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After my daughter was born, I went through a lot – mentally and physically. But I came out of it, stronger and with newer life lessons!
Mind and body. How co-related and profusely intertwined are these terms! So much that you forget your inner self.
Since my childhood, I have been an active person. Not athletic or born with supreme immunity, but active. Almost every day, I mostly walk around 10,000 steps and I’ve had the quality walking capacity since I was a kid.
I walk while I talk on the phone, and I hate sitting. And thanks to my high anxiety levels, I am usually on the go! The reason my house is always clean is that I can’t sit. My ex-roommates can vouch for my cleanliness freak mode. After all, they are the ones who came up with my nickname – ‘chota battery.’
Honestly, it’s not a boon, it’s a hurdle. You get a lot of work done when you have your mind and body aligned and focused on work, for example, writing. One needs to be physically and mentally prepared, on the desk, for that piece of rhythmic writing. I have to work to get into a focus position to work. Now, that’s the body bit, don’t get me started on the mind.
I can’t stop thinking. My mind works while I eat, talk, meditate, write, and even when I watch a movie. It basically works all the time! I wish I had an off button, but I have none!
At a given time, during a conversation, if you ask me what I am thinking, I can talk about a parallel thought which was running in my head. It’s chaotic up here, and it exhausts me. My mind repeals focus. Total machhi bazaar!
Anyway, seven years ago, I thought becoming a mother will be lenient on my body, if not very easy for me. I mean, a majority women have gone through it and aced it. So, I thought I would be able to do it too!
But when it started, it was a mess. I have already spoken about how nausea-infused my pregnancy was, but due to the project, home and team shift for me, the nine months crawled. They didn’t run because I felt the whole duration.
But the time I remember most is the time after giving birth. It was the time when I was at my lowest. I had lost a lot of strength and blood along with the placenta.
For the initial days after child-birth, I was yellow! While I had a normal delivery, which was considered normal, Mysha was delivered with the help of forceps and that gave me 14 stitches. Don’t ask me why my gynaecologist felt that was helpful. The stitches took their own time to heal and my mental health refused to align with my body.
Four months! It took me four months to get my normal walk back. A part of me was convinced that I would never be able to walk the same way again. Though I talked, laughed, and followed the routine, I was severely depressed. I thought I was stronger, compared to most.
It was almost midnight on January 28, 2012, when, in the frigid temperatures, Shahzeel and I landed in London. We were relocating from India, so you can imagine mental and physical baggage we hauled on our shoulders. Our homesick hearts weighed more than the four life-size suitcases weighing almost 23 kgs each.
Catering to the latter, we took a tube from the airport to the Oxford station. Now, London is known for its iconic ‘almost-vertical’ staircases. When we gazed at them from the bottom, they seemed to merge with the sky. Yup! That tall.
Another iconic discovery we made that night at that London Underground was the missing escalators. To cut the story short (I know I am late), at some point, we decided to manually lift those four suitcases, one at a time, all the way up! He took one up and asked me to wait so he could come and fetch another. But I couldn’t wait, so I shared the load by carrying two, much to his discomfort.
I vividly remember the moment of feeling the 23 kgs of weight in my hands and climbing the endless vertical stairs. And almost mentally quitting and lifting each second till I made it to the top and thought, ‘Wow! I am strong. And I can do this!’
That’s when he told me, ‘If your lower back kills you later, don’t complain.’ He was making me aware that I weighed 47 kgs and carried 23 kgs.
I could bear challenging weights and hold planks and stayed in a small frame. All that worked for me until my daughter’s 3.05 kgs in my arms till 5 AM every night (walking and putting her to sleep) got to me.
In the initial months, I remember always being low on energy and appetite. I broke down multiple times, contemplating, telling myself, “I’m not cut out for this. I can’t do this. Motherhood ain’t for me.”
Still uncommon and unheard, but sustaining an inter-faith marriage, (that too saffron and green) was easier than birthing and raising a child when there are four born every second, around the world!
A day that I will never forget happened two months after she was born. I was sitting on my doughnut cushion on the sofa at home, watching TV. My stitches made me sit on doughnut cushion if I had to sit for too long. That was when I felt the need to hydrate my body.
A bottle was placed a little out of my reach on the walnut-coloured centre table in front of me. All I had to do was reach out to it, and I kept thinking I need to, but my body physically refused to do so.
I felt so helpless, so ‘bebas’ at that hour! For the first time in my life, I was unable to bring my body together to collect water. I could not pick my hand weight, forget lifting 350 grams of a water bottle. And I sat there pondering, is this what it will be now? I had hope clenched in my fist, but then time, and again, it left my corner.
Very vividly, I remember those days when I sat with her at home looking at the clock, which said 7 PM and an eternity went by, and it said 7:30 PM. They said having a child will change your life, and it did, but they never said how!
I thought I would never get out of it, and I wanted my child to grow up fast. People often say, “Bachhe kab bade hotey hai pata hi nahi chalta”. I did not say that as I felt that time. Now that she is a grown-up, I often contemplate why I felt the other way round. It’s pretty simple, actually – What holds for one, can never be the same for the other!
I was so broken in the first year of parenting that when I bound, I glued stronger! And I always claimed that I am on my foot all day long, till she came, and I could not bend to grab a water bottle.
I guess, when you fall harder, you rise stronger, and even if not ‘stronger,’ you do rise. Stronger is always debatable!
Of course, your family binds you, gives you perspective, and open new avenues, but nothing makes you stand up more than you!
What I did forget at those testing times is hawa apna rukh badal deti hai.
Today as I sit in my backyard post trying some acro-yoga with her, I can’t help but reminisce the days left behind. I thought I was not cut out for her, and here we are cutting edges with our moves.
Life is so unpredictable! I thought my academic ladder and placement would be a roadblock, but, somehow it accelerated. Then, I thought that my marriage would act as a thrust on me due to its out-of-the-box quotient, but that sailed without oars. But then, something as vanilla (in plain book terms) as raising a child, drowned me and enveloped me with all possible shortcomings.
Then again, life has its ways to teach you – it’s not the same for all! There is no mould to its dealings, and no two souls will deal with the same milestone the same way. That’s how humans get so many stories because they all are so different, and hell yeah, so amazing.
Picture credits: YouTube
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