Everyone around seems to make babies. Those who sleep and eat on the open roadside make them in dozens. And what’s the big deal – they’ll grow up only to become another you or another me, or worse still, another of that guy who we together spent hours cursing at. Yes babies are cute, we love to cuddle them but isn’t that true for a puppy as well for that matter..?. so, what’s so special?
Not that I kept exploring this question beforehand– it was not worth such attention as well. Well, to me it generally seemed more obvious than not to have a baby or two, just the way it is about getting married (within or beyond time..). To elaborate on this thought, just the way it seems normal to me that I have all who I have in my family, I am also meant to have kids. And unlike the other ones, this last one needs some conscious decision-making and effort from my side and I am game for it. And, if I so chose to, I would rather choose an age that suits it well - the statistics of new moms at the wrong side of 30 look a lot less impressive than the ones on this side. With such thoughts, and notwithstanding the implications this might have when my promotion seems just round the corner or when I have already spent years pushing myself but not making it to the gym next door and this time I almost really planned to set myself right (in honor of that pretty off-shoulder gown I bought but never wore), I set out for the journey to become a mom myself… And whoa!
Yes, the reports said it’s positive, and with time my tummy said it too, and the guy at the medical shop would give funny looks when I went back to him the n-th time to buy yet another test-pack at even fifth month running- I just could not sink in the news for months together! At the doc’s chamber, she made me hear some faint galloping sounds and said those are her real heartbeats, and that it was a unique time that I had two hearts beating inside me. And thanks to the world-wide cobweb that sticks us so close in this world of tooth’n’nail.. I sat up in the nights browsing for more n more facts. They told me when the little one grew to almost an inch (oh my god, so big!) and when the cells multiplied to become a node (that was meant to turn into an arm) and another (why, elbow!) and yet many more (forgot the fingers?). They kept telling me about her, that she now has a little fist and tiny eyes (while the eyelids were yet to come, she seemed pretty even without them) and how she is learning to swim about inside me. The scans at the radiologist’s showed how she peacefully slept during the early weeks, and then how she blinked her eyes and moved her lips when they peeped into her private space with the rays, and even gave us pictures of her face weeks before she made her way to the world. And at all times she would kick me into doing and not doing things at her will, and find a way to let me know if she likes my idea when I share it with her. And so many things more, as she slowly (damn slowly, it took her full forty weeks) grew into how we finally saw her when we did.. tiny little creature, however a real and complete human being! She had all the four limbs, all ten fingers and ten toes, and so on, and then opened her eyes to look around and then fixed her gaze on me.. and smiled!
Another experience that I had but did not know how to express in words, until I actually gathered myself to sit and write this down.. was when she was delivered. After a very long pain-bearing, while the sun set and rose and went to set again, the doc (who I love!) took me away to operate upon. While she first promised to let me be consciously present (by numbing only the downside), I kept feeling things and she had to put me to sleep with intervention. And I profusely thank her for that, even though it meant I met my baby not immediately at her birth, and I will tell you why. The medication provokes visuals (I confirmed with my doc later on, to ensure I was not momentarily insane), and I was hallucinated for those few minutes that I was through giving birth. I felt I was god! I had a warm illumination around me - a halo, and there was a sea of people in front of me (like the famous “Brigade Chalo” posters I grew up on) bowing down to me… and as I was quietly smiling (I actually was, unconsciously, my hubby told me later), I heard Ani’s voice… “Can you hear me? It’s a girl. It’s a beautiful li’l girl!” And I blinked, half-asleep, to tell him “got you!” … and when I could finally open my eyes, I looked at her, she looked back and smiled, and I just knew it – I am hooked for the rest of my life!
And now when she coos, learns to turn to one side first and then a full turn over, smiles and giggles all the while I am with her, and raises her legs and arms to coax me into picking her up, and refuses eye-contact or a smile hours together when I come back to her, guilty of being away for a long day’s work (that wrenches my heart, and feels lot stronger than those past times of “does he, does he not” dilemmas if I may compare them!)… May the world forgive me (and the other fellow moms) when I say I can’t hold the pride and excitement and let loose on showing her off to the world.
At least I assure you, it is the one most genuine side of us. When we see pictures of college gangs, arm-in-arm, who knows there may be some in the lot who call another a bitch! When we see extended family gatherings posted, we can’t be sure they won’t fight for properties! We see happy lovers on display of their bonding, let us wish them endurance so that they keep being happy the same way all through. Marriages - we can only hope that they’re really made in heaven! Honeymoons.. may they last for their lifetimes. But becoming and being a mom, I tell you!!!!
And… not the least, a big thanks Ritu for provoking me to actually sit up and write down this one.. I don’t believe this myself! Immature attempt I know but a solace, somehow since ’99 I haven’t really believed I could write up anything worthier than bullet points!