My journey to Motherhood
As someone who kept oscillating between wanting to be a mother and being extremely fearful of getting pregnant (read tokophobia) to an extent where I felt that I’d probably be better off without having a baby, I’ve come a really long way — a way ridden with anxiety, phobia and a lot of drama that could even put a Bollywood movie to shame!
I vividly remember being drawn to books on parenting as a teenager as opposed to the rest of my clan who would dig into a Danielle Steel or a Mills & Boon.
Come Class 9, the sex education class at school broke my bubble. I realised babies, in a normal delivery, are born vaginally. This piece of information kind of ruined the idea of becoming a mother, for me. I still wanted to have kids but I felt I didn’t have it in me to go through a pregnancy and childbirth and manage to come out alive.
Life moved on, I got married! A couple of years into the marriage, the pressure to have a child kicked in. People around us were hitting it out of the park, left right and centre (no pun intended) and we, on the other hand, were still grappling with Tokophobia, anxiety and a bhelpuri of emotions.
A few well-meaning people advised us to get tested, should there be any issues marring our chances at getting pregnant.
What do you do in the face of enormous pressure? Are you the kind who fights it out or succumbs to pressure?
I, admittedly, belong to the latter ;)
The test results were fine, thankfully!
In the interim, a few other friends got pregnant and went on to have smooth, normal deliveries themselves (spot the oxymoron here)!
This gave me some strength and I felt that MAYBE, I could sail through this too — sure, the waters could be deep, the sails could be rocky, the winds could be harsh and tumultuous but for the first time ever, I felt a tiny sliver of hope and courage within me.
And lo and behold, I fell pregnant in the May of 2020, amidst the coronavirus lockdown.
My best friend from school was pregnant around that time too. This was such a sweet twist of destiny — from school friends in pigtails to becoming mothers together. Our friendship had sort of come a full circle! :)
My journey towards becoming a mother was riddled with self-doubt, anxiety and fear. The pregnancy was smooth by far with a few (albeit huge) hiccups in between but with the right support system in place, lots of maa ke haath ka khaana and TLC from everyone in the family, I was able to sail through my pregnancy rather beautifully.
Barring a few challenges, I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant — the food, the pampering, the extra attention, all of this and more!
I enjoyed reading books, random blogposts by mothers on parenting, breastfeeding etcetera. I also loved shopping for my baby — be it clothes or baby lotions. There is something about clothes for a tiny person, the look and the feel of it tugs at your heartstrings and could melt even the hardest of hearts!
The part that I didn’t particularly enjoy were the emotional outbursts and the 50-times-a-night peeing routine because of which I could barely enjoy a good night’s sleep.
During pregnancy, I experienced an avalanche of emotions, ranging from anger and irritation to downright fury and resentment but, looking back, if I had to pinpoint a recurrent theme that permeated through all of my emotions, was the fact that it was irrational, certainly the extent of it was irrational.
Folks around me were perpetually scared to rub me the wrong way — one wrong move and there I was, waiting to prey and it didn’t help that I was hungry most of the times during my pregnancy!
As someone who was always considered mild-mannered, my sudden flight to fury kind of shook my family.
I am sure hormones were at play, don’t know a better way to rationalise this! ;)
Another thing that I observed was that it wasn’t very easy for me to connect with my baby while in the womb, as opposed to other mothers who connect from the get-go.
Firstly, it took me a while to process the fact that I’m going to be a mother..A MOTHER to a human baby..the fact that I’d be the numero uno go-to-person for this little person almost all through childhood and maybe, even during adulthood..the fact that I’d be playing a major role in shaping this child evolve into a better world citizen.
Amongst all these overwhelming thoughts, I found it a tad bit difficult to really bond with the baby. I have seen mothers talking nineteen-to-a-dozen with their babies while still in the womb and here I was, struggling to make a conversation. I was a far cry, in that sense. Of course, I spoke to the baby as and when I wanted to, ate well, had my supplements, fought well, ensured that the rest of the family members are at their best behaviour when it came down to talking with me lest I throw another tantrum right back at them and then drown in my own pool of tears…sigh! I was a mess..a batshit hot mess at that!
Few months into the pregnancy and we got better..my conversations with the baby improved..it’s easy you see..I spoke about my thoughts, my feelings..delivered huge monologues at times..so yeah..was really nailing the talk-to-the-baby game and enjoying it too! The long monologues suddenly turned into heartwarming conversations as and when my baby kicked from inside the womb!
It’s surreal and magical, watching and experiencing life grow within you. You realize how small you really are in the larger scheme of things, that how nothing really is in your control, that how you really don’t know your body as much as you think you do and that how Mother Nature has your back, always!
From a person who dreaded getting pregnant to then getting pregnant, my pregnancy and childbirth have been lessons in resilience and strength, for me. Clichéd statements or quotes like, “you’re stronger than you know” or “sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness”, suddenly made a lot of sense to me and even resonated with me, at a deeper level.
My childbirth was another lesson in patience, acceptance and in breathing (literally) through all the pain.
After enduring pain for what seemed like an eternity (had a normal delivery with no epidurals), my baby girl came into the world with much gusto! I cried tears of joy! I didn’t quite expect to have a very picture perfect reaction to the birth of my baby but I did, and it was magical!
This was my moment and would firmly be etched in my memory forever. It was at this juncture where I truly felt one with nature, one with the divine!
There are these moments when you’re just fleeting through life and then suddenly one day, time seems to stand still; the visceral feeling of joy engulfs your soul. You know it when it hits you.
It’s more often than not something simple. In my case, it was the time my baby smiled at me for the very first time! It stirred something within me, I didn’t know that I had such a strong maternal bone in me up until that time.
Motherhood, I reckon, is dotted with such pristine snapshots.
The day my daughter was born was easily one among the best days of my life, although I didn’t quite feel like it, on that particular day.
My daughter has made me stronger and resilient more than she would ever know!
Motherhood, truly, is one of the greatest (and the most beautiful) adventures that I’d ever embark upon!
I guess the following quote by author Linda Wooten sums it up for me, “Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”