Yes, having a baby completely changes your life. If you really think about it, childbirth is nothing short of a miracle. The idea that I’m responsible for a tiny little human being is exhilarating and also terrifying. Yeah, I could’ve done without the morning sickness, the swollen feet and the terrible lower back pain. I dealt with the mood swings and the random cravings. I also read almost every form of literature ever published about childbirth. After over nine months of laboring (pun intended!) over my little miracle, I finally went into labor and had a normal delivery. What a way to welcome someone into my life – pushing n’ screaming! So baby Priya is finally here and amidst all the oohs and aahs, I find myself wondering, now what?!
I’ll admit it right now – I’m terrified of my little girl. Well, terrified of her and for her. What do I know about raising a child? Parental philosophies aside, I find myself worrying that I’ll end up hurting her. What if I feed her too much? Or underfeed her because my breastmilk is insufficient? What if I can’t figure out what she’s crying for? What if I hurt her delicate body? Yup, I’m a nervous wreck around her. My mom is around to help but in a few weeks she’ll be gone and then its just screaming baby and me. The worst part is that my mom always seems to know just what Priya wants. Amma will often suggest, “Why don’t you try holding her the other way?” and sure enough, her tears stop instantly. I always try to hide the look of amazement on my face; how did she know that?
The other night amma was packing her bags to leave and I broke down. I was so overwhelmed by the idea of looking after the baby on my own. That’s when I had an epiphany of sorts (thanx to my mom again! How does she always know?). Amma talked to me about my own childhood – I remembered nursing my sick doll back to health, I remembered tucking my teddy under a blanket so he wouldn’t be cold, I remembered spoon feeding little puppies and mostly, I remembered that nobody told me to do these things. It suddenly occurred to me that being a mother is a natural part of me. I think on some level, I’ve been a mother at so many different points in my life (even if it was just to dolls!). I also think this is true of most women. It is in our spirit.. in our bones. We just know. What made me smile was amma’s confession that she felt exactly the same way when I was born! Yeah, I think I’ll do just fine and more importantly, I know my little girl will be just fine!