Motherhood is not all sunshine and roses. It’s also thunderstorms and thorns. But it’s what has taught me tolerance and resilience.
It still feels surreal when I look at my child, now eleven. Like the first time, I held my bony, bluish tinged, bawling baby in my arms. She’s almost as tall as me now. Outgrown my lap, but not my heart!
There was nothing that I wanted more than her. I remember the weeks that led to my pregnancy confirmation. Suddenly, I yearned for my mother’s presence—to be cozy in her cover, and happy like a Cheshire Cat lapping her warm meals.
Home. I was thinking of it more often than in the past. Was it normal for a newlywed bride to feel this way? Even when it was just a stone’s throw from her marital home?
As I walked into my corporate office every day, I felt cold. Like an alien! I was craving for warmth and space. Not an air-conditioned cubicle, and stiff upper lip colleagues! The ‘Aalo Paratha’ with ‘Makkan,’ ‘Dahi,‘ and ‘Aam ka Achar’ on the side at the cafeteria was the closest to home that I could order and be comforted.
Two weeks later, I knew something was cooking. Not my Mum’s cooking! Something better!
The two lines on the home pregnancy stick confirmed that I wasn’t going crazy.
But later in the first trimester, I started spotting. I dialed my gynecologist in panic, and she confirmed that it was most likely a natural abortion based on my symptoms. I couldn’t stomach the fact and sit still in peace. I had to confirm my fears for good. My mother-in-law consoled me, and my husband took me to the furthest, largest, and the only hospital in town open on a Sunday. The tests proved that everything was normal, and my baby was fine. I knew what it was to be a mother then. I knew that my child was more than anything I could have ever asked and hoped for.
My daughter came into the world on the dot, her due date. I couldn’t sleep the first night. Partly, the fear of crushing my newborn thanks to being a heavy sleeper. But mainly because of the wonderment of the miracle that lay asleep like an angel next to me. I couldn’t take my eyes and hands off her. How motherhood changes you!
A lot has changed in a decade, and yet, a lot remains the same.
When did the tables turn?
When did my baby blossom into a mature, sensitive, and concerned tween?
She calls me to enquire about my whereabouts and safety. And then just like that, she’s the clingy, whiny baby who wants me to put her to bed and hug her tight till she drops off to sweet slumber. All my problems and sadness melt away when I hug her and lie down next to her. Sukoon!
My achievements and failures are immaterial to her. It’s my sheer existence that matters the most to her. And that kind of love is pure, unconditional, and divine. A blessing!
What motherhood has taught me is the golden lesson that living for others brings real joy and satisfaction. One need not give birth to a child to realize the joy that comes from living a life for others.
The essence of motherhood is present wherever there is a caregiver, volunteer, mentor, spouse, or anyone who puts the self out of their way and lives a rich, purposeful life, being of use to others around them, and society large.
My mother lives her life in the service of others. From my mother, I’ve learned the meaning of motherhood. I carry forward the legacy in full consciousness of the power, duty, and responsibility that comes along with the halo of motherhood. Being a mother is a profoundly enriching and satisfying experience, for which I am eternally grateful.
As I strum the strings of motherhood in the best way I know, I pray that my child will turn into the finest song that adds joy and meaning into the world.