call from a very close friend who discovered that she had finally conceived after trying for a year. I could not miss the blended tone of enthusiasm and anxiety in her narration. We as women are designed by God to bond over personal stories. The ups and downs of life give us opportunities to talk and our lives revolve around unwinding through such conversations. As a gearing up new parent, my friend was clouded by a constant worry of her thin body structure. Her doctor prescribed her high calorie food. What worried her most was the constant attention of her family members who focused solely on her weight.

How I look v/s how they see me?

This brings me to write about how we (women) have been so easily body shamed. The struggle is not restricted to merely females, even males are considered a misfit if they don’t fall in the stereotype of tall, dark and handsome. I will however focus on the women and their body changes especially with reference to pregnancy. Post pregnancy a women’s body undergoes major physical changes. Biologically speaking, before the uterus starts to contract to its original size, a woman might appear bulky. Some women struggle with postpartum weight gain while some go through sudden weight loss. This change in appearance does not go down well with the people around. I vividly remember when my little girl was 5 months old, I attended a family wedding and most of the congratulatory messages were accompanied by the concern “oh take care of the weight, this is how it starts and one can never stop putting on”, “Ah! Caesarian, weight gain is showing beta”.  My friends and relatives poured in suggestions in an attempt to save me. I noticed how, the society has bias standards for women and her physical appearance, the same women who appeared graceful during the past nine months starts to appear like a cow.

However, thanks to the liberal times, postpartum body is no more for self-pity, posting images with stretch marks and heavy bottoms or sagging stomach is a pride for many females. These women are grateful and normalize post pregnancy bodies. A viral post by Sameera Reddy (Bollywood celebrity and a mother to two kids) talking about being body shamed after her first pregnancy is relatable to many of us. Personally for me, the stretch marks, the hair-fall and the weight gain were initial hiccups, now they make me feel like a warrior and I am proud to have these as victory marks of the special journey to motherhood.

Partying with the little one

Small changes in our lifestyle

My life after the arrival of our baby girl has gone under many changes. The first one was noticed by a friend who came to visit us and pointed how we replaced a small dustbin with a bigger one. Our sleep cycle on most days was fixed, with early to bed and early to rise strategy on weekdays and laze around weekends whereas now we are tamed by the routine of our little girl. Food time is strictly no TV time and we bond as a family over meals. As a mother I have become a pro at preparing snacks in minimum time with obvious inputs from Youtube and Instagram. Juggling between two different tasks while keeping an eye at the baby is another feat to boast about. The emotional quotient which in the initial months went topsy-turvy has gained balance and now I can make out when she cries for attention. As a mother I have realized the potential to endure. With each passing day I fall, and rise again and try to keep my sanity intact.

Celebrating the first birthday of our little girl

Self-care

A day in my life before the baby was as ordinary as it would be for most of us. My frivolous attitude towards food choices has changed ever since I started nursing my little girl. The onus of giving her nutrition has made me eliminate unhealthy options. There have been times when I have looked up at packaged food items and read labels to be sure of what I am passing. Raising a baby is not a fairytale, there are days when I felt low and on those days my baby and I have realized the importance of fresh air while strolling together in our residential campus. In the process of stepping out I always made extra efforts to look good because it in turn, makes me feel good. A dolled up baby and a happy mother have been my top priority. My baby has taught me the importance of self-care and self-love.

Photo courtesy:Instagram

Mandatory meet and greet sessions

Modern parenting comes with its own baggage of challenges. A typically working couple who generally looked forward to weekends to unwind make changes in their social circles. I remember how for me after coming back from work, me time was about taking a walk and speaking to my mother. With motherhood, I try to connect with young and like-minded moms, especially during our regular evening outings. As a new parent I make efforts to learn new activities that can enhance the developing brain of my little one. I challenge myself to learn and make the most of my presence for our child.

Parenting partners with individuality

Exploring the by-lanes of Kasoli

The other day I realized that my phone had just four pictures of my husband and me. Our little girl is obviously the center of our universe but along with her we aim to grow as a couple. Our role after her arrival is not by default that of a parent. We both aspire to keep pushing each other to evolve in our respective fields. His dream to ride a bike all the way to Leh Ladakh will also be a possibility and so will be mine to go trekking with my girl gang. We both believe all of this will be possible as long as we continue to communicate and support each other.

My advice to the friend I was talking on the phone that day will always be, to be ready for these changes, as they say in an Urdu couplet; “Ye ishq nhi asaan itna smjh lije, ik aag k dariya hai and dub kr jana hai” (This love is not easy. just consider it is a river of fire and we have to sink to go through it!)

Men and Fatherhood

A very popular commercial of the ICICI prudential caught my attention the other day. The tag line read “Jo zimmedariya nibhate hai, wo jatate nhi” (The ones who fulfill responsibilities do not make it obvious). Yet majority of the women have grievances against their better halves. I can validate this through a casual Instagram post made by Tahira Kashyap who is better known to us as Ayushman Khurana’s wife, even though the birthday post was laden with love, it still ended with a line “you are the best husband but you can still do better with you fatherly roles”. (Sigh! Even celebrity mommies have a tough time!)

There is no denying that the addition of a baby in the life of a couple is full of challenges especially in the initial months. Personally for us, as a new mother I was struggling to match up to the demands of the baby while giving my body the needed rest to heal while the husband was juggling between official deadlines and coming back to a hormonal wife and a cranky baby. I vividly remember the first afternoon once our parents had returned back. It was probably the longest day. My husband would text me at regular intervals to keep a check on both of us. Some of these texts were really sweet and encouraging to say the least.

My relieved sighs of “Thank God It is Friday” were real because on weekends my husband was a hands full father and tried to be around for the needs of the baby. We both would give the baby a nice warm shower and head out to the park with the pram for the needed dose of vitamin D in those warm winter afternoons. Our first successful trip to Taj Mahal was also planned on a weekend when our girl turned 2 months old and it was a break much needed for all three of us.

Innovating fatherhood

A few months ago, I visited a friend for a house party and I met another couple who were a new parent just like we were. Looking for a different perspective, I asked the husband specifically how his life had changed after the baby. He told me he missed sipping the bed tea with his wife, the late night pillow talks where they both conversed about the long day did not exist anymore, there was lack of impromptu date night plans and even if they managed to step out, the wife was filled with guilt for leaving the baby. He was right, the baby becomes the highest priority and takes up most of the time the couple once had to themselves. However, he learnt to be a small helper for his partner and learnt how to swaddle the baby and rock her for naps so that the wife could get some rest. He voluntarily decided to return earlier from work and share the work load because waking up in the night was not possible for him since he had to go back to the office next morning. (Parenting done right!)

Unfortunately most men with good intentions are stuck in the patriarchal rules set by the society. Most of our dads back in our younger years were seen as henpecked if they tried doing the things meant for our mothers. Fathers were supposed to take care of the financial fulfillment and the house chores were for the ladies. Has that mindset changed much? We maybe transitioning but a women’s role till date is regarded in highest esteem only as a nurturer. This brings me to an incident one of my colleague mentioned, how when her husband tried to change her baby’s nappy, the mother in law took it in negative light. The lack of role models for men often lands them in stressful situations. The intent to be available for their own baby goes in justifying the parental duties as no different. Simple day to day activities of washing the feeding bottles to disposing the baby’s soiled diapers are looked down by family elders in case a father does them.  

Bonding

I also observed a controversial outlook of men who become new parent. An assistant teacher in my college would come and sit in his cabin on Sundays and call his research students for updates. As efficient as he might appear to the management, he was in reality trying to get away from sharing the responsibilities that revolved around the baby (as stated by him to his students, “the house is noisy, I need some me time”).This I believe is a privilege that no mother can ever have.

There is no right or wrong way to bringing up a baby. The process of child rearing and up keep has to be the responsibility of both the father and the mother. While women most of the time collapse under the pressure and develop feelings of resentment and jealously for their spouses. The grass is not green on the other side as well, fathers double their work hours to make up for being the single source of family income. They are burdened to fulfill the role of a bread winner and in the process they miss out on the time they could have spent seeing the baby reaching the milestones. The sacrifice is at both the ends. The days of uninterrupted 8 long hours of sleep take a back seat for both. With the arrival of baby even the timings of taking loo breaks has to be planned with the baby schedule in mind.

A scene from a casual and an overambitious evening

New mothers are mostly flustered by the idea of telling their husbands to do things for the baby which should have come to them on their own in the first place. The motherhood in a woman makes her evaluate simple things that the father does. Women should understand men are wired differently, the parenting they follow will also be varied. The initial days whenever I needed my husband to soothe the cranky baby, he would pick her up and rock her around. For me the rocking appeared to be a habit (bad one) that would spoil the baby in the long run and owing to my backache I would not be able to lift the baby as often as he would. We often ended up fighting over the issue. However as the days progressed, my kid associated only her dad with rocking. The kids are smart they understand the touch. Moral of the story is, let the fathers do their bit in their own way.

Photo Courtesy Instagram

One fine evening when my husband and I finally found some time to ourselves, our discussion could not be without the mention of our baby girl. I asked him casually how his life is after being a father. He replied “busy” in all his wits. However he later romanticized the answer by telling me that the best part of the day for him is driving back home from work. Even though he is updated hourly through texts and pictures yet to him the joy of holding the baby after a tiring day is the most relieving feelings, with of course a wife who he thinks is evolving into an even better mother. I believed him there and together we continued scrolling videos and pictures on my phone.

Fatherhood back in 1992

As the ICICI commercial says, “Per bande acche hai (but guys are good)” 🙂

Baby got me blue!

Postpartum is the period that follows the birth of a baby. According to a bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO), postpartum occurrences fall in the following categories across the world:

  • Postpartum blues incidences among new mothers range from 300-700 per 1000 mothers on global scale. These last from a few days to weeks and have few negative effects on the mother and can be dealt with assurances.
  • Postpartum psychosis, which has a global prevalence ranging from 0.89 to 2.6 per 1000 births, is a severe disorder that begins within four weeks postpartum and requires hospitalization.
  • Postpartum depression can start soon after childbirth or as a continuation of antenatal depression and needs to be treated. The global prevalence of postpartum depression has been estimated as 100‒150 per 1000 births.

Before I begin to give a personal account on the same, let me give you a peek-a-boo into our days and night post the baby.

Our first face off

The first night with my baby girl (after being discharged from the hospital) was like a trailer to our parenting journey. My husband and I were juggling between changing wet (peed and pooped) nappies and preparing formula (milk substitute) for our girl. The morning routine included all members of the family surrounding the baby (remember, it takes a village to raise a baby!) and watching over the mother -in law massaging those tiny hands and feet. The baby girl reciprocated by giving us bewildered looks and sometimes soft cries, signaling us to end the massage. We then graduated to giving the baby a shower. It required delicate handling with utmost care and gently pouring the water and soap over the petite body. On most days, my baby girl managed to nap for over two hours after a soothing bath (in the first month only!). This gave me time to eat and shower as well.

After having spent a good two months with the three of us, and having imparted the training, my in laws decided to return home (Bhopal).  My husband also returned to work after a hectic one month. I geared up to take care of my little one, one day at a time. I started nursing my baby girl and relied less on formula feeds. I vividly remember the initial nursing sessions. It was hard for both of us, the baby girl and me. While the baby struggled to latch properly, each session for me was about battling a tearing pain in the soaring nipples. I was advised by the elders in the family to continue the process because it was about demand and supply (the more the baby sucked, the more will be the production of breast milk).

It is strange how everyone after the birth of the baby prioritizes its needs and a mother is lectured about the importance of breast milk. So much so, if the baby is cranky, the fingers turn to the mother and her milk supply is questioned! It also comes across as a surprise after having been pampered for the last nine long months.

Those warm unforgettable baby wearing sessions and the dark circles

My days were now longer than usual when my girl stopped taking naps during the day. She had probably formed an association with bathing after naps. Unfortunately for me, the chilly January mornings were not conducive for showers (until before noon, but by then husband had already left for work). Alone with the baby, unable to leave her, who would begin to cry her lungs out, I sat in front of the TV watching series to distract myself from negative thoughts. I lost my appetite and mostly worried about catering to the needs of my little girl. Every evening around 6 my daughter would cry continuously for hours, for no good reason (the witching hours in which the baby is crankiest). My sleep cycle, eating cycle and peace of mind, all went for a toss.

I remember one of our dining scenes, where I had started crying in front of my in-laws and husband without a specific why! I could not concentrate on anything whenever my baby cried. Even though there were a million things on my to-do list, the stress and anxiety prevented me from doing anything productive. Some days I would lie next to my sleeping baby and not move an inch, fearful that it would wake her up. I yearned for some reassurance, but all I would get were, “hamare time mei esa nhi hota tha” (In our times, there was nothing like this); “You are blessed with a gift, enjoy and don’t complain”. What was worse was that even my friends with babies, who I already turned to for comfort, asked me to suck it up.

I finally decided to get help. I decided to go to my parents’ house for some days. Back home, the gleaming sun and the warmth worked wonders to soften the stiffened emotions. A sumptuous breakfast prepared by my father started my day, later in the afternoon when the baby slept, I was served hot piping paranthas with oodles of butter, by my mother. The dinner plate was collectively prepared by both of them and culminated with a compulsory glass of warm milk. Eventually, things started improving and I returned home with heart filled with so much love. I realized the comfort of the home where we grew up, could not be matched by any materialistic pleasure. The unconditional love and support of the parents is a blessing at any age for the children.

Home is where the heart is

 Once I returned I met my doctor who diagnosed the symptoms as postpartum blues. Medically speaking, the feel good hormones of pregnancy change after the baby is born. Unfortunately, the level of female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, drop drastically right after the delivery, and there is a rise in the prolactin and oxytocin levels. The much relieving diagnosis though came a bit late. It had been three months since I had felt low and therefore I decided to not take any medicines (but I wouldn’t mind if I had to).


Now when I look back, these are the things that could have been done differently:

1. Self-care – A body massage for the mother is as important as it is for the baby. If you cannot get a full body massage, try regular massages on the head and the legs (my mom’s touch was magically soothing).

2. Get help – Hire a 24 hour maid or a 12 hour maid or a cook, to allow yourself rest. Our moms lived in a joint family structure and had friendly neighbors who eased daily chores so don’t even compare.

3. Ask the doctor – The body aches and the soaring nipples are a painful reality in the starting months of nursing. Get in touch with your doctor to get some relief. “Hang in there” is good advice but there are remedies to feel better as well.

4. Nurse smart – Nursing the baby for breast milk is most definitely immunity boosting but a mother can pump and store the breast milk as well. Also, a top feed sometimes will not harm the immunity as much and the mother’s body can relax in that time.

5. Lean on your partner – When the nights are long and lonely, it is advisable to wake your partner up to just talk or help with small tasks. Most of us feel guilty about doing this, but should not. It’s his baby as well, and he’d want to help. Make him a part of the journey.

Our cuddle

On the brighter side, there is this unconditional love you receive from your baby. The first time your baby smiles to you is a memory precious enough to have kids. The small hands and tiny fingers reach out for your warm cuddles. At this point onwards, everything else starts to matter less. There are nights and sometimes even days, when I have stayed up looking at her peaceful sleep and it is in those moments that I expressed gratitude to God for blessing us with this overwhelming happiness. While parenting days go from high to low, some social media quotes keep my sanity in check. I will sign off with one from Instagram that I came across this morning – “The funny thing about kids is, they are the reason we lose it and also the reason we hold it together”.

Until then hang in there!

Finale

The countdown:

The ninth month in a pregnancy is the longest. The mom in me had slept enough to last a lifetime (now I wish I had slept even more). Just like everyone in the family I was eagerly and anxiously looking forward to the D day. I feel that the excitement that makes women come this far (with experiences like never before) gradually turn into a desperation to get it over with, to deliver the baby as soon as possible. After all, nine months is but a year minus the three months.

My doctor had now started calling us every forthright for a checkup. I could not help but relate my situation to an inmate of the Big Boss House. With every passing week, the tasks assigned become tougher. It was not just the exercises that doubled but also the pep talks! I was advised to practice squatting exercises (you are reading about somebody who was naturally blessed with a fairly thin body and so gyms were always the last thing on my mind!). The food on the plate, I was told, could be made spicier to initiate labor (for general information, the labor pains in a pregnant woman is a sign of the baby trying to make its way out into the world). My mother in law insisted I should sit on my haunches and mop a portion of my bedroom (Thank the heavens she didn’t say the entire house). Every time I did so, I imagined our house maids delivering babies with ease (damn what a profession!)

We often hear our mothers quoting their gynecologists with confidence. For any first time parents to be, the journey is uncertain. A gynae sets the tone for the future days and nights. My gynae was a well experienced doctor. She never over prepared us for any of the ultra sounds. I remember one session where the doctor needed to capture the baby in a side lying position but could not because the baby was sleeping (or maybe showing her rigid traits already!). Finally, as directed, I reluctantly gobbled on chocolate bars and orange juice (remember my low preference for sweets back then).Every visit to her made me confident about my baby and we developed a level of familial comfort. 

Your doctor will not just be responsible for your physical well being but also psychologically preparing you for the arrival of a new life and new you.

Meanwhile back home both the mothers prepared the mandatory dry fruit laddus. As the science of pregnancy goes, the body of a woman undergoes major changes after she delivers a baby. To prepare her body for the challenges of motherhood, panjiri, dry fruit powder and several herbs that I had never paid attention to before were brought in the house. The love of my mother and mother in law showered in the preparation of these delicacies, which were packed and kept aside for the coming days.

So, coming back, this was week 40 and just for a quick update week 42 is when most doctors give the option to induce labor pain or opt for caesarian delivery. Everything in my case was going just fine and I was preparing myself for a normal vaginal delivery. However on the onset of week 39 we got an ultra-sound done and the reports showed less amniotic fluid which they said could cause some complications if we opted for a normal delivery. The amniotic fluid is the scientific term for the water in the womb in which the unborn baby floats. It also uses it to sail its way into the real world. We agreed for a Caesarian delivery. So ladies make note, drink as much water as you can. Even though I had gallons of coconut water but I assume my baby had other plans.

The D Day:

The last month of pregnancy is also about keeping oneself abreast with the delivery procedure. If not with the crass details which can gross out many, at-least one should be aware of the process superficially. I was prepared for a C section delivery and followed the tips from my doctor:

  • The expecting mother should stop eating eight hours prior to the C-section.
  • The intake of water should be minimal.
  • Post-delivery the hospital stay will last minimum 3 days (or more depending on the examination by the doctor) so carry at-least 20 cloth diapers or nappies.

In my case, I had packed my hospital bag with cute star printed cloth diapers (the love for tiny things had started to grow already) and some old clothes because the baby skin is sensitive to new fabric.

My husband, my mother in law and I headed to the hospital with our respective game faces. After the initial check-up, I was admitted. The thrill and excitement was totally unmatched (no wonder my mother in law was happily capturing every moment).

The one before leaving for the OT

Around 2.30 p.m. I was taken to the OT and this was when my heart started racing. The medical lull of the OT did not make for a very pleasant ambiance. I was surrounded by nurses (both boys and girls) and most of them wore the monotonous expression of routine drill on their faces. Around 2.45 pm, my gynecologist entered and her voice was the most comforting thing in that awkwardly silent room. I was made to lie down and a huge set of lights beamed in my eyes (exactly the ones I had grown up watching in hospital scenes from cinema). Thankfully, before beginning they covered my eyes with a flimsy cloth. I also remember being greeted by an unfamiliar voice who did some small talk and wished me well which I later came to know was the pediatrician in-charge. I could hear the doctors talking through the process (which lasted not more than 30 minutes) because only my back was on epidural (which means my body was numb from waist to legs) while the rest of me was wide awake.

So on 27th November 2018 at 3.11 p.m., by God’s grace we were blessed with a baby girl. The first cry of my girl was a relief and I was thankful that the doctors did not have to turn the baby upside down and pat her small bums to make her cry (remember how they do it in movies all the time).

Introducing our bundle of joy

For a first time mother, my expectations were solely based on images that I came across on social media. I expected to pose for a camera with the husband giving a peck on my head and the baby smothered by our lovable hug (of-course we have clicked many such pictures now but could not back then). In the real world, the doctor congratulated me and let me have a cursory look at the baby and with her went outside to the awaiting family members. Right after this, the baby was taken to a neonatal care unit (for noting her vitals) and I had to wait for an hour before I finally held my baby girl. On the emotional front, I will be very honest when I say that I was not very overwhelmed on holding my baby for the very first time. I was most definitely relieved but not at all teary eyed. Don’t worry about the feelings: motherhood grows on you eventually!

The following days in the hospital were like a crash course for the roller coaster ride that awaited us. I was unprepared for the feeding journey, which is different in the case of a surgery. A mother takes at-least a week to begin lactation. While I was worried for the baby being fed formula milk, a famous commercial by Amir Khan played in the back of my head that said “janam k baad pehla ghante shishu k lie maa k dudh sabse zaruri hai” (the first hour after birth, mother’s breast milk is crucial for the baby).Sorry to disappoint you Amir!

The doctor in charge prescribed some home remedies to speed up the initiation of milk production. Apart from the regular medications, I was asked to consume cumin powder (zeera) with milk. Funnily enough, I got a frantic call from the husband who was rattling with the kitchenware and had no clue where I kept zeera while he went home to fetch it .I learnt my lesson; familiarize the husband with the kitchen  (although even this familiarity may breed some contempt ).

Me and Mine

We were joined by my family as well and each one of us was ready with the cameras. My sister prepared a sweet message for formally announcing the arrival of our baby girl (mandatory social media update). Friends and relatives called and texted for the customary blessings. One of the messages that makes us laugh till today is the phone call of one of my husband’s client who on hearing that we had a “girl”, said, “oh chalo koi nahi badhaiya” (never mind Congratulations!)

Heading home with our love

As for the date 27th November, we will never outgrow the joy of holding our baby in our arms for the very first time. Those tiny feet and fingers could melt any heart. My husband and I were grinning from ear to ear, until of course the effect of drugs started to fade and my body began the healing process.

Note: A baby is going to change your life.

Spoiler Alert: For the better!

The Third Trimester

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).

Yours truly in the third trimester

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.

Diwali function at my workplace

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 families at the baby shower

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.

The Second Trimester

In any Indian household, the celebration of special events means togetherness. The Eid celebration that year also happened as planned, but with more vigour and excitement. Just like every year on Eid, a Salman Khan (Bhai) flick kicks it off at the box-office, in same annual ritualistic manner, we also kick off the celebration at home with the new family (hum saath saath hain!). This year was different though, I was pregnant, and travelling was questionable.

Travelling can give any mom to be sleepless nights. In our case, we were supposed to take a 6 hour long journey. Even though we had the option of taking the overnight train (which is better, because you can rest you back), my husband and I weighed our options and decided to make the chair car, day time journey. The thought of using public urinals frequently (as the baby inside starts growing it puts pressure on the bladder) especially in the night made me dismiss the overnight journey. The Shatabdi mail did not disappoint (this country has its railways figured!). We were offered good quantity and timely meals, keeping my stomach full throughout the journey. The seats were large and with good leg space (though I missed carrying a pillow to support my back). There were minor issues, but we managed. Having said that, I suggest instead of ignoring travel altogether and self-imposing a lock-down during pregnancy, small changes here and there can make the journey easy.

When we reached Bhopal, I reminisced about how during the initial years of our marriage going about the city was a routine. The city is famous for its two lakes known as upper lake and the lower lake. Our post dinner long drives were mostly visiting the bada talaab which could make anyone feel the quintessential freshness. My observations this time hovered from noticing the transition from a free spirited life of cozying couples (obviously well within the conservative boundaries of the city culture) to the families with small kids (even infants) running hither thither while the parents happily captured these loveable moments.

The second trimester in the pregnancy is the easiest part of the whole 9 months. The initial discomfort of morning sickness starts to lessen. The appetite begins to grow (which means hogging on delicacies without guilt). In case of some ladies, the baby bump starts to show (be prepared for the pleasant smiles from strangers – hopefully women). The news (bun in the oven) can be made public without any fear. So, my mom in law officially introduced me to the close relatives as ‘the mom to be’. The warmth of good wishes started to flow.

The inevitable part of any pregnancy is advice and stories from experiences (solicited and sometimes unsolicited), which people around you begin pouring. Even though I was anyway never into heels, I was advised against it. My mother in law kept a check on my water consumption (very crucial for the floating being inside me). My father-in-law took the role of the provider, getting various fruits daily – especially oranges (incorrigible craving back then). Of-course dear husband was always around to check on me for any stress, especially when I was at the in-laws. This period gave me a perspective about the pampering a woman starts to receive when she conceives. It is overwhelming when everyone around you is being so caring and loving, as long as your mood swings are in check. I don’t think any woman will mind being the center of the attention (reality check – nothing lasts forever hence enjoy while it lasts!).

I decided to explore the streets of Bhopal amidst the Eid festivities. There is no doubt that the ambience of the city matched with my inner feels, a sense of peace and happy me. The smell of fresh dry sewaiyan emanated from every alternate shop. The decked up streets of the Bittan market with varied items on display gave a classic overview of the city culture. An important thing while venturing out during pregnancy is to keep a check on one’s apparel choices. The free flowing anarkali kurtis with matching juttis were the best option to go around for me, without fretting about the city heat (and sometimes the heat within).  I took advantage of the pampering and shopped enough to satisfy the shopaholic in me. One of the special buys were the beaded batuas (pearl embossed purses), a specialty of the bazaar and I got two, one for myself and a miniature version for the baby to be.

The famous beaded batuas of Bhopal

As the months pass, the body starts demanding more attention. I was spending major part of my day at work and so I changed few things to suit my comfort. Ergonomically speaking, I got my seating changed and realized the value of a good chair with a cushiony back and an extra small chair to rest my swelling feet. Thus, making my workplace a comfortable place to be for the coming months.  

The month of June and July in an academic institute is relatively relaxed, just what a pregnant woman dreams of. I tried to relax as much as possible. I resorted to reading and believe me so, the days seemed to pass quickly. I was reading different genres in fiction and non- fiction. Elon Musk gave me an insight into massive space possibilities and the ‘Girl Next Door’ was a fast paced gripping thriller. I also experimented reading some Indian writers like Durjoy Dutta and dealt with rough days by quoting excerpts from ‘The Subtle art of not giving a Fuck’ (something that will stay with you in the early days of motherhood as well).

One book that stood out for me was Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’. It broadened my perspective about womanhood (before plunging into motherhood). As a woman we are conditioned to fill somebody’s shoes, no matter how tight they are; and act like nothing happened. There is high level of expectations and we end up falling in the trap of presenting the perfect us in everything we do. We tend to tire ourselves in the process. I made a promise to continue treating myself with as much love and care as I was during the pregnancy days.

Side note: The arrival of a baby is most definitely a beautiful addition to life, but what a woman should not forget is her own identity. Whether she is filling roles of a wife, a mother, or a top notch employee in her workplace, she should strive to be a happy person first.

 I literally jotted down some hard core points mentioned in the book. Whether those were implemented or not, well you will find out in the future blogs. My advice to anybody waiting for the baby would be this – If you are into reading, then do it for your mental peace. It will not only take your mind away from an ensuing anxiety and the discomfort, but will give you perspective on there being more to life than just you and your baby. Look what I did there, I gave an unsolicited suggestion, looks like the pregnancy grew on me too and now I think I am also worthy of passing on recommendations!                                                                                                                                                         

The first trimester

In the recent years, Turkey has emerged as one of the most sought after travel destinations. When the vacation hungry beast in me googled Turkey, I realized that April and May or September and October may be the best times to tour the country. The visuals of picturesque backgrounds and both the husband and I posing with trench coats in the foreground caught on to me. I even started checking my academic calendar to look for a good time to make a tour to Turkey.  After a good long discussion and some rough budgeting, we decided to make the trip in June. The dream didn’t last for long. Before anything fructified, news came that we were due for December 2018 and travelling during the first trimester was a big no.

The enticing image sent by a friend Apurv Tyagi

Until this news, our life revolved around weekdays and weekends. Weekdays were for slogging day and night in our respective workplaces while the weekends were timed to breathe and look around; and run those ghastly errands. Obviously with a pinch of little dressing up and partying. My husband and I both work in conventional professions (he is a lawyer litigating the Courts in Delhi trying to get Judges to grant his pleas; while I make my living teaching budding engineers the concepts of coding) and we get our long vacations in June and around Diwali. We looked forward to this time every year for some respite. Unfortunately for Turkey, 2018 was not going to be the year.

The feeling of voluntary travel exile had barely sunk in but the new lifestyle was already taking control of me. When I noticed, I found myself tip toeing while walking. The first trimester is supposedly the most crucial time for pregnancy. A woman carrying the baby has to avoid even the tiniest of jerks for safety of the unborn. Of course as the pregnancy progresses everything else also gets tougher, but for a newbie like me paying special attention to my gait was Commandment No. 2 (remember the 1st one was to keep the news secret for about 3 months). It means now I couldn’t whimsically break into a random little dance – Ugh the sacrifice! I realized I was the kind of person who rushed to getting things done. For instance, if my class was scheduled for 10.30, I would make a dash from my cabin around 10.27 and rejoice internally for making it just in time. I felt like I was made to enter a meditation camp forcefully.

The queries which I could not make while visiting the gynaec were now being answered by google and it became my first point of assistance. Should I drink this much water? Should I sleep in that position? Should I eat this fruit? Should I breathe that air? Even though an efficient search engine, with answers to most of the relevant questions, it was successfully in satiating me only with the assistance of my mom. She was the necessary sequitur to the abundant gyaan on the internet.

 You will realize for your own self how the relation between you and your mother hits an all-time high during the pregnancy. Personally for me, after marriage my relation with my mother had strengthened considerably. The rebellious teenage acrimony I had with her once, had become a  funny memory.  She was also curious and concerned about my wellbeing and made sure I was well prepared for the task ahead. It is only after becoming a mother I realized the unconditional support a mother is to her girl; and how without an emotional connect, those days would not have been easy. Just like every mother, my mom has always been there for me, almost like the clichéd air we breathe but hardly notice (except in our masks these days). It is a blessing.

A year ago, a pregnant colleague in my workplace was literally rushing to the restroom every hour troubled by nausea. When visiting her cabin for an informal banter, I noticed a stash of tamarind tablets, a home remedy for this nausea. This and of course the cinematic visuals from growing up years made way for my first impression of pregnancy. I was certain I’d be vomiting away for the next nine months. Fortunately for me and my husband, I hardly ever felt this discomfort. I was happily craving and hogging on everything edible under the pretext of – “Oh now I have to eat for two”. It was not a surprise when I realized I had put on total 15 kg during the entire period.

My birthday fell during this period and it was special beyond words, because of the extra efforts made by my husband to decorate the house. Right from the cake to the wall décor, I could read MOM everywhere. The house exuded a scent of new beginnings. We both looked into each other’s eyes and imagined a new being with us on the next birthday. Everything was perfect that day, except for my aversion for sweet, which I discovered when I had a helping of the cake, officially marking the acceptance of the first trimester by my body.

My birthday celebrations while I waited for my baby

A heart beat with its rhythmic up and down movement makes a sound of reality and signifies life. If you think of it, how often do we really hear our heart beating? There are moments in life that take our breath away and it is only then that we focus on our heartbeat; moments such as a tight hug of a loved one, seconds during the anticipation of the first kiss, moments when we fear separation from somebody we yearn for day and night, or maybe when we are nervous and taking a crucial decision. This brings me to a special memory I have of that time, my first ultra sound. It was pleasant November morning when my husband and I headed for the session. The doctor made us hear a soft dug dug sound which was to the heartbeat of the child.  We were told that the child was healthy.

I am not certain of the exact emotions I went through at that moment, but I can clearly remember heaving a sigh of relief and feeling a sense of responsibility building up inside me from then on. That feeling has not left me till date and I guess this is what parenthood is. You feel attached to a being before it makes its way into the world as you understand it.

Good News

Well before I begin to pull the curtains and give you a glimpse into one of the most personal experiences of my life, I will give a disclaimer ( just in case, you stumbled upon this blog for a deep insight!). This blog is not aimed at providing the dos and don’ts of being a good parent or even how to become a parent (to start with). (The former is going to be a long arduous personal journey while the latter – well let’s just assume you know the answer to that). I decided to write this blog solely to share my experiences of being a first time mom (it is a big deal, trust me!). For those who are already sailing in the same boat would know, it is one area where no prior knowledge is handy. The only thing that helps you sail through successfully are your motherly instincts (bold and underlined). I am hoping that my experience will resonate with all the mothers.

Lone couple’s day out

My first hand experience of the journey began on 14th April 2018 ( Yes I am gifted with the memory of an elephant), the date I took my pregnancy test. My husband and I were thrilled to see those two lines flashing on the stick. We were elated beyond words, not to mention more than relieved.Relieved because our parents would finally stop nagging us for starting a family, or so we thought.

First Information Report (forgive the title – my father and husband are both lawyers)
You make the first phone call to the parents and from then on pour the congratulatory messages. We all can relate to the messages sounding like the pat on our backs for we are carrying forward the legacy and finally getting that validation, for our role in the evolution of life has become significant (Yay! See Darwin we survived and were fit enough to (re)produce another one too!). The over cautious mothers  directed us strictly to not let the news out until the third month. I sometimes wonder why we do that but back then I didn’t question ( too high to get into the technicalities!). Taking cue from the previous occasions when our mothers and their superstitions have been spot on we decided to oblige them by adhering to rule number one and sushhhhed!!

The next daunting task ahead of us was finding “the gynaeclogist” ( I will suggest to make sure this is well researched!). We had been living in Noida for less than a year and never did we explore the maternity care options around us . We were new to the society and we could not tell anyone (remember rule one). This is when we decided to let go of the old school way of word of mouth doctor and submitted to technology Gods to save us. Thank you Google!

My husband and I had two criteria for selecting a doctor, one was a hospital which was in close proximity to our house. This is mostly because I always had visuals of movies where the heavily pregnant mother searing in pain is rushed to the hospital amidst heavy rain. As dramatic as the movies made it look, I did not want that! I wanted my ride to not be more than 10 minutes. The second criteria was a doctor who generally sits in the evening because we both were working 9 to 5 (this is how the baby begins to fit in your life). Practo assisted us and we zeroed in on a doctor after much deliberation.

The first visit to the gynae was an experience in its own kind. While you both are seated to be called in, our minds were racing with questions we would be asked ( I was recalling my college days and the wait to be called in for the viva). We wondered what if this was a wrong prediction and my engineering mind gave way to all the possibilities of false positive or true negative and more. Anxiety and a feeling of unknown gripped us when we finally went inside. This was probably the second time my husband and I agreed on something peacefully, the first was when we went to shop and had a difference of opinion on everything I laid my hands except a spoon stand which both of us felt was needed in the house (new Couple goals I’d say).

Once we were done with usual questionnaire from the doctor and after getting answers to our over inquisitiveness we headed out with a sense of preparedness.Ladies remember, the doctor will mainly be interested to know about your next date of monthly cycle (to calculate the date , baby will arrive, your due date), if you are taking medications ( to keep note of your allergies) and your past pregnancy record if any. After that first meeting,I realized that feeling of joy was most unique and surreal and might not be felt in the same scale by both of us again in our lives. We were prescribed some tests and the customary drill for the next nine months (the long road road ahead) finally took off.

Gratitude to the Lord for making us see this day and how we were going to change as a couple (no bets on this point) . When you are a newly married couple, the world around you is dreamy and shimmering with positivity.  The possibility of knowing that somebody has your back makes both of you secure. The world around you ceases to exist (matter less) and you rejoice in exploring the ‘us’ in your relationship. There are high hopes and the strength of love binds you . You make every effort possible to present the best version of yourself to each other (sometimes over estimating yourself). As the years pass and the routine grind takes a toll on you both, a level of comfort seaps in and for the better or worse the sense of family grows on you.  A good news in any marriage brings a freshness analogous to a bud popping in a plant you both potted together. A new mission to look forward to with rolled sleeves. This new venture adds to the love quotient between you two and the bonding increases manifold. Of course beyond the idyllic picture that I just painted, there are the inevitable differences but more on that later in the next blog.
Stay tuned !

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