I haven’t written anything for so long that I fear I never will again. Even though I miss my not-writing terribly, I just can’t get myself into the act of actually writing. What a weird malady to suffer from! And who has time for weirdness when your life is so full of exciting surprises and strangeness already?
As such, I am in two minds about this post. On one hand, I just can’t ignore the nagging inside my head that I must sit to write down about the biggest year of my life so far, just for my own sake, if not anyone else’s. On the other, I am still in a denial that it’s been a year almost already! That my son will be one next month! I’d rather watch him struggle as he decides whether he wants to get back to his stacking cups or stay in the cuddle a little longer. Sigh, it’s been a year already since I became a mother and as clichéd it may sound, my life changed forever.
Nothing could have prepared me for motherhood! I will even come out and say, my pregnancy wasn’t planned. Yes! Even at this age and time! Yet, as soon as I saw the alien looking tiny human floating inside me, I fell head-over-heel in love with him.
It’s been a constant state of exploration since then. Never knowing what to expect next. Just when I felt, I have got the hang of it, something unexpected always threw me off. I’d read every available literature (well, almost), gone to birthing classes, meditated in order to prepare myself only to find out I have been dealt a completely unexpected hand. This past year, through mostly sleepless nights I have learnt, that easy does not equal good and struggles are not always bad. That little human I produced, is difficult, exhausting and yet is a miracle.
I found that, even though I suck at parenting, I am actually quite good at it. After all, at just 5 weeks, didn’t he look up at me with the most beautiful smile there ever was, as if to say, “You are doing a great job, mommy, keep it up”? That was the end of all self-doubt for me. And haven’t I made it to his almost birthday with both of us being in one piece? I came to understand quickly that it is very important to not get hung up on the goof ups if you want to keep your sanity.
After those very short first 3 months, when it was time to go back to work, it was hard, very very hard. I remember always worrying, missing him and, being constantly shocked at the intensity of my own emotion. Rushing to him as soon as I could, holding him, smelling him and putting everything else on hold was all I could do. And now a year later, it still is all I can do.
My worrywort has grown disproportionately; I worry myself sick about everything. “Was it too much milk that came out with the burp?” “Why won’t he go to sleep?” “Is he gaining enough weight?” “Is his head too small?” “Why isn’t a tooth sprouting?” “Is his poop looking okay today?” Yes, this last year, my husband and I have found ourselves talking endlessly about poop. We have spent quite a lot of time smelling, cleaning, and washing off baby poops. And it has been perfectly normal to talk about our son’s poops at dinner table. I remember wanting to cry and run off when I discovered a cluster of mosquito bites on his elbow during the time I visited India. And yet, instinctively I know that he is okay and that makes me sometimes worry that I am not worrying enough, that I am taking things too casually.
Over this past year my ideas of aesthetics and public embarrassment have changed too. I mean, before it was unthinkable but now for both my husband and I, it is perfectly alright to go out in clothes stained with milk and baby foods and disheveled hair. Why, only today, as I was running to catch my train, I found that I was wearing my top inside out. Previously, it would never have happened, or I would have let the train go and returned to my car immediately to correct the mistake. But today I just shrugged and boarded the train smartly. My husband who always complained about wailing babies in malls and public places in general, was found commenting, perfectly nonchalantly, “babies don’t cry to annoy you, they cry because they are annoyed or in discomfort of some kind. And sometimes you could do nothing about it”. This, when our son was too tired and won’t stop crying through a stroll on the streets of the city. He even stared down a couple of strangers trying to shame us for our inability to soothe our own baby.
Talking of strangers – my year of motherhood has also taught me that people love babies. And they love sharing their experiences of parenthood. And that I would probably do it too, when I see a baby next. And that, it is perfectly acceptable.
I have been nervous a lot this past year. I thought I knew a lot before he was born, but turned out I didn’t know anything. And now that he is almost one, turns out I still don’t know anything. I still am slightly incredulous that he is my son and that my husband and I made this perfect little being. I still get baffled; I still am constantly amazed at his abilities and the determination and persistence he shows as he meets each developmental milestone.
In my year of motherhood I have learnt more from him than he from me. He’s pushed me further than anyone has ever before. And even though the path forward will be anything but hard, I am quite looking forward to the experience.