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What does it mean to be a mother? Becoming a mother is a process of finding your own strengths, says this deeply personal account.
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God cannot be with all of us and he sent his representative in the form of ‘Mother’ – caring, loving, inspirational, still as water, strong as rock, and everything to her kids. I always say that I understand my mother more only after being a mother. What does it take to be a Mother? I had no answers until I underwent the process of carrying a life within me and bringing that life into this world.
It was on the 20th of March, 2013, that our little angel was supposed to make an entry into this world. But she didn’t turn up, thinking that it wasn’t an appropriate day. At around 0030 hours, my water broke and I knew that she has decided to step into this world. What I feared the most during pregnancy was the painful labour, and now, it was actually happening to me!
Those contractions, irregular, but sharp and painful, were preparing me mentally for the most painful and tumultuous event in my life. With the detectors on my belly which monitored her heartbeats, I was thinking about that day when I saw that faint pinkish line turning red, declaring my pregnancy – which left me surprised, excited, elated and confused. Has this really happened to me? Am I really pregnant? Am I ready for the baby? Will I really fare well? How will I deal with the labour pains?
Coming back to reality, the contractions were getting regular and frequent, with more pain. I clenched my husband’s (KS) left arm and my aai’s left wrist. As soon as I was in the second stage of labour, I was moved to the maternity suite. In that pain and anxiety I didn’t bother to note or appreciate the sophisticated suite. The midwife, Nazma, assured me that it will be fine, and so did aai and KS. I certainly knew it wasn’t going to be easy-peasy.
During my pregnancy, I never dared to watch any video of child-birth, and now I was actually undergoing one. With KS’s support I was walking in the suite, sweating constantly, and screaming with every contraction. KS made sure that he was soothing me, spraying cold water on my face and dabbing it with a flannel. He suggested I inhale the gas, and with the TENS machine taped on my back he took control of the remote.
I suddenly became concerned about me, my pain, and didn’t think about our baby…
For the last 2 hours I was still in the second stage – dried lips, drained, and always questioning Nazma, “When will she come out”? By now, my excitement of meeting our angel was on a decline. I suddenly became concerned about me, my pain, and didn’t think about our baby – she too was undergoing the complicated process of birth, she was struggling with me.
The pains became more frequent and I was dilating more and more. With 3-4 contractions per minute, Nazma told me that I was in the ‘third stage’. The baby will soon be out and ‘pushing hard’ is the key. I took her words seriously and started pushing hard. However ready I was with my hospital bags, however hard I had practiced the breathing techniques, however long those miles of evening walks were to ease the labour; at the time of delivery, I felt helpless and absolutely unprepared!
I questioned Nazma about when the baby would arrive. Nazma smiled and said, “she will, when she wants to”. I swore to myself that I won’t ever plan a second baby. This is it! In the depths of my heart I apologized to aai silently, for all those curt answers, for being a difficult kid which she didn’t deserve.
With every push I wanted to make some progress, and I was determined – realising that I was still not getting used to these labour pains. Suddenly, Nazma said that she could see the head of the baby with a tuft of black hair. It was a relief, and I smiled meekly. With more determination, I worked harder on every contraction. KS was constantly spraying water and aai was holding my hand, assuring me that it will be fine.
It was 6 in the morning, and though determined, I realized I was completely drained! Nazma said that her shift changes at 8 am and she would like to see the baby before that. I was completely dilated and very soon the baby would be with us. Hours flew and it was now 7:50 am. Katie and Villi joined Nazma for the shift change. Katie was happy to see the forehead of the baby by now. Tall, fair, short black hair, in her mid 50’s, dimpled smile, and a husky voice – I still remember Katie clearly.
She assured me that 15 minutes more, and it will be done. With every contraction, Katie came to me and screamed “push hard, push hard, push hard”.
Pink, so little, soft as cloud, a dream come true, and a mission accomplished!
It was 8:00 am. Completely drained, dried lips, and tired – I was waiting for the next contraction, and so was Katie. With my mouth shut, breathed-in air, jaw over jaw, closed fists, and with Katie cheering me, – this time I really pushed hard, and it happened. She was out in this world at 8:02. Quickly wiped and wrapped, our baby was in my arms. Pink, so little, soft as cloud, a dream come true, and a mission accomplished!
The pushing hard business led to a third degree tear and I was taken to the OT. There I was, laying on a stretcher with anaesthesia, having lost all the senses; still, no pain, relaxed and awake. After an hour, exhausted and with a puffed face, I was in the suite with our angel.
I met her after 9 long months on 21st March, 2013 and also met myself – stronger, tolerant and patient! Though the anguish and horror is soon forgotten when the baby is in your arms, labour pain is supposed to be the most painful event of a human life. I realised that I was lucky to have my mother and husband during the labour (MIL and SIL together at this event is a rarity), with all facilities in place. My heart went out for those underprivileged women who never had/have such facilities. Hats off to them!
It takes a lot of courage, patience, consistency, and determination to be a mother. Born once as a daughter and now born again as a Mother to our daughter – this time I survived the painful, witnessed the beauty of being a mother, and realized that I could dare to do all this only because I am a woman. I’m proud to be a woman.
I have always loved writing and strongly believe that writing can create social awareness . I love writing blogs and want to write a novel someday. I also feel strongly about woman and her social emancipation read more...
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A feminist man sometimes seems like an oxymoron, but maybe there are some out there. How is it to be married to a feminist man?
How is it to be married to a feminist man?
This is a working list. Will keep adding to it.
Do you also have a feminist man at home? And if yes, what is it to be married to him? Do share.
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Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
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