Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Mother or Not to Mother

Several of my friends have become new mothers recently. At most get-togethers where we nowadays come across them, I feel like an outsider. The conversation mostly centres around the needs, eccentricities, trials & tribulations and the daily routine of the mother-and-child. The conversations are by themselves rather interesting and often give unexpected angles into the way a woman's life is transformed overnight when she becomes a mother. After sexual initiation, this is probably the second stage of life when you feel physically fulfilled as a woman. But me not being a mother, how do these conversations make me feel ?

To be honest, isolated would be the first emotion that comes to mind. I get the feeling that this is one of those Phi Beta kind of sororities where even the conversation is coded and elite. Well, of course it's not half as dramatic. But I do get that feeling and it's odd.

The next would be fear. The routine of a new mother sounds terribly intimidating. It makes me feel that I wouldn't be a good mother myself because I seem to lack the patience, the will to put up with n number of sleepless nights, the courage to brave the agony of being unable to pacify a bawling infant owing to not having been able to figure out what the current 'lack/need' is, the indefinite period of sacrifice of other pursuits that are dreadfully dear to my heart in general, the ability to overlook my own indispositions to focus on a being whose needs are more instinctive and sensitive than mine...the list is long and what's more, scary.

Then comes the terrible sense of a personal loss of freedom. The freedom to go anywhere, do anything at anytime, any which way I'd ike to. Marriage does bring its own natural restraints, but that seems nothing compared to what motherhood would demand. The thought of my wanting to just be by myself for a whole day without anyone tugging at my heart-strings and demanding constant care would just be a wistful lotus-eaters' dream once I plunged wholeheartedly into the cactus path to motherhood. I'm a loner by nature and the notion of not allowed to be one seems to endanger my sanity the very moment I start thinking about it.

Then there's the weight gain. Ever since my MA days, I've been struggling to keep my weight under strict surveillance, since my hypothyroidism problem demands that of me in order that I stay fit and fine. I'm not a celebrity like Malaika Arora who can work out with a trainer immediately after delivery and get back into shape at the snap of a finger. My gynaecologist has categorically advised me to lose weight for certain specific reasons. The sense of having to lose weight, gain it again in pregnancy and then begin the struggle to fight the flab all over again exhausts me mentally right now.

And with that finally comes the enormous burden of duty, responsibility and culpability. These are all spontaneous and I suppose would someday come to me as naturally as they have to generations of mothers. I'm secretly proud that I've always been wo(man) enough to stand up bravely and be answerable for my own flaws, lacks, offences or misdeeds in life. But what about taking the blame for mistakes my child might make, often knowing that I was involved all along in the very process of making them ? It menaces me, looms over me like a nightmare that is destined to be fulfilled.

There is one good thing that however stands out star-bright, in this senseless saga of formless fears. I finally realise what it means to be a mother. Maybe that itself heralds a positive, more meaningful, futuristic note. My frequent disagreements with my mother might lessen as life strives to school me in the language of motherhood, a legacy that must be passed on. A dream that must be realised, even if it must go through the painful metamorphosis of the glorious vision into a checkered reality.


Discovering M said...

where is the picture taken from the one on the title of your blog site ? pretty neat.

Casuarina said...

@ Discovering M : I took that photo myself back in the US, from our apartment bedroom window, on a very rainy day. Glad you like it ! :-)

Kaustav said...

Loved this post !! some of the thoughts that you had, applies equally to your partner as well. He might be scared too :-) Deep down I feel that once you concieve the baby you become responsible all by yourself, you dont need to be told, you become careful.
So far as gaining weight and losing it again is concerned, once your toddler starts walking and running, you will lose it fast :-))

Madhura said...

Hmm..have you ever thought of adopting a child?
You wouldn't have worry about flab or sleepless night (as you don't necessarily have to adopt a 2 days old infant) and certain other things as well. Just a thought given that it's just past women's day and again the sex ratio imbalance (compounded by female foeticide and neglect of the girl child)has been highlighted.

The Ketchup Girl said...

I went through all these doubts too. Only difference, i was already carrying my daughter. I couldn't turn back. I went through severe post partum depression and had put on 30 kilos!! Like you I too had no patience and the thought that i'd lose my indepence was the biggest fear. BUT, they all vanished. Ok, almost all, the minute I held her. An extension of me and him. How wonderful. OUR creation. But having said that, i must warn you- if you are not fully prepared to be a mom, delay the process till you think you can handle it. Coz once you have a baby you can't exactly return it back to the supermarket. :D

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful post. I'm experiencing the same situation with many friends recently becoming mothers. I enjoyed reading your perspective; thanks for sharing!


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