Last year, I guess a few hours later into the night of September 16, I sat at the dining table, post dinner, penning down my birthday retrospect for the year. Over the last couple of years, I try and write down a few thoughts, maybe to encapsulate what I learnt that year, or just mark the beginning of another ‘birth-year’, in the hope that in years to come, when I look back at the various birthday retrospect I will see the trajectory of my life, in the form of blog posts.
Well, whatever the reason, I felt drawn compulsively to write last year. My son barely over a month old, and nights filled with feeding and diaper changes, with a morning routine not much different, I wasn’t sure I was up to writing a post.
But, I wanted to. Not writing it would mean that I had given up a part of who I was, pre-baby. Not writing it would have meant, I had lost the balance between being me and being a mother.
I know it sounds hogwash, now, but back then in my sleep-addled mind, writing that post was as much the victory. I wrote for myself, not really for an audience.
This year, I am writing after a morning filled with surgeries, an afternoon of seeing patients, and an evening which will be dedicated to my second profession of food blogging.
Let me introduce you to the new me. The new post baby 2.016 me.
Before having a baby, I tried to compartmentalise my life. My life was like the venn diagram circles, and I endeavoured to keep all of them separate, none of them touching, and most definitely none overlapping. My private life, my family, my friends, were separate from my work colleagues, and my medical profession was separate from my food blogging, writer self.
Not anymore. To know me is to know the whole me.
I no more crave the acceptance of society, or even to be understood by them. I am more, I can be more, and I endeavour to achieve more.
Having a baby freed me of the compulsions of society. Or maybe growing older did. But, no if I give it some thought, it is being a mother,that has freed me.
Earlier what was dismissed as the ‘whims of the young’ is now perceived as the determination of the mature.
Work hard, and party hard. This adage though coined for the young, holds truer for the middle age. the twenty-somethings don’t know what is Hard; for them , working hard is a 5 day work week, and partying hard, entitles two days to recover from the hangover.
My friend has three girls, feeding them dinner, checking their homework, turning them down for the night, and then heading out for a night out with friends , now that is working hard and partying hard. Why? Because you are working 7 days a week, and you do not have the luxury of recovering from a hangover, when you have breakfast to make and school buses to catch, and it would be so much easier to curl up in bed and sleep.
Which is tougher? Well both. It is never easy straddling two worlds, but when more than two worlds exist, then at some level they are all bound to merge.
Turning a mother has given me the licence to be myself in a way that I had not expected. I am not sure if other new mothers have felt that as well. But honestly, more people come up to me and say Hi, having a baby in a stroller has made me more approachable. I have been working for the past 5 years, but now, I am looked upon as a shining example of woman empowerment. I have been trying to exercise ever since I turned 30, it’s just the logical thing to do, “health is wealth” and all that, but now, I am a new #fitspiration for the #fitmom category.
Moms, who are fit, are looked at with more awe, than even the flat ab-ed teenager.
Everything I do now, comes with the tagline, “and she does all this despite being a mom”
Do I love it? Heck, yeah, I do! I am a super mom. I love the acceptance, and appreciation.
Maybe having a baby makes society feel that I have completed all my ‘duties’ that I have fulfilled my obligations as a ‘woman’. Maybe having a baby marks me less of a ‘feminist’ and therefore less of a ‘threat’ or less radicalised in my thoughts.
It is a a phenomenon which I was till now unaware, but mothers, bond. Whether young, or old, or mother of one or mother of five kids, no matter what your race, religion or social standing. Every kid has made the mothers want to pull their hair out, or made them feel warm and fuzzy like cup of cocoa on a winter’s day. Being a mother, has connected me to all these women, I walk up to any woman with a child, and similarly women walk up to me all the time, whether at the mall, or on the street, at restaurants or supermarkets. Even dads get chatty, the delivery man from Amazon chatted with me for a good ten minutes about walking and talking milestones of his kid and what my son can do. It psyched me out, I don’t chat up delivery men, I don’t want them scoping out my house for future burglaries. But, I understood his need to share.
People feel that women lack the drive after child birth. But, I disagree. I know of a lot of my friends and acquaintances who are redefining what mothers can and cannot do.
Being a mother has freed me from definitions.
It has freed me from the traditional boxed up categories of what I am, and what I do.
I do everything. I do everything with passion, with as much of me as I possibly can give.
Previous birthday retrospects: