I have been chastising myself (and mentally apologising to Sandeepa) for being so late in taking action and becoming part of this wonderful forum of blogger mums. Well, no more putting it on the back burner... I am finally here and hope to do justice as an 'active' member :-)
So, hello everyone. I have been a silent onlooker of DMC for a while and really enjoy reading the posts, the tips and all that is close to the heart of all the members. Now for a bit of introduction. Originally from Calcutta, I have been in England for the past 5+ years since my marriage, had a baby girl there a year and a half ago, and have recently moved home across the pond to this very large country and spent a very busy 2 months settling down, settling my daughter into full-time montessori - AND just got a full-time job. I head back to an office environment after a very very long break (or so it seems despite being a 20 month gap).
As I am not quite sure about what exactly to start off with as my very first entry at DMC, I will take the easier way out and point you to my own blog site - which I infrequently update at Mimi's Space. In particular, I want to share my first entry on my blog site on Motherhood, as this was the column that got me started. I guess I wrote what was closest to my heart and this would probably give you a better idea of me 9 months into being a full-time mom at home! I have come a long way since then and probably gained much more confidence as a mother (or so she says!). But the feeling of wonder when I look at my daughter fast asleep or doing head stands, still leaves me thinking of motherhood as a huge achievement, a responsibility that always grows and an experience that simply cannot be beaten! I am loving it. So here goes (with apologies for being a rather long post!):
The transition from being a full-time career woman to a full-time mother was more difficult than I had imagined. Like many women stepping into their 30s, the existence of the dreaded 'body clock' and its ticking seemed to suddenly hang over my head. The idea of having a child didn’t come naturally to me - even with my awareness of the fact that the time to start a family was probably coming close. I had always cooed at others’ babies and been happily willing to spend time in the company of little people. Yet somehow I was always stuck in that groove between ‘not sure if having kids is my thing’ and imagining the worst possible medical misfortunes that could befall us as parents.
And then of course there was the big issue of career. I had worked hard to get where I was... changing my profession and moving from print journalism to the business of academic journals - and that too in a different country altogether, following my marriage and the move to the UK from India. My work also took me to different countries, and I loved the opportunity of being able to squeeze in some 'touristy' outings in between my conference and meeting attendances. Not that I didn't complain often about the number of hours spent in front of my laptop or having to handle the temper tantrums and quirks of authors and society board members. Yet it all felt like the end of the world whenever I thought of having to put all of this on hold - albeit temporarily - to have a baby. How dearly would the hiatus in my work cost me?
My husband and I loved travelling and made sure we went away on regular holidays. I knew that packing our bags and leaving on a whim wouldn't be possible once we had a little one. We had been to Hawaii with friends who had toddlers and I remember the entire trip (almost) being shaped and changed according to how the little ones were doing. It was not easy.
So when was the 'right time'? Was there ever a right time to have a baby? Looking at those friends who had children I could only feel that they looked so right with their babes in their arms - though hugely changed! I remember a friend of mine telling me that all she could smell for the first four months of their first child was throw-up and poop... somehow clinging to her being like a badge proclaiming 'motherhood'!! And then there were other friends who firmly believed that having pets channelized all their maternal instincts and energy positively - without bringing about changes to their professional or personal lives.
But five years into marriage with a wonderful man who would make a great father, one couldn’t postpone the baby-phase for long. And then there came the day when the thought literally took seed. I knew my husband was ecstatic and just seeing him made me happy. It took me quite a few months to digest it all!! Was I happy? Yes and no... I was scared out of my mind. Now it was a reality and I was afraid of everything that could go wrong. And these days there were tests for so many things that could be done while the baby was in-utero. So we did...
We were told we would be having a girl. Somehow, it was the day I first saw the black and white scanned profile of her floating inside me that my feelings changed. Now I prayed that all would go well and our baby would come and fill a special place in our lives. There was also a shift in my attitude to work... yes, there was work and there would always be work, but there was probably a time for everything in life - all at the right time and in its own place. I knew I would get back to work sometime, but first there was a very important bundle to handle. The package arrived on 17th July 2006. She ruled our hearts from day one and lived up to her name - Ankita, the queen.
I won't kid you... it hasn't been easy. For all the love that I have for my baby, there are days when all I can manage is cry and sigh with relief when she has fallen asleep at the end of a rough day. I have swapped Powerpoint presentations with baby nursery rhymes and have taught myself to entertain, feed, clean and cuddle her all day long... and that can be exhausting (given that in this country one has to do every other household chore by themselves). At times I dream of taking off on a sudden trip, catch an afternoon movie - or simply go back to my old office to fill myself up with some grown-up conversation! But now, at 9 months of age, Ankita has started calling me 'mamma' and that's enough... that gets me going again! I know there is so much more to come - the list of challenges of child-rearing is long and bulleted (and sub-bulleted), but hey, so far what a trip it has been!!!!!