I remember being bombarded with advices when I got pregnant with Z. ‘Sleep as much as you can’, ‘Only breastmilk’, ‘Watch your weight, preggy weight is the hardest to shake off’, ‘Cloth nappies only’ etc. Everyone from my relatives to friends to co-workers, everyone deemed it their moral responsibility to tell me how to raise my little one. I soaked it up too with wide eyed wonder being as this was my first tryst with letting something grow in me. I had much earlier been convinced I had a tree growing in my tummy from eating a seed, but that had never got me so much attention as this little person in me.
Anyways, I soon found out that much of this “advice” was also present on babycentre.co.uk and that it frankly was nothing new. It only just seemed new to my first time pregnant self. But as Z grew, I realised there is so much they did not tell me. Not my relatives, not my friends, not my co-workers and not even my trusted babycentre.co.uk. Nope, there was so much more that people had missed telling me or I had missed in my infinite searches on the internet. Things I learnt the hard way, spilling tears, with a lump in my throat and feeling completely helpless. I’m not talking about discovering a poopy diaper from under the bed, a good whole week after it crept there. Well, that does bring in the fore said emotions but what I am talking is not bout that.
I am talking about the forever being afraid. Of forever being emotional. Of forever being unable to watch a thing for what it is and not connecting it back to Z. I cannot watch a news report about a missing child anymore. I cannot read the obituary about the death of a young one or even an adult. I cannot read a new story about malnutritioned children in lesser fortunate worlds. I cannot watch ‘Step Mom’. I cannot listen to ‘Ronan’ by Taylor Swift without breaking into hysterical tears. I cannot read about the sweet little kids falling prey to cancer without hugging Z, almost in a death grip. I cannot stop myself from being paranoid about a little bent in his leg, a twitch in his eye, a chocolate mole on his nose. I cannot listen to a friend’s story about a troubled child birth and complications without instantly saying a prayer for a healthy Z.
I have become a pessimist. I worry about the evil eye. I worry about things within and outside my control that could take Z away from me. I worry about a life without Z.
This is not to say I live a sad life. Not even a bit. Its a party everyday in the house. We are woken up to cuddles and kisses. Calls of “Daddy…Daaaaadddy, Mommy..Mooooommy” have replaced alarm clocks. ‘Can I have some chocolate milk’ is often the first order to be placed in the kitchen. ‘I love you..You love me, we are happy family’ the theme song on most mornings and ‘Wanna watch Peppa Pig’ the first we hear when we switch on the TV. Our lives have been taken over. Our home more so. Its like an invasion of toys. Our sitting room is incomplete without legos strewn around or our bedroom without action figures under the sheet. Beach toys are found in the shower and my clothes line incomplete without an array of brightly coloured super hero underwear on it.
Life is fun. Yet, even amidst the uncontrollable laughter at the beach, a little twitch of the nose worries you. Even when he comes bravely down the water slide, that little bent of his pinky bothers you. The three year old’s rebelliousness and refusal to answer when I call him, does not make me angry but makes me worried as to whether he can hear me right.
This.This is what people should tell you about when you get pregnant. This is what we would like advice for. This is what we need to prepare for. The poopy diapers, the sleepless nights, the long unending story times will all pass but not this feeling. This is what we need preparing for. We don’t want honeycoated lines about how perfect mommyhood is. Tell us about this and how it is ok to feel this way. OK to be pessimistic and be afraid.
I was a normal person. I lived my life normally. I was happy with the normal-ness of it. I was adequately emotional. Satisfactorily empathetic. Reasonably human. Not any more. Now I am caught in this myriad of ‘what ifs’ and ‘could its’ and ‘Oh My Gods.
But would I change any of it? Trade it for the old life? Not a chance.