Saturday, September 19, 2009

The last mile

This is probably the last time I'm setting pen on paper as a non-mom. In just a couple of days from now, I'll have a whole new world of responsibility and hence perspective.

The last nine months have been one of the most 'interesting' months of my life yet. There...I'm already shying from using the word 'difficult', afraid I may be branded a 'bad' mother.

It has been a constant game of open secrets. A constant tug-of-war between what was and what ought to have been. Nature vs. nurture. Each time I found a new thing to complain about my pregnancy, I was countered by this holier-than-thou image of a mother who is supposed to take everything in her stride smilingly. From wanting to curse my unborn for causing me all the pain and discomfort to going right into the self-flagellation mode, my emotions have been continually see-sawing.

There were days when I wanted to start an anti-pregnancy online forum where I could pour out my wrath that comes from being so 'helpless' and 'bound'. I wanted to tell all the women of the world that unless they're desperate for children, like REALLY desperate, they shouldn't get pregnant. I wanted to tell all how miserable it can make you and it probably isn't worth the abuse ones body has to go through. I felt like throttling every damn voice that spoke about the glories of motherhood, and by implication, pregnancy. I wanted to tell them that the idea of a glowing pregnancy was a horrible lie and that pregnancy was nothing but getting fat, swollen feet, pigmentation marks, a repugnant self image and probably, a zero sex life. And I wanted to offer my very contemptuous respects to those women who have achieved the stupendous feat of bearing more than one child and want to breed some more.

Then again there were days (admittedly, very few in comparison) when I would be overawed by the sheer miracle of the fact that there was this brand new human being inside of me. I'd wonder at the strength of the kicks and nudges of the little bugger, fondly wondering whether it's a boy or a girl, how it would look like, what talents it will have inherited and so on. I would lie awake some nights looking at Viren sleeping soundly and it would suddenly strike me how amazing it is that this little person in me is partly this man I love so much and partly me. Like any other parent in the world, I'd imagine our baby getting the best of what we both have a becoming a beautiful, intelligent, kind, strong, healthy, "normal" and a talented child.

Yet another inescapable part of this pregnancy package are the worries. When, on days, I could feel little or no movements of the baby, I would drive me crazy with anxiety. From drinking cold juice to eating pungent foods to trying to twist my body into rather uncomfortable positions, I would do everything to get the baby moving again. The amount of responsibility I had without really being able to do anything about it would drive me to tears. Just as I thought I'd better go to the doctor, the baby would start pounding away merrily again on the walls of my tummy distorting it into all kinds of funny shapes. The jabs felt more than welcome.

I would flit from logic to faith to fear and back in admitting my deepest feelings even to myself. Stuff I've read about the power of thoughts and how it affects your life would warn me against thinking nasty things. One has to be careful of what one wishes for, they say. But, having dabbled in psychology, I found solace in the knowledge that it was only hormones acting up and thus perfectly 'normal' to feel what I felt. The next instant, if any fear of disabilities crept into my mind, I'd immediately exorcise them with prayers. I tried to seek comfort in my belief in God and his benevolence.

Today, when I'm days away from delivering my baby, I new set of thoughts has found its way into my head and is bothering me. The foremost of them don't be born today. Why? Because it's a Saturday today and that's supposed to mean a very hard life, according to my mom. I've instructed my body to not do anything today, but suppose biology gets stronger than beliefs, and baby decides to come today, I have my defenses ready. Well, it is a Saturday, but it is the 19th -- numerologically, number 1 and it's Mahalaya it can't be that bad, eh?

Through the last few weeks of visiting the doc and squatting away to high glory (that is supposed to help lazy babies like mine descend), I've come to be almost certain that a natural birth is not meant for me. So we picked a date for a c-section. Tuesday, the 22nd of September 2009 is what I'd like. 22 is the day of my birth and that'll also make the baby a Virgo-Libra cusp. Cusps are interesting. But, mom's not too happy with the 22nd being a Tuesday (Mangal is not supposed to be a very nice chap), but well, you can't have everything.

There are also fears about the surgery, about rejection, about capabilities among the many hundred things that are doing the rounds at the moment. But all the thoughts, all the words and all the advice in the world cannot prepare you enough for this life-changing experience...and I am no exception.