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Motherhood - Debarati Chatterjee

The moment that defined Motherhood for me

This year is special. This Pujois special. This is the beginning of a new journey for me. This year, Machose to come to me, my home. I say so because, this year, I gave birth to a healthy little baby girl and though I am not very religious, I am spiritual and I believe a baby girl is a gift from the universe itself.

 I stumbled upon this beautiful journey of motherhood without realizing what I really got into. I heard many times that one is never prepared to have a child till you have a child! A couple of months post delivery, I am laughing at the thought that in my mind, the delivery was the difficult part. Well, though not a cake walk, it is nothing compared to the sleepless nights and tiring days that followed. A dreary me is not a fun person to be with!

Quite a few times I found myself wishing I could vanish, be on my own for just one day, away from the baby, away from everything. Then I look at her and her eyes sparkle. I am the only person she confidently recognizes. Her lips pucker slightly when I dont pick her up.

 Her eyes start to well up. She coos and gurgles, even raises her voice. I say, what?. She hears my voice and her face lights up with her big gummy smile. And like magic, I feel a surge of energy in my limbs. I pick her up and cuddle her and all is right in the world again. What can I say? us, women, are just tuned to respond to cute little babies and their cute little everything.

Its been over three months now and yet at times, I find myself staring at her tiny body peacefully sleeping in my lap and think, wow, she really is here. This is my daughter. Holy Smokes! I have a daughter.I share this thought with the H-man and he goes, Really? after 3 months of sleepless nights? Hasnt sunk in yet?I duly note the sarcasm!

Earlier this year, my adopted sister in toronto planned a surprise baby shower for me. For the records, I count this as one of my favourite surprisemoments. I was really surprised! Come on! you had an inklingyou say? Nope! None! Zilch. Either my husband is very good at keeping secrets or I am terribly unobservant. I choose to go with the former. Not to stray off the topic, at this party, I was asked to chronicle the experience of my journey to motherhood. I vigorously nodded my head promising a write-up immediately. This was back in May! I did not find time to think about it till now. But as I sit back and think about my experience, I zero in on this one moment that defined motherhood for me.

 Right after the delivery, when I was still recovering from the final push, the nurse brought this tiny human being, screaming its head off, and dropped it on my chest. I was grappling to hold the little slippery thing but before I could even adjust my eyes, she took it away. I got pulled back into the myriad other things happening in my body, all the time waiting for someone to bring her back to me. I read in a number of places, that direct skin contact between mother and baby right after birth is a psychological healing touch highly recommended for the baby. why then did they take the baby away? I know for a fact that they let the father hold the baby too, but here, the H-man was running around the room from me to the baby back to me with a frown on his face.

A moment back everyone was smiling and now everyone was frowning. In the far corner, I see three nurses holding an oxygen mask on my babys face. Then they come to me and babble something about her lungs and wheel her away. I tightly hold H-mans hand and look at his face, trying to find some answers. He pats my head, squeezes my hand and says, Relax! Its nothing

I know when he is lying. Well, not really! but this time it was obvious. I find myself alone in the room with the nurse, who was busy working on me, as my eyes welled up and I sobbed inconsolably. The nurse, who in my opinion is an angel sent just for me, holds my hands, sits beside me and whispers comforting words till I settle down. I do not get to see my daughter till almost an hour later when the H-man wheels me into the NICU. There she is, wired up to a few hundred machines (ok that was an exaggeration), all beeping, sleeping peacefully in a glass enclosure. on first glance, everything looks normal till the paediatrician explains the readings on the machines. My little baby is having trouble breathing at normal room oxygen levels. She needs elevated oxygen levels. Everything else was just perfect!

That moment, when I looked at my little one in that glass enclosure, breathing hard, my little ninja fighting to survive, I experienced something like never before. If I had to describe the feeling, I cannot. But if I try, it was as if I was ready to do anything, fight anyone, tear anything apart to protect this tiny human being. Love for her just transcended what I thought was love for her till then. That moment was what defined motherhood for me. The realization that this little being that I brought into this world, so vulnerable, so delicate, is dependent on me for her survival. That I, I am responsible for someone. That this little baby is a part of me and it is my job to protect her and give her a good life.

I was told, every woman has this one moment when they become a mother and believe me, it is not when they give birth. So, I imagined the moment so many times in so many ways but when it really happened, my imagination fell short! What can I say? I am a mother now and celebrating the arrival of Mahas a whole different meaning this time around! 


#5 Parames Misra 2014-10-21 20:38
Such a beautiful piece of writing!!! It touched me, I am sure it touched all others too who read it.
#4 Amit 2014-10-06 13:43
darun likhechhish Debarati.
#3 Sunit Datta 2014-10-01 20:18
I always believed mothers are invaluable to children, your experience just strengthened my belief! Wonderful!
#2 Bidisha 2014-10-01 16:45
Khub sundor lekha
#1 Shipra 2014-09-30 23:27
Very proper and poignant! Though this 'little' thing will grow up soon, you will shortly realize that the umbilical cord that had connected both of you, have never be cut from you. I am sure you have touched the chord of every mother's volatile heart.

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