This pandemic is savage but it also makes you realize the importance of life. My mother and I had to go out of the city for a wedding and because of the prevailing COVID-19 situation, I decided not to take my kids with me. It was for the first time in 8 years that I was leaving my kids alone for a few hours. As soon as we left the vicinity, a feeling of guilt overtook me as if I had committed some crime. I called home to ask about the kids and assured my husband that I will be back in two hours. He, on the other hand, laughed away my worries. At the wedding, the feeling of being free was overwhelming. No interruptions during any conversation, no hide and seek games under the table and I ate food without running after my kids. I admired the ambiance without worrying that my little one will tear off the flowers from the décor. All these feelings were very relieving but a sense of guilt was there. I felt incomplete without them. What has changed so much in these past few years that going by myself seems wrong?
They say all women are mothers for they tend to be more benevolent. 8 years ago, I was unaware of motherly emotions, as my prime focus was just myself. I could not take responsibility for anyone other than myself. I was ambitious. I set some goals for myself. My inclination was more on career building rather than settling down. I was scared of commitments. The only worry that I needed to have in my life was submitting my assignments on time. I did not have to worry about my things getting broken or thrown. I spent on myself. My own needs and wants took precedence over everything; I ate what and when I felt like, I woke up when I wanted to, slept on my whim and pinky promises were only hybrid tea roses.
After conceiving my first child, I thought nothing was going to change. But the sudden loss of losing one parent changed my whole perception of parenthood;I might never have realized the importance of this relationship. I reckon sometimes we take these relations for granted for we underestimate their presence. They pamper us to such an extent that we think nothing is going to change. The agony of losing an affectionate father before the birth of my first child was my metamorphosis from a young woman into a mother. I knew my child would only get to know about her grandfather from my memories of him. After giving birth, the first emotion that engulfed me was the need to protect my child from grief. With her birth, a responsible “me” also came into existence. Post-partum depression was nullified by almost everyone as nobody knew what was going on inside me. Oversensitivity took over and I started reading parenting articles and downloaded baby development apps. I would get up to my terrible sleeper five times a night sometimes complaining sometimes without. Whining became my best friend. Maybe it was out of grief of losing a parent or maybe it was because how my life had altered. I loved my baby more than anything in the world but it was hard. I just did not want to admit it because I was so petrified that someone might think I was not doing a good job.
The transition from adolescence to matrescence was not easy. I had to sacrifice my body, sleep, social life, patience, energy and sanity for unconditional love.
It had its own ups and downs. Some days were good and some days were bad but all these days I remained a mother. It’s a job that does not have any vacations. Everyone understands that adolescence is a carefree phase where you only have to think about yourself. But during matrescence, people expect you to be happy while you’re losing control over the way you look and feel. From a neuroscientific point of view, the emotions of matrescence are as much about chemical shifts in your brain as they are about the stuff that science is unable to explain. Yes, sometimes I lost my temper because my hormones were wrecked, so was my body. I was healing but at the same time, I had to cater to a smaller being, which made me forget my own pain. The bonding hormone oxytocin cemented me so closely with my baby that I put myself second and she became my priority — a relation so strong that even Divinity ascribed His love for the humans in a mother’s form. It has changed me for the best. Slowly, I have learned that it is my kids that are the limelight of my life.
When I applied for a teaching job, the headmistress asked me if I had any prior teaching experience. “Being a mother taught me to be a teacher,” I told her. She couldn’t agree more as teaching comes naturally when you become a mother. Motherhood started my journey as a teacher. I took passing of my father positively. I remembered all his love and tried to transfer it in my actions. I learned from my mother and inducted her teachings in my parenting. I taught my children and in return they taught me; they taught me how to be patient, push my boundaries and do the unthinkable. They showed me what really matters in life. Each and every wish, word, want or need of theirs became my biggest concern and often it felt like my purpose of life. My role as a mother has made me prioritize my mental health, my self-image and resilience for them. I am keenly aware that there are young ones watching me, and that I have a responsibility to communicate to them the best possible message, which starts with how I treat myself. It took me a long time to get here, but I did so with the weight of motherhood to tether me and keep me grounded. I do not identify with the woman I was before becoming a mother. She was weak, self-centered and myopic but motherhood made her strong, fierce, compassionate and futuristic; I am raising the future.
I have made myself so accustomed to them that even if I try, I can’t let them be on their own. That is why leaving them behind was hard for me. Once, when I was panting and huffing after my kids, someone told me, “They are like birds. Enjoy them while you can. Soon they will fly and find their own nest.” I am preparing them for their own nest. COVID-19 might have confined us to our homes but it has provided us a great opportunity to ponder on ourselves. The medieval forerunners of chemistry tried their whole life to find a way to convert base metals into gold or to find a universal elixir. The miraculous metamorphosis of motherhood is the actual alchemy, which makes a selfish person into a selfless being. While chemists are still looking for the transmutation in metals, I found my elixir in motherhood. HH
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