The First Real Moment When I Became A Mother

Never say never.

These words have never made more sense to me than in the week that just went by. Truth is, you never can say how and where life surprises you. Trust me, I know and perhaps you do too.

There are paths you plan to traverse in this journey called life. I'm no different either hence there has always been a vague blue print of things I wanted from life, still do. Of-course, destiny would perhaps have served me better if I had made these plans a wee bit more seriously. Well, anyways. 

In my grand scheme of things though motherhood had never really made the cut. Truth be told, I never thought I would ever grow up and being a mother was the grown up thing to do. But grow up I did and on 14th November this year, I became a mother to an adorable little baby girl. Oh! boy, there's no turning back now, is there?

I had always seen my colleagues and friends talk about pregnancy and motherhood with exceptional zest which made me wonder if that is exactly how I would feel when at the same juncture in life. Their lives seemed to change overnight and all they could talk, think and probably even write about was either their pregnancy or motherhood. So, I was curious how I would react because I knew I lacked in this aspect. I never really thought I could feel so deeply about being a mother as these women did.

And then I found out I was pregnant.

I was happy, no doubt, because it was something S and I had planned, even the time in our lives, everything to the tee really. But somehow like the other women I had seen from close quarters, pregnancy didn't overpower the other aspects of my life. I carried on in much the same way as earlier. Being pregnant wasn't the only thing that was in my mind, which actually made me wonder if I was missing some kind of sensitivity chip. Or, even if I had it in me to be a parent, a mother. But knowing me, I guess that was expected. 

Every other pregnant friend or acquaintance of mine always seemed focused only on that one thing during those 9 months, which was on being pregnant. Somehow, I never behaved that way. And would you believe me, I continued working till the very day that my water broke. So, up until the very last moment I didn't know if I had it in me to feel how a mother actually feels.

And then she arrived. 

From the moment I was pregnant, I knew I wanted a girl. Call me biased, but the heart wants what the heart wants. But lying in the labor room I actually couldn't feel a thing when she was finally out. After going through so much pain, all I was feeling was a strange numbness. It was an out of body experience really. I could see the doctors and nurses talking, a doctor checking on my baby girl, S almost in tears and the entire room busy in some kind of slow motion. It took some time for the realization to dawn that I had had a baby girl. I was relieved, not to mention extremely happy but did I feel motherly, I couldn't say.

What is this feeling of being a mother? When do you actually become a mother? Does it happen as soon as you give birth or way before that?

The rest of the day went by coming to terms with the fact that we were now a family of three. Good wishes kept pouring in, friends and relatives kept visiting and this was how it was for three to four days. Some sort of sleepless nights, getting accustomed to a new routine and a new life that we had to now take care of, that was all that occupied our minds. Or, rather we were just going through the motions without brakes.

We had become parents, all planned and executed like we wanted. But had we become parents really?

On the fifth day, when we took our baby girl for a new born screening test, that is the day when we probably became parents for the first time. At least, I felt I became a mother at that moment. She had to be admitted for photo therapy for 24 hours since she had jaundice. 24 hours in NICU without us. She had to be kept there alone, with her eyes covered under ultra violet light which would reduce her bilirubin levels. Now, this is a very common condition for new-borns and the rational me would have repeated the same thing over and over again had it been with someone else. But something happened and I couldn't bear the thought of letting her out of my sight. I just couldn't.

Seeing her in that NICU where I had to ask permission to even visit her broke my heart. How would I spend 24 hours without her? When would the levels decrease? Why did it have to be my daughter? Why couldn't it have just happened to me? Was it something I neglected that led to this? How would she stay there alone in the NICU? Who would feed her?

Somewhere in the midst of all these questions and countless tears, I became a mother. That was the day I realized that I'm just like every other mother. I can't bear the thought of being away from my child especially when she is sick. Yes, that was when I became a mother for the very first time.

This feeling is unlike any other I have experienced so far. I haven't been so restless and helpless ever in my life. I pride myself in being strong in the face of difficulties and tough times. I can run around taking care of my loved ones when they are sick and never show my vulnerable side. But this time, it was as if a wall had suddenly broken and all I had remaining within me were tears, fear and the longing for my baby girl to be in my arms.

That's when I took my first real step into motherhood.

As I type this, she is asleep next to me. We still have to do a test three days later to ascertain if the jaundice is completely gone and within control. I just hope it is because I don't want any harm to come to her. Even the thought of her being sick is something I don't want to entertain. I guess that's what being a mother is all about, isn't it?

Before you go tell me when was the first time you realized you had actually become a parent?

Labels: , ,