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I used to take my birthday month very seriously and expected a gala time on the day. But one thought suddenly changed my mind. It helped me understand maa.
Very soon I will turn another year older. But this year, unlike the earlier birthdays of my life, I am not excited at all. On the contrary, I am strangely feeling different.
Lockdown in Singapore is tough, but that is not really the reason.
From the longest time that I can remember, I demanded a princess treatment from my parents on my birthday. I used to be super thrilled about my birthday month. And I made notes of what all I strongly desired for the entire year in my diary. As soon as my birthday month started to come closer, I would cajole my parents for the gifts from the list I had prepared.
Now that I am married, I pester my husband with unending demands for my birthday. This year too, I had asked him to pamper me to the fullest. I asked for gifts, surprises and cooked food with no return favours. Much to his distress, he had agreed to grant all my wishes.
Till date, I used to take my birthday month very seriously and expected a gala time on the day. But one thought suddenly changed my mind.
A few days ago, my mother sent me some of my childhood pictures. I found myself adorable, in lovely frocks, matching hairbands and handbags, all stitched by mom. For about a second I felt that the lady who was carrying me in the picture, looked terribly weak and weary.
‘Wait, is that my mom?’ I realised in shock. And I was so taken aback to see her that frail, I called her up with an urgency and ask what had happened to her then. Why did she look so weak? Over the call, she explained to me all the health issues she began having after delivering me.
The day my mother started to have the labour pain, itself was an eventful day for her. The pain started in the early morning hours on a Sunday, while there was as storm outside with heavy rains. It was the time when my dad owned a Vespa scooter and due to the rains he found it extremely difficult to find an auto to take mom to the hospital.
Somehow, they managed to reach the hospital, only to find that the staff was about to leave for a wedding function. Since my parents knew the doctor, he agreed to carry out the delivery. The nurses were visibly disappointed as they were ordered to get back to work, while they were all decked up to attend the function.
Nevertheless, problems seemed to just have begun. Due to complications during labour and delivery, the situation worsened to the extent that the doctors were not expecting a happy scenario.
After a long caesarian operation procedure, I was born but with breathing difficulties and perinatal depression. And thus, I was moved to an incubator. My parents said the doctors were afraid that during the delivery they would either lose me or mom.
And my mother clearly recalls the moment she was on her operation bed. She says, she knew things were not fine and she didn’t pause even for a second while praying for my health. Since then she has had few health issues.
After listening to all of this, it hit me hard that my birthday is not a special day for solely me. It is, in fact, a huge day for my mother too.
She had, in all way, literally, battled her way out of the excruciating pain without giving up. All this while, I was so concerned how to celebrate my first day on earth. Meanwhile, there she was, making me feel special and silently cherishing her delivery memories.
It is she who deserved all the princess treatment, the gifts and love, for nurturing me, for bringing me to the world, for caressing me and holding my hand forever.
I am sure, around the globe, there are numerous mothers with various labour complexity stories. This very thought has humbled me with a lot more affection towards not only my mother but to all the mothers in this world.
It is true that everyone’s birthday is also a significant day for the person’s mother. Therefore, I have thought of gifting my momma on my birthday, have you?
A version of this was earlier published here.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Ki And Ka
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As a Singapore based Senior Software Engineer, published co-author and a freelance writer, who
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