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Every day in motherhood is like reading a new book. We never know what it would reveal to us. Exploring is the best phase filled with joy for all mothers. It is indeed like taking the unknown path, but travelling along with your kid gives in more confidence to face whatever may come in the way.
“It’s a girl!”
I read the WhatsApp message from my bestie Kavya and literally jumped in joy. Her pain and agony for ten long years has finally come to an end. I wanted to immediately call her but then felt that she needed space for some days to settle with the little one.
After two weeks, I had finally decided to drop in to meet her and the new princess. She stayed in her house and only after a month she decided to move to her mother’s house. The reason she stated was that all her husband’s relatives were to visit the baby and they did not want to travel to her mother’s house because it was a bit far.
She looked tired and from her eyes I could sense something was not right. Her husband looked bright and happy. Many possibilities were popping into my mind.
“Were her in-laws not happy because it was a girl child?” – It can’t be that because she has two sisters-in-law who in turn had a daughter each. Along with their families, they had travelled to their brother’s house.
“Maybe the baby was underweight?” – Again I brushed off the thought because I remembered her saying the baby weighed 3 kgs.
Smiling wide and nodding at her relatives, finally, I managed to pull her aside into the bedroom. After ensuring the windows were also closed, I asked her.
“I understand you feel weak and tired but tell me is there something else bothering you?” I asked, point-blank.
She opened the wardrobe and showed me two bags. I saw a set of baby dresses and some towels in it. They looked old. Though neatly folded, I knew they were used ones.
A few drops escaped her eyes. I was taken aback.
“The bags were given by his sisters. The clothes belong to their kids. They want my baby to wear the same.” She spilled.
The dresses were at least five years old. The other set was seven, calculating from the kid’s age.
“Why?” I asked, holding her by the shoulder
“I don’t know. They said something about passing it on from siblings.”It never made any sense to me. All three of them were well settled and so were their spouses. Then what is the need to make a baby wear old clothes?
“Even this.” She pointed at a set of used napkin towels.
My anger rose beyond my thoughts.
“Listen pack your things and leave for your mother’s house. You stayed in the hospital for a week and I am sure most of them have already visited you there and in the two weeks here. I don’t see any solid reason for you to stay here and obey their rules. Say you cannot make your baby wear old clothes. Got it?”
For the last decade, whenever her in-laws mocked her for being infertile, I was her only solace and I felt happy to some extent her husband also supported her. Now that a baby has arrived as per their wish, it is time for her to embrace motherhood in peace.
“How can I say no to them?” she seemed worried.
Never say no to others has become a part of women’s DNA? I felt so.
“You kept quiet about all their talks which revolved around infertility. Now that you are a mother and you have a baby to take care of, it’s time to stand for you both. Only you in the whole world know what your baby needs.”
“Wearing old clothes does not symbolize the love between your husband and his sisters. Do you think his sister will use your baby’s clothes in case the situation was reversed? Never. Hygiene comes as the second factor. But it is you who decide what your baby wants and when. If you feel something isn’t right, you need to put down your foot.”
She looked at me with some confidence. After all, that’s what besties are for.
“This is the beginning stage of your wonderful journey of motherhood. Many would come around giving in tips and would assure their methods only work for kids. As a parent, you’ve known your child from the time you heard the first heartbeat.”
“Her smile, her moments, all only you would know. Never be afraid or never fear to stand for her. She doesn’t have to live her life for the world. It is always good to listen to elders’ advice but to implement all is not possible. You pick and do what’s the best for you two.” I continued.
She quickly called her brother and he assured that he would pick her in the evening. I stayed for a while helping her to pack the essentials. She informed her husband that she feels too tiresome and wanted to leave for her mother’s house. He was a bit startled but eventually agreed as she did not give him any other options.
“Your in-laws agreed?” I asked.
“It is his problem to convince them,” she replied.
“Welcome to motherhood.” I hugged her close and we laughed like old times.
Late that night I recollected my mother telling me about this sibling baby dress concept and I rang her, forgetting it was midnight. I explained to her what happened with Reshma. Then my mother spoke.
“When you were 1-year-old, my first brother’s son was born, your cousin. When he was a month old, your uncle asked for one of your dresses and insisted your aunt was the one who wanted it. She believed when we siblings had kids of different genders, and wearing a dress of one for the other would make the same gender be born for them. So logically they would next have a daughter. I don’t know if this is a tradition in some families or a superstitious belief. I picked one dress that you had worn only once, washed it clean and instructed him to make the baby wear it only for a few minutes. Anyway, after a few years they had a baby girl. I too tried the same procedure, but you ended up being our only darling.”
I laughed and kissed her goodbye.
Every day in motherhood is like reading a new book. We never know what it would reveal to us. Exploring is the best phase filled with joy for all mothers. It is indeed like taking the unknown path, but traveling along with your kid gives in more confidence to face whatever may come in the way.
After all, ain’t motherhood magical?
Image source: An image from Pixabay
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
As long as teachers are competent in their job, and adhere to the workplace code of conduct, how does it matter what they do in their personal lives?
A 30 year old Associate Professor at a well-known University, according to an FIR filed by her, was forced to resign because the father of one of her students complained that he found his son looking at photographs of her, which according to him were “objectionable” and “bordering on nudity”.
There are two aspects to this case, which are equally disturbing, and which together make me question where we are heading as a society.
When the father of an 18 year old finds his son looking at photographs of a lady in a swimsuit, he can do many things. What this parent allegedly did was to dash off a letter to the University which states: