Maternal Ponderings

I find my life divided into phases: Before I had my child and After i had my child.

 

I was a child, in a mental sense, when I became pregnant. I had no mental maturity.  I had not thought about the future. I had not thought of how life would be post the birth of the kid. I never used to think at all. I just lived.

 

But maternity really changed me. Started changing me somewhere in between. The sense of carrying the little one is something so special. And she always responded to my mood changes. I was moody then. I am moody now. Maybe worse. And even now she has a therapeutic effect on me.

Till then, I had thought that I was just a carrier for this baby. And I would go back to my usual self, after delivery. I assumed that I would be the same. Everything was biological. It was scientific. simple. hormonal. The body will do its duty. The baby will grow up as a baby should. I would remain untouched within my core. Essentially Me.

But the birth of the child changed things. I had no idea of the power of the female emotions, probably triggered by the estrogen/progesterone thingie.  Changed how i looked at people. I became hostile to even my family. My tiny daughter inspired such a sense of jealousy and protectiveness that honestly i had literally morphed into a wild animal. The fact that it was a C-section, compounded it. I had a bed rest of one month ( under my parents’ compulsion, though doctor had said that it was not required). Everyone was handling my little one, while i had to stay away from her. Do you know how that feels? You have just delivered. and Every fucking person wants to be proprietary about someone YOU had carried within you. I, sort, of became very aggressive. I could not stand my father or my husband or anyone handling her except maybe my mother. I always wanted her with me. When we went to my in-laws place, it became worse. T,here were too many people there. They handled and passed the baby around like a parcel. I felt extremely bitter and alone without my baby. My baby was treated with love and affection. They are a very powerfully loving family. I feel always isolated there, even though they are nice and loving people. But then, she was theirs’ too right? It was a terrible time mentally: taming my aggression, my possessiveness, and seeing my baby with others’.

 

My baby grew. I grew along with her. Though these days, the roles are reversing. I am letting her take on the role she is supposed to take on in life. I am taking on the role, which I should have taken on long time ago.I am developing my independence from my own inborn biological maternal side, for my own sake as I feel it is now not so much relevant and may be needed in smaller doses.  My fierce maternal instincts have subdued over time.Where there was a strong river, it is now a stream with occasional floodings occurring.

Who does a child belong to?

As time went on, I pondered upon these imponderables of maternity, parenthood and what it means to a woman. These are what I discovered for myself. I asked myself: Who does a child really belong to? who has complete ownership? Father? Mother? Family? the universe? god? Who is the ultimate owner?

 

Some answers I gleaned from myself : When you have a child, your child is no longer your own, from the time of its birth, she or he belongs to the entire world.  And the entire world belongs to the child. The only time when a child truly belongs to its mother, is when he or she resides in the womb, during those nine months. After that, there are so many to make claims on the child and to drag that child away from you. At times, you and the child drag away from each other. There is a push-pull interaction, somewhat like a confused train, stuck between going up and down. The inexplicable windings of time and nature. Then the child drags itself away from you. Then you are left with memories, a carriage and a track. Grappling with unexplainable feelings even after years. Of what use possessiveness? Of what use selfishness? But without selfishness and possessiveness, the child would not grow up safe and sound. Parents are meant to be selfish so that they can bring up their offspring, till they become independent. And mothers? A combination of selfishness and selflessness. Strange and weird combination, isn’t it?  #reflections #Motherhood

 

An incident today took me back 12 years before to the new-born mommiehood times. How bitterly jealous I used to be. How bitterly jealous i still am. And I thought I had sort of got over those fiery mom days. Of anyone who dares to express affection to my kid or to express some kind of connection with her. How will it be when she grows up and decides to get a partner? I will be an awful MIL. The feelings still exist. remain dormant. and awaken some times, as they did today.

I am afraid of centering so much of my love in one entity,..that it would leave me cracked, broken and empty at the end of it all. It is dangerous to be so dependent on one and children have the knack of easily making that happen. So, also the people with whom we share our souls..our life partners, our soul mates, our lovers,  spouses, our siblings and friends and ..( the list is endless)

I still face my existential dilemma: while i have come a long way in managing this..the question really remains: who does a child really belong to?  What is the duration of parenthood?

This is what I feel:

The shift from parenthood to friendly guardians starts when your child starts developing the ability to stand on his or her feet and an independent attitude.  The prolonged persistence of the state of parenthood beyond its effective age and level is detrimental to the intellectual and emotional growth of children as well as the mental health of parents. It is not natural. Letting go is what nature teaches us. At the appropriate age and time. That would vary. They need to let go after a point of time.

Parents have to regress or progress to what they originally  were, or what to a new version of themselves ( with the experience of parenthood to shed some new light on life) and continue with life. Continue exploring newer sides of themselves and life. Because that is life. An individual journey. as part of a collective consciousness.

For fathers, it may be easier. for most mothers it is difficult because of the biological attachment to children which obscures their intellect and make them think irrationally as well as due to cultural conditioning. for a few mothers, it may be possible. The chances of that occurring in the present days are more, owing to more women pursuing self advancement and independent goals in life, more women throwing off the yoke of cultural conditioning and societal mores.

I have come a long way..and achieved a kind of balance now.. but still many answers remain to be discovered..still searching for that elusive truth..of the entire purpose of human existence.

Maternal Ponderings
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