Wednesday, August 24, 2011


What is it like to become a mother? Well, you don't just become a mom. You change. In every sense of the word. No, it's not as if you mutate into somebody else. You dive deep into yourself, find reserves of strength you never knew existed, discover creativity, realize your flexibility (both emotional and physical!) and... love!

This love is something else altogether. Nothing can equal the rush of joy on seeing your baby smile at you. Imagine, a tiny little soul, suddenly flung into this big, confusing world. And you, your heartbeat in fact, is the only familiar thing she knows. When she gazes at you, she is looking at the only thing that she can comprehend - a face that represents care, warmth, food, security and love. And the gaze contains implicit trust. So much so that it elicits your protective side. You WANT to hold her, to comfort her, to feed her. And love? That just happens. It happens like a great tide that slowly engulfs you, and you willingly, blissfully, want to drown in it!

Motherhood is somewhat similar to a trekking expedition. For me, a trek is rewarding if it goes through treacherous but beautiful countryside, full of adventurous twists and turns, and superb sights. The climb to Kedarnath was one such experience. I am sure those who have been to the Valley of Flowers of elsewhere in the Himalayas will echo my sentiments. The trek is difficult - 13 kilometers of steep climb in rarefied air, on a path not wider than 3 feet at places, strewn with loose and slippery pebbles, with a cliff towering on one side and a dizzying gorge on the other. In the distance, the white capped peaks of Himalayas move in and out of the line of sight alluringly. The azure sky providing the perfect contrast. There are spoilers too, in the form of all pervading mule dung and its heavy, musty odour. At that altitude, sunburns are common, despite the chilling winds - something that surprises most people. However, the destination is worth it. Once you reach the Kedarnath temple and take in its environs, the sanctity, pristine beauty, the silence (with the rush of the nascent Ganges drowning everything else), and the overwhelming effect of the towering mountains - all these make every minute of the trek, however painful, worth it.

Similarly, the journey to motherhood is anything but a breeze. From the moment you decide to have a family, to the time when you actually conceive, carry your child and deliver, it is the journey of a lifetime. I am not going to go into the nitty-gritties of each phase since that would require another blog altogether! But it would be enough to say that it involves a lot an lot of loving work.

Deciding to have a child is an implicit decision to be responsible for another life; to care; to love - all unconditionally.

And the payback, believe you me, is worth it. For most people, sometime between the frantic chaos of delivery and the next two months, the 'magical moment' appears - the time from which their little one starts binding you in the invisible webs of her charms. That could be the first time she gazes quizzically at you, her tiny brows furrowed. Or the time when she suckles contently at your breast. Or when you pick her up when she is crying. Despite the sleepless nights, unending diaper changes and infinite rocking to put the baby to sleep, you suddenly find yourself awash with a soft, warm kind of feeling. One that fills you up inside so well that there is no space for any any negative emotion left. From then onwards, it is a medley of delightful discoveries. The first smile. The first gurgle. The first indication of recognition. The list, thankfully, is endless!     

Life changing? Yeah. Challenging? Very. Draining? At times. But also incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. I continue to be fascinated by my little bundle of joy, and in turn, continue to discover myself. The journey, thankfully, has so far been just beautiful.