Hello Modern Day Mother,
Let me tell you a story first.
Once upon a time, there lived a woman on the periphery of a village. She was a pregnant widow from the lower caste. Those were the days before the term ‘Feminism’ was even coined. Those were the days when deliveries were a big event and would mostly be fatal if things went even a little haywire. Neither the society nor the medical science had progressed that far. Wailing in labour pain, that lonely woman, walked up to the border of the village and called out for the other women who could help her deliver. All the midwives rushed to her rescue, set up a labour room in her modest hut made of straw and mud. Finally, after battling with pain, she delivered a beautiful baby boy. As his first cry echoed in the room, her eyes welled up with tears of love and gratitude. She held him in her hands as his eyes shone with life.
Now let’s come to us:
Imagine her moment in the labour room and then imagine yours. An AC room, well equipped for an emergency; a qualified doctor and a loving husband. Some of us even got the stem cells secured for future emergencies. This is where we are – so very far ahead from where she was. And still, we feel vulnerable, lonely, defeated and over stressed. Imagine her stress – basic needs of survival were also a challenge. When compared to that, are challenges are more in the head than in existence.
These days we are more shackled by our thoughts. We are the most privileged generation of mothers so to say. We chose what to wear, what to study, who to marry, when to plan a baby, what to name the baby, which product for the baby, which school and so on. Then what’s the problem? The problem is that we are spoilt for choices and then pressured by judgements of the others. Judgements which are unsolicited and shouldn’t matter to us. But somehow matter the most.
Our plethora of choices:
A mother has the choice whether to work or not to work after her baby. And if work, then whether full time or part time. And if part time, whether from the office or from the home. And if from home, whether trusting the baby with the family members or with the nanny. And if the nanny, whether a full time nanny or a part time nanny. And with all these options, whatever she eventually opts for, there will always be some eyebrows that will be raised. Someone, somewhere is going to pass a judgement and label you ‘not an ideal’ mother.
Then what really is our problem?
And it is this impractical race to be the IDEAL mother that is driving the modern day mother insane. It is not only stressing her and tiring her out but also leading her to negativity and self doubt. Why? Why bother with what they think? Who are these people?
Forget and ignore them. And then turn to yourself and ask these questions:
If you are so busy checking out what’s the latest trend with children on Instagram, do you then actually pay attention to what the child or his body is trying to tell you?
Are the naturally gifted faculties of mothers instincts still functioning in you if you are more worried about your flabby tummy compared her back-to-shape body?
If you always hear to what your mother in law is trying to tell you with the filter of prejudice on and ignorant of the love hidden in the advice, are you then doing justice to your own self?
Aren’t you losing out on the knowledge of some age old trick that could someday actually come to your rescue when the conventional medicines would fail? Simple things like cough and cold can be healed with ‘Nani ke nuske’ so easily that you will hardly need to see your paediatric doctor who could write down a couple of doses of some godforsaken medicine you don’t even know the formula and application for. Whereas your mother could probably explain with her raw logic what hing does to the belly button and what ajwain does to the nose.
Decoding the bigger problem:
Let me reintroduce you to these three terms – Necessity, Comfort and Luxury. When you start misunderstanding luxury for necessity, that’s when you start taking all the wrong decisions. Shah Rukh Khan once said, “Don’t reduce your expenses. Increase your income.” Now this mantra must have worked for him and we can clearly see that. But not all mantras are for everyone. Imagine a new mother confusing her priorities. Just imagine a mother giving more importance to a fancy baby powder costing in thousands more importance that creating a bond with the child through breast feeding which is priceless.
A modern mother is more confused and stressed than the previous generation because she is constantly being pulled by two opposite schools of thoughts. Money versus love. Career versus care. Self versus the child. It was when a mother started seeing herself as a separate being from her creation is when all the problems around the world multiplied. This statement of mine, may initiate a very different feminism debate. That’s not the plan. The question is simple –
What if your Creator(God) started looking for His journey, His me-time and His life before His children’s; who will the world look up to as God then?
We are the most privileged lot of mothers who were not forced into child marriage or made pregnant right after puberty. We took our time, lived our dreams, married the man of our choice and one fine day will fully decided to start a family. Then, at least when the child is vulnerable and needs us so badly, we must be available in our full being. Leave your job and sit at home – that’s definitely not what I am saying. Do your job, take out time for yourself, but in the moments with the child, be there – in the moment, fully conscious of what’s there in front of you. Know your child, know their insides, see them mould and understand their strengths. Be the presence that soothes them as well as empowers them. And when they smile back at you – see how it energises you’re whole system. Not once will you feel guilty or sad or what they call post-partum depression.
Look back in time and you will learn that women those days devoured their children because they were their only windows to happiness, making them forget all the pains (physical or emotional) that they were going through. Why have we reversed the order? Why have we become people who could surrender to that level of darkness where they could hate their own children? If you tell some old granny that today women face a condition where after delivery they sometimes get so depressed that they even hate the site of their new born child; she could die of shock and disappointment. But these things do happen to people. And I can’t explain why. And it is for real. Women are suffering in many ways – mostly not this intensely. But something is wrong. Not with the particular person. But with the society as whole.
Hence, we must work upon ourselves to be more blissful from within because only we can help ourselves. And trust me, our children will turn out to be fine. Even if they don’t go to the same school as your rich cousin’s child, it’s ok. Even if they don’t score that well in exams as your neighbour’s child, it’s ok. Even if they are not conventionally good looking, it’s ok. Because lately we get worked up about things like accents, activities, brands and Taimur’s life – so much so that we have forgotten that these are beautiful children who need love and warmth and nothing else matters.
P.S. If you, who are reading it, has had a really tough pregnancy, delivery or post delivery experience and find my article insensitive; I would like to apologise to you. This is not about you, but for all those who didn’t face half as much as you did and yet chose to crib and compare instead of love and care.