Considering that pregnancy is perhaps the most natural occurrence in human life, it is surprising how stressful and exhausting dealing with it can be. For starters, no one warns you that even though it may be your body that is going through the process of growing a baby inside it, almost everybody else outside will have an opinion about how to go about it.
From the time you declare to the world (usually after the pre requisite three months waiting) that you are pregnant, advice comes along in the tonne-fuls. From what to eat, wear, look at, do, don’t… Lists keep pouring out of all well meaning adults. But the fun part is the pregnancy, when people still do treat you like a person – receptacle of growth that you are after all! The really trying part starts after the birth. When in a matter of a few hours you transform from the almost divine mother-to-be into the wasted, used bag lady who now has the onerous task of pulling back together all her innards while doubling up as the in house cow on demand.
Heaven forbid you rant and rave and have some problem with the all important ‘milk’. Now, not only will everyone have an opinion, they will have a ready remedy. While they may go on and on about the new mother needing rest – it won’t stop them from trooping right into your privacy with advice and then some more of it! And who doesn’t want to see/carry a newborn – especially if it is in the hours when other human beings are safely awake. Night times and colicky hours are strangely free of generous helping hands!
And then there are the rituals. Living in a country enlivened by its sense of ritual, it is difficult to get away from this one. Emotions run high – and heaven forbid you bring your child into a mixed culture marriage! Other than your wedding, childbirth is likely to be the other most stressful period in your life. Yes, and nobody warned you of that ( all they showed you was pictures of toothless babies bathed in white light!).
However, there is enlightenment still near. People are coming out more openly about their birthing experiences – warts and all. It is no longer taboo to admit to post-partum depression being brought on by overly solicitous relatives (it does happen!!), of feeling the pressure to ‘get back your body’ (whatever that means) and above all the big huge fraud factory of motherhood turning you into an automatic saint! Haha and ha! Far from.
I have just finished reading one such much needed book – ‘I’m pregnant not terminally ill, you idiot’ by Lalita Iyer, and cannot help but recommend it to all expectant and new mothers. I can only say that I wish I had read it before I had my first baby 😉 The book is a whiff of truth in a ‘Parenting’ books aisle crowded with the whites, blues and dulcet tones of a J&J ad. Go ahead and grab your copy – and don’t miss the opportunity to spread your story – the real messy one – in which a child comes into the world all 3+ kilos of sight, sound and earth shattering experiences!
Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai who also manages a parenting website: thechildrensdaily.net . With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago. You can connect with Nidhi @typewritermom , nidhibruce.com