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Indians often believe that being a parent, especially being a mother, is more important than the closeness of a being a couple, but your connection as a couple will do wonders for the child, believe me.
When we talk of motherhood, a lot is said and written about the labour pain, delivering a healthy child, mother-child bond and child’s development. The cause of all this – the bond and intimacy between husband and wife – is often ignored once the child is born.
Once the child comes into the world it gives birth to a mother and a father. These new relationships take a toll on their existing roles as life partners.
My journey as a new mom began close to 3 years ago. I am reminded of a Marathi Proverb that says – ‘Stree hi kshnachi patni ani anantkalchi mata aste’ (A woman is a wife for a moment and mother for all her life….)
My husband and I have been married for more than two years, in a traditional ‘arranged marriage’, mutually agreed upon by us. I was about 27 years old, and had already lived in many cities in India, enjoyed my life to the fullest. My husband was about 30 years, settled in his professional life, and and enthusiastic trekker.
One major factor which brought us together was our ease of communication. I could discuss anything under the Sun with him without being judged.
A couple of years later, came the ‘good news’, and it changed our lives completely, for the better, I would say. Our families were delighted and I became a ‘queen’ overnight. My husband made sure that I have a memorable journey to motherhood in all possible ways. That night when my son was born, we both were together holding him tightly weaving many dreams
Taking care of a newborn is tiring and mentally devastating sometimes. I was in a different world, physically as well as emotionally, tired almost all times. My husband was however, always there with me, holding my hand at every juncture; be it breastfeeding, vaccinations, sleepless nights … all of it.
I started working when my son was 7 months old, and my workload increased.
Being a researcher wasn’t easy after a maternity break. I used to stand for the entire day, and walked more than 12000 steps, rushing between instruments. I had to read a lot, to keep myself updated and plan efficient experiments.
I used to rush back home to rest, but I was welcomed by a toddler full of energy, all ready to play with me. He slept through the night only after 33 months, making me a zombie due to lack of sleep everyday. My husband took care of my child till I finished household chores, bathed him, dropped him to playschool, and would take him to a doctor too. But still, I never had me time, and was always busy in some or the other work. My husband and I hardly had time to talk to each other – forget about any intimate moments together.
There came a day after 2 and half years of being parents, when surprisingly my husband turned up at my office and we went for lunch together. We spoke at length for a long time after ages, and I suddenly realised what was missing in my life.
I remember his words. “Don’t become a superwoman, Dear. You are the best mom our son can get, the best wife I can ask for. You are an amazing daughter and daughter in law. But you have stopped being you in last few years. We have stopped communicating, and it will be deadly for our bond. I know you are overburdened but let us try taking out time for us. Let us take a day off, keeping our son with my mom. I will try my level best to give you free time during a week so that you can do what you want. You will be refreshed and stop being stressed.”
Later that day, suddenly my mother in law planned a trip to her native place with my son for 2 days. I wasn’t sure if my son will be ok being away from me, but still decided to let them go.
I and my husband got the opportunity to stop being parents for some time. How amazing was the feeling… we did all crazy things like before. I loved that time.
My son enjoyed the company of a grandmother in the village. We both were refreshed after a break with each other. My husband kept his promise, he started managing his work to give me some time for my own. I started watching a series online every weekend for an hour. It was great!
Later that year, my entire family along with my son, except for me, went on a vacation. Though I hated it and I cursed my boss all the time for not giving me leave, I was ‘home alone’. I got 3 full days to myself. I missed them, but enjoyed being just myself. Surprisingly.
I now feel like thanking my boss for not giving me leave. We have decided to take such breaks at least once an year, and my family has supported it.
It was almost like a battle in my mind: choosing between a child, the family, and my husband…
I realized that keeping the bond between my husband and me intact is a primary requirement for well being of our child. We have been trying to make a conscious effort to share our lives in a few such moments in spite of all the responsibilities, workload and chaos.
An energetic toddler at home is always happy to see his mom and dad well connected to each other. Communication indeed is a key for a relationship, especially after a child. What if my husband wouldn’t have taken a step to tell me we need to work on us as a couple?
So all new moms and dads, don’t get carried away with the guilt of leaving your child. It’s ok if you make mistakes, can’t attend some function at home, or can’t cook one day. Your child will not judge you for this. Talk as much as you can. Remember that your relationship will give a perspective of life to your kid.
I have learnt to accept my shortcomings as a mother and stopped stressing about my child every time. I now strive hard to make my home a peaceful place by valuing my people in it (even is that means leaving a pile of clothes unfolded).
Image source: shutterstock
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