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Pregnancy is filled with joy and longing but it is also driven by fear, the insurmountable instinct of a mother who can sense that her baby is in trouble.
I had my first experience with real fear when I was about 32 weeks pregnant. I use to wake up every morning, really looking forward to my baby kicking and somersaulting in there happily. But that one particular morning, I woke up to a small doubt tugging at my heart; something felt amiss. Thinking that my baby was probably sleeping longer than normal, I went about my chores; but soon, in spite of talking to him or trying to shift his position (he use to really dislike this and would always retaliate wholeheartedly), that small doubt turned into a full blown debilitating fear in a matter of just a few minutes: “My baby was not responding!”
I remember being completely devastated, unable to think. My heart had literally stopped beating and I could breathe just about enough to plead to my husband to talk to the baby and wake him up. That hadn’t helped either and that’s when I had hit the panic button. Our drive from home to the hospital had seemed endless. In that span of half an hour, my mind had conjured up a hundred scenarios, none of which seemed to have a happy ending. I remember controlling my tears, but had no control on my fears, because the baby still refused to move. It was the look of utter helplessness on my husband’s face and the amount he was swearing at people, while driving as fast as he could, that urged me to hang on to my control and not voice my worst fears.
As soon as I had reached the hospital, I kept repeating to the doctors, “My baby isn’t moving. My baby isn’t moving.” They had immediately taken me to the examination room and hooked me up to the monitors.
Thinking that my baby was probably sleeping longer than normal, I went about my chores; but soon, in spite of talking to him or trying to shift his position, that small doubt turned into a full blown debilitating fear in a matter of just a few minutes: “My baby was not responding!”
I have no words to describe my relief as I heard the baby’s heartbeat. That is when I finally let go of my self-control and let the tears of relief flow. I immediately urged the nurse to go inform my anxious husband that the baby looked fine. That day we found out that my blood pressure had shot up drastically, leading me into the preeclampsia state and if we wouldn’t have acted and I wouldn’t have been medicated, the baby’s life would have been in danger. The raised blood pressure in the mother renders the fetus drowsy, and this can be a slow death if the blood pressure is not controlled.
That was the first time I experienced fear as a mother. That was the first time it hit me what “being a mother” meant. It brought on another panic attack, which felt as if a fully blowing cyclone was sitting right there in the centre of my chest. It was extremely unnerving to know what all could go wrong with the baby in a fraction of time and it was even more scary to realise that as a mother, I now had to be aware of these numerous dangers lurking around every corner that I had to protect my child from. But I knew that as long as my baby was doing fine, I would have the strength and the ability to handle anything.
While bringing up our children, this aspect becomes such as integral part of our behaviour as mothers, that we never even spare a minute to think about it. “Constant vigilance” becomes the mantra of our lives! Whether our children are babies, or have babies of their own, I think we mothers are forever looking out to protect them. When they are very small, we are constantly vigilant about protecting them physically; and when they are grown up, we are still constantly vigilant about protecting them, but this time more mentally than physically.
So, here I’m today, applauding all the mothers who do and have done so much for their children, at the cost of their own peace of mind! Lets take a moment and pat ourselves on our backs for a job phenomenally done. I salute you all!
And if you must know, there is a happy ending here. It was this baby that compelled me to write ‘Confessions of a Tired Mother.’
Image via Shutterstock.
A doctor by profession and a freelance editor/writer by choice, I have a dream
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