Amidst all that could possibly stress me about my pregnancy; my dear mother decided to organise a ‘Shrimant’ (Baby Shower as known in ‘Gujratis’) to bless her daughter ie. me and the to-be-born grandchild. Me and my husband had declared very early in the pregnancy that we will skip the Godhbharai function, but she was adamant and got her way out of it. It finally happened yesterday – not too pompous but enough fun and flare attached!! All the usual drama that is associated with any Indian function was there – the catering, the tents, the gifts, the invitations, the puja, the decoration, the dressing up, the mehendi, the fruits, the the sweets and a lot of talking and gossiping!!
Somewhere in our culture, we have lost the true importance of our ceremonies. There the Pandit is trying to chant some occasion appropriate mantras to empower and bless you, and right there in the background you can hear aunties chattering merrily about the latest fashion trends or their annoying daughter in laws or someone’s weight gain or who is going to gift what and why… This inappropriate behaviour of the people present, has made even these pandits very commercial minded – they know no one is really paying attention – they could merrily pretend to chant very elaborate mantras or simply say whatever they feel like – who is watching anyways!! Ceremonies are no longer about the right mantras or their chanting and getting blessings from the Universe – it is all about flaunting your jewellery, your clothes, eating fancy menus and comparing envelopes.
Last two days before the final day, having to overlook all the preparations and playing a good host to all my cousins who had come down from other cities – took its toll on my body. Suddenly, the night before the ceremony, I felt tired like hell – wanting to just lie down and even in the lying down position felt like my muscles were tearing apart with pain. And then, I almost felt like I couldn’t feel the baby for a few hours – it didn’t move, it didn’t kick – all I could feel was a hard stomach. I called my hospital and a senior nurse attended my call at the other end. I asked her about the doctor and told her what was happening. She asked me if I could feel the movements and I told her I couldn’t. She immediately felt she should press the panic button and asked me to call the doctor immediately. He spoke to me rather calmly and asked me if I could get admitted for two days. It was almost midnight and early morning I had this big function awaiting me. Nothing could or should have gone wrong then!! I told him my situation. He asked me to relax and concentrate. If I could feel the movements in a bit then I could stay home. But if even a little pain shot up or I didn’’t feel any movement for an hour or have some different kind of discharges – I would not have a choice and will have to get admitted giving the ceremony a miss. My heart was pumping faster – I had to calm it down first. Nothing could have possibly gone wrong with my child I convinced myself. And then tried to relax and concentrate. And there, after the longest five minutes of my life, it finally felt – a hard kick near the belly button. And I sighed in relief. It was a sign things were still fine!! I just simply went off to sleep praying. That night passed by without me even realising it. I woke up super early and could feel continuous movements inside me. I was feeling better. Though my body was aching a lot and it was raining outside – I felt a sense of peace and was looking forward to the day ahead.
Time passed by, we all got ready in time for the puja, the Panditji came on time and it all went by rather very smoothly. Once the tents were up, it wasn’t raining anymore. All the guests were there. The catering came on time and the food was rather tasty. We all laughed and smiled and posed and looked beautiful. And for a few hours I simply forgot that the previous night had been such a personal adventure for me.
Later that evening I had an appointment with the Doctor. He made me hear the sounds in the placenta and the baby’s heartbeats. Everything was pretty much normal – no signs of any possible danger. We discussed the previous night in detail. He concluded and I confessed that I agreed – that I just panicked in my tiredness. All this pressure of having a great show at the ceremony had got on to me and exhausted me in ways my body was currently not in the position to handle. He smiled and punched in a dialogue, “Keep all these pujas for the time when the baby is out… Rest and relax… Let the baby come out safely first…” I simply smiled as I couldn’t agree more.
On our way back from the clinic, I rested my head on my husband’s shoulder. This was our first experience of such a panic situation together – as parents I mean. It is something that is going to go down in history… One day, when my child will grow up, I will tell him or her this story and explain how strong was that fear of loss and how deeply I loved him or her even then….