The Birth of a Parent

I was told on a cool December evening back in 1996, that I was pregnant.

The trip down from the clinic to the car was a very important one for me. The first few minutes after you discover that you are indeed carrying a life inside you has to be the scariest!

The Birth of a Parent, Jyothi Nair

I had taken care of my elder sisters’ children and was very good at being their Nanny and Aunt rolled into one. I knew how to carry them, make bottles of milk for them. I knew how to sterilize everything. I knew how to rock a crying baby to sleep. I was just 16 when my niece was born. That is a tender age to learn how to be a caretaker to a newborn. But I had mastered it. Or at least I thought I had!

I knew how to take care of a child once it is out in the world. I knew what diapers to buy, how to hold their head, how to bathe them even. But until the moment I realized that I was pregnant, I never knew what it was like to have a life blooming inside me.

The simple thought of stepping out of the lift onto the ground floor of the clinic building was a difficult one. I couldn’t move my legs. I was scared what if I move and something happens to my child. My husband had to hold my hands while I carefully stepped out off the lift. Paranoia? Yes, in it worst dose ever!

There is no logic in those moments and thoughts. There is only sheer joy, happiness and an unknown feeling of gratitude. A child is indeed a miracle. Even before it is fully formed inside you, it is a life. It is a huge responsibility in itself.

Nourishing that life with every breathing moment for nine months is not an easy task. I spent the first four months not being able to keep any food inside me. But I had to feed myself anyway. Hormones were going vary, vanity had gone for a toss, and I was living life from one moment to the next in pure exhaustion. The next three months brought visits to the doctor frequently for scans and tests.

After a few minor BP scares, a possible fibroid issue, the possible need for a caesarean, and a good 12 hours of labor, my son came into this world. What they say about the pain being worth, feeling your child in your arms is very true indeed. Totally clichéd phrase, but entirely true.

To add to the misery, I had my husband to my right and my mom to my left holding my hands through the entire ordeal. Both were in tears too. You would think they would cry when I am going through the pain. NO! They cried on seeing my son!

This year, my son celebrated his 15th birthday. Even today I am learning something new everyday. We fight over most issues from the day’s menu to the latest gadget that HAS to be bought.  We fight like enemies and make up like friends. Tempers and patience get tested almost every single day, mostly his temper and my patience. But at the end of the day, he goes into bed only after I tuck him in. Still!

That in some way gives me the satisfaction that though I know that I have made a whole lot of mistakes and I have a lot of regrets with the way my son and then later my daughter were brought up, I now know that I was not a complete failure. When my kids hug me before going to bed, and demand that this ritual be followed every single day, I feel that I have at some point in time done a few right things too.

If there is something that I have learnt in these 16 years of parenting, it is that with the birth of a child, a new set of parents are born too. Not everything you do will be correct and perfect in the eyes of everyone else. But it will be perfect for your child. That is what matters, because every child is different. There are bound to be mistakes. The idea is to accept them and move on to the next phase. We should always keep the children in the loop and never let them feel isolated in their own home.

In a recent movie, I remember Sridevi asking, “How can you teach a child to be compassionate?”. It is a very difficult thing to teach indeed. And if you have managed to instill that in your child, then I think that is a job well done.

Jyothi Nair lives in Dubai with her husband and her two teenagers. She is a stay at home mom at present. She is an Engineer by Profession and a Photographer by Passion. She blogs at Jyothi’s Musings and Jyothi’s Gallery.

  • Totally Agree. I was with my cousin sister ( born when I was 20 yrs old) right from the day she was born to she was 5 yr old (when I got married) . My friends used to tell me I can put in my matrimonial biodata that I have 5 yrs experience looking after a kid right from newborn stage. But When my turn came to be a mother, none of that experience came handy. It was overall a new experience.

    • Jyothi

      Very true Seena, nothing ever prepares you for the pain or the joy. 🙂

  • Swati Nitin Gupta

    Very good connect Jyothi. I am glad that I found this blogpost. Although each child is different and we as parents need to understand that there are grandparents who will never stop comparing the growing up kid either with their own kids/relatives kids or kids in the neighbourhood!

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Swati. The comparisons will always be there, not only by grandparents but by well wishers or even by us too. It is difficult to make the right choices at such times. As long as the child knows that we love them no matter what, every comparison or failure is just a stepping stone in the right direction.

  • very ture.. new parents are born with the kids.. we learn a lot through out.. yet there are so many things to unlearn too..

    • Jyothi

      Yes ashreyamom, indeed there is. I had unlearnt the meaning of a neat and tidy home during my kids growing years. Now I am trying to learn it again. 🙂

  • Very emotional and very well narrated…Could feel the thousand emotions…bursting simultaneously….

    thanks.

    • Jyothi

      Thank you for the compliment desi traveller. It was a trip down the memory lane and hence a bit too emotional for me. 🙂

  • I echo your sentiments. Well said 🙂

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Shail . 🙂

  • This was such a delightful essay. Especially the whole part about what you felt right after hearing the news about your pregnancy. I don’t think I have ever read any writing about the instant when a woman transforms into an expectant mother! 🙂

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Rickie. I am glad I wrote it then. 🙂 It was the most amazing feeling ever.

  • Rachna Parmar

    Awww. Nice one Jyothi! The experience is so thrilling and most of the cliches seem to come true, don’t they!

    • Jyothi

      Thank you, Rachna. Yes, they do! 🙂

  • rama

    Very true Jyothi, being a parent can only be felt by a mother, and the feelings described by you are feelings felt by all mothers. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Rama. I guess all mothers are basically alike. 🙂

  • You seem to have solved a riddle that has been fretting me since 1999, that is when I became a parent. Yes, I was reborn then, as a parent just as you say. And with that. maybe something slipped away forever!

    • Jyothi

      I am glad I was helpful, Umashankar. Life changes completely when kids are born. And now that the kids are old enough, life is changing again. Hopefully some things that slipped away can be brought back now. 🙂

  • Wonderful post, Jyothi! Especially the lines “a new set of parents are born too” so true!

    • Jyothi

      Thank You, Roshni. 🙂

  • Such a heartfelt post! Simply sweet. Just loved it. Isn’t becoming a mom a special feeling? I think only a woman can know it. When you said, we fight like enemies, How I agree with it. But within few minutes, everything washes away..that’s the beauty of motherhood.

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Latha. Yes, it is indeed a special feeling.

  • What an awesome narrative!! The flow of thoughts is so natural, as if each word is coming from the heart.

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Usha. It was an emotional post, I am glad you liked it.

  • Jas

    Beautifully narrated 🙂 heartfelt.

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Jas. 🙂

  • Hmmm well I think it is a great feeling bringing a new soul and you are responsible. .

    Don’t know what else to say

    • Jyothi

      Thank you Bikram. You said it well. 🙂

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