There was a time when I was extremely scared to even hold a newborn baby . I would admire those teeny tiny delicate fingers and toes from a distance but would inevitably skip holding the tiny beings in my arms, no matter how adorable !I don’t remember baby-sitting my own little sister(12 years younger than me) or my baby cousins or cousin’s babies .The wailing babies ,the burping babies, the sleeping babies in different sizes would drive me to my wit’s end. I would wonder as how they ever managed to sleep for all day , survive solely on milk or wet and soil the dresses , blankets , beds without even realising it. Most of all , how did such tiny beings manage to cry out like party blowers?!And , i thoroughly admired their moms for their adeptness, patience and telepathic connection with their babies- the connection of the cord, as they termed it.
I believed I had all the time in the world to prepare myself for handling a baby the right way. But in all those intervening years between being a daughter, a wife and finally conceiving a baby , I had learnt nothing at all. A zero % progress in learning and mastering baby care/ baby management techniques , really. However, as my pregnancy progressed , I eventually learnt the secret to the enormous patience and strength that is synonymous with MOTHER. Their babies were their inspiration, to bear it all and master it all with a heroic smile and a matching determination. The first glimpse of my baby on the monitor and the first sound of her heartbeat on my 9 weeks ultrasound was a miracle-like joyous experience. A gift like none before. That black and white picture of the tiny foetus that was soon to be my baby had given me the strength to cope up with all the difficult days, physical discomfort and pain during pregnancy and labour.
I had been so nervous when the nurse had offered me to hold my just-born baby for the very first time. The cute little baby girl looked like a ball of butter , so delicate and tender and seemingly bone-less/muscle-less. I was scared , i would hurt her , with my zero experience. And then the teeny tiny head gently made its way into my left arm, with my right hand supporting her delicate body. It had been a smooth and miraculous landing. It was hard to believe that my baby was really in my arms, and i had laughed and cried at the same time , out of pure joy. That beautiful gift and the achievement had made me forget the excruciating labour pain and the painful episiotomy. Breastfeeding for the first time had been an equally unbelievable experience . It was amazing to see my baby latch on so spontaneously without training etc. That beautiful realisation had made the pain associated with engorgement , a non-issue. I realised that becoming a mother , transforms us into brave soldiers ,bravely nurturing and protecting the baby that God blesses us with.
My husband of 4 years had been my cheerleader through pregnancy . We had shared the tears of joy equally, since the celebration over the precious pink horizontal lines, through pregnancy and in the initial days after the arrival of our baby. Our newborn baby felt like the first wonder of the world to us. It was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience.She had become the centre of our universe. It was a joyous experience unfolding each of the baby mysteries.To my surprise, I became naturally conditioned to taking care of my baby , helping her be comfortable, sleep and grow. We had happily bid a good bye to our Friday movie- nights, dine outs and shopping sprees. We literally treated the dark circles around our eyes through semi-sleepless nights and the baby bulge as medals and prizes. With time, i became an expert in handling the baby(including baby pee, poop and puke), massaging her soft, delicate skin , learning home remedies for colic pain right down to maintaining the perfect room temperature for the baby.
Each milestone – the first smile, the first time she sat, the first time she crawled , the first independent steps was like a marvel , an achievement and a celebration time. We had never experienced even 1/100 th of this unadulterated joy with a handsome bonus or brilliant appraisal or a five star rating at our workplaces. Being parents was a sublime , spiritual, holy experience way above materialistic pleasures or gains. The joy in shopping quadrupled as we animatedly chose the prettiest of pink dresses, the loveliest accessories ,fluffy receiving blankets, attractive and stimulating toys and nutritious baby foods. As our baby transitioned to solid foods , I became the most enthusiastic chef mom, boiling , blending and mashing healthy fruits and cereals for the little princess. My baby has transformed me into a zealous photographer too, because time flies and moments are too precious to not be captured.Through the five precious years of her life, the precious moments remain frozen forever in pictures, to be re-visited time and again.
It is awesome to be re-living my childhood through nursery rhymes, the different games and attractive shows on Disney junior, Nick junior and so on . I am also a budding artist , experimenting with oil pastels, water colours , paper art so as to accompany and be a deserving “competitor “ to my little girl. I am becoming more patient as a teacher, gaining additional experience and expertise with each passing year. Just this afternoon, my daughter returned home from school with tears in her eyes, because somebody had commented on her “boyish” haircut. I told her “ Darling , it doesn’t matter what people say to you as long as you know you are beautiful “. . She continued “Mamma, I can no longer be a princess with this boyish haircut”. “ Being a princess is more about being a good person . I know , you are the best”and she hugged me and her tears evaporated. I realised yet again ,what a magical experience it is to be a mom!
An erstwhile movie buff, I haven’t been to movie theatres for over 5 years as I feel its still to early to expose my little daughter to that world.I never returned to work as I was scared to leave my daughter with a maid without any adult supervision. And yes , sometimes I do miss those romantic date nights with my husband , humans that we all are. The TV remote is my daughter’s monopoly as her favourite programmes strangely co-incide with my favourite ones. Serendipity of sorts! But, each song that she learns, each poem that she masters, each soulful hug that she gifts us, each gleeful laughter that she lets out over-compensates for all that is not . She is my inspiration . She motivates me to be stronger, when I falter. The metamorphosis from being a lovey-dovey couple to responsible, caring parents has added more joy , more purpose , more life to our days.
Published here earlier: