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.