Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hit me baby...

Bringing up a baby is hard work, but that shouldn't stop you from laughing about it. Here are 10 things I learnt as a new mother

More than googoogaga: A lot of things change after motherhood, but most of all your perception of babies. No, babies are no rose-cheeked, gurgling angels that make your heart go all warm and fuzzy. Babies are hungry monsters who threaten to bring down the roof with their wailing if you don’t keep them well-fed, fell-slept, fell-changed, well-burped… ah well, you get the picture.

Welcome to zombieland! Since there will be no time to apply any mascara, you might as well embrace those deep dark circles, which will probably remain on your face till your baby learns to sleep through the night. If you are lucky, you can start living and working like a normal person in about 6 months’ time. But if you’re like me, you’ll be bumping into people and furniture throughout the day, even after two years.

The great booby trap: Every paediatrician worth his MD proclaims the benefits of breastfeeding, but it can be a tricky, messy business. So you soldier through hard, swollen, leaky, painful boobs and pray that each time some obscure uncle from the distant tendrils of your family tree comes visiting the new addition, you are not in a state of undress.  

Have crutch, will use: Perhaps not all women are lucky enough to have a pair of fit-enough-to-care-for-your-baby in-laws or parents, but those that do will probably give their right arms in return. I know I will. A support system is invaluable when bringing up a child, and if you must use it at the cost of your vanity, you should. Trust me; some help is better than no help.

No time to rend, no time to sew: A new baby can do wonders for your relationship with your partner. No, really. You can’t ask a grumpy husband for help, so you stop fighting with him over trivial matters. Because hey, eating the humble pie is better than having to do all baby duties alone, innit?

Like a virgin: Okay, but a new baby can do not-such-wondrous things for your relationship too. For example, if you, like me, have your baby sleep between you and your partner in the tiny bed of the tinier one bedroom matchbox of a house in Mumbai, you better get used to living like a virgin. ’Nuff said!

Public property: From the time you get pregnant, you become public property. Any Tom, Dick, Harry and their girlfriends, wives, mothers and sisters will deem it fit to lecture you on good parenting. Smile and ignore, I say. Like every mother, you will want and do only the best for your child. You will make mistakes, but that does not make you a bad mother. There is no such thing as a bad mother, and let no one tell you otherwise.

I’m an emotional rollercoaster, baby! I’m telling you those postpartum blues are bluer than any blue you ever saw. I don’t know about other women, but I’ve swung fast and easy between murderous and maternal, suicidal and soft, lambasting and loving in those first months. I’m surprised I wasn’t thrown into an asylum. Well, it would seem you can hide behind your hormones.

Live life XL size: It took a lot of will, but I finally accepted that I had neither the genes nor the personal trainer of Miranda Kerr and that those tiny-waisted jeans would never fit. I clung on to my pair of skinnies for a while, hoping that one day I’d wake up and the mommy tummy would be gone, but my body would have none of it. The skinny jeans were finally martyred to the cause of house-mopping.

Unto the kingdom of auntyhood: No amount of fashion and make up is going to spare you this one. Once you have a kid on your hip, you are aunty to the world. If being called yummy mummy is any consolation, sometimes you may have that. But to the aam Indian junta, aunty you are and will be.  

This article appeared in the tabloid The Afternoon on November 10, 2011, in the Women's World section and can be read on page 19 of the e-paper on this link: 


Natasha said...

Great piece, Urmi. I call it 'writing my way out of the well.'
If I can put it in a clever line that makes me laugh, I can cope. Love, Natasha

Urmi Chanda Vaz said...

Thanks Natasha. It took me a while, but I am learning to laugh at myself now. I've realised that is the only way to maintain sanity. :)

magiceye said...

i remember reading somewhere that it is a child that gives birth to a mother!

Urmi Chanda Vaz said...

And truer words have never been spoken!