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November 19, 2008

Cluck, cluck, cluck...

I don't clearly remember the first time I had that dream. I have not had it for a while now, but the details are clear.

A red jeep, open top, me driving it, thumping music playing but it's not too loud. I am driving down familiar mountain roads and I'm very happy. I am wearing denim dungarees, a red shirt and have a cap on my head. My hair, open and uncombed, is streaming behind me and I am smiling easily. On the passenger seat is a girl, about 4-years-old, wavy hair, open, hearty laughter and dressed exactly like me. Both of us love whatever music is playing and she keeps insisting on replaying her favourite song. I don't mind, I love her. She is my daughter. Most mischievous, most adorable, most treasured.

I have not had that dream in a while. Perhaps it's because I realise that reality and wishful thinking are two very different things. I am growing older; 30 in May.

I yearn. I know it does not scare me anymore, the idea that anything new or extra in my life, any added responsibilities will take me away from other cherished dreams. Or will hinder the way I have operated so far: decide on something and then bend whoever, whatever to my will. Get my way with a single-minded focus that is flexible enough to incorporate distractions. I won't say I don't care about my former dreams; just that now I know that the older me can fit those dreams in or around a child. I can wait for other dreams but I want my earlier dream in flesh.

I've always wondered about my parents and other parents like them. How can you just give up everything you are, were, wanted, for children? I have always doubted if I am going to be up to it. To change, modify, perhaps even let rest, all that I want to do, want to explore....when I have a child of my own. What if I would regret it later? What if I blame my child later? What if I am a bad mother? What if I cannot change and thereby harm my child?

I don't know what has changed; but I know it has changed. I don't even know when it started. I've always enjoyed cuddling other peoples' kids, have always managed a friendly rapport with toddlers and teenagers alike... Now when I see kids though, it's almost a violent reaction. I don't like holding other peoples' kids because it hurts. Because when I give the child back, I feel bereft. But how can I feel bereft when I have never had it? And what do I miss?

The nine months of pregnancy hurt, morning sickness hurts, the back hurts. Labour nearly kills. My mother had both my brother and me as caesarians. It has scarred her abdomen for life. Her stitches still hurt. After my brother she developed varicose veins. But she loves us! Why?

I've heard stories, first-hand, of how infants bite nipples and make them bleed. Of how breast-feeding is not as magical an experience as books make them out to be. Of how parents don't get sleep because babies wake up whenever they want to. How you have to constantly change smelly nappies, watch out for them, look after them. Oh hell. My parents still worry about me, which only means that once you have children, it never really ends.

I know all that. I yearn. And I get jealous, horrendously, inexplicicably envious of mothers as they happily, peacefully take their babies for walks in prams. It hurts somewhere inside - I don't understand where -- when I see babies snuggle into the necks of their mothers. Or when mothers on trains seem to have perfect conversations with a two-year-old. Nothing else seems to matter to them. And oh it hurts.

It doesn't matter... journalism, books, seeing the world, being independent.

And I fear. Desperately. I've always been a perfectionist. I hate not knowing, not being able to do something as best as I think it should be done. As long as it is possible to do it better, I will do it. And yet I am learning that not everything is in my hands. Two couples I know are trying hard, very hard, to have a baby. Endometriosis, in vitro, syringes, steroids, pain. But no child...

What if I don't have a child? What if I can't? I dread.

PS: Will it make me a lesser woman if I can't... It is no one else who will judge; but knowing myself, knowing my perfectionist nature... I don't know.

PS2: Poor Partner! He shudders. (lol)


Goofy Mumma said...

Wow! I am amazed at the depth of your thoughts on parenthood, so much before you have become one. I had not thought one tenth of all that you have, when I became a mother.

I am sure you will make a wonderful mother, throw all the apprehensions out of the window. And honestly as far as having babies are concerned, I just don't understand why people go through all that pain, isn't adoption just a wonderful option?

avijit bakshi said...

Still reading, even though I hardly ever comment. Just to let you know.

Shruti said...

hey jhoomur!
have been reading your blog from a LONG time, just that haven't commented often.I totally understand and empathise with your thoughts.i'm too young to be thinking about motherhood(18 is young innit?) but i have had very similar thoughts.you just have to trust your instincts.i'm sure you'll make a great mother.a belated happy diwali to you.sad that you couldn't enjoy it.take care.

Bones said...

I've been reading your blog for a while but have never commented...
I never really gave much thought to parenthood but I knew vaguely that I didn't want a child...My husband too didn't want one...Then I got pregnant - we were both a bit disappointed...Actually, my husband was more so than me...He had absolutely no interest...Thankfully, I didn't go through labour - had a C-section...When I saw my daughter for the first time, I had no feelings...I didn't know why people said things like "You'll instantly fall in love" etc. ...It took some time to fall in love with my baby...I am not a baby person and so am not very motherly but I'm glad I had my daughter...She really does bring joy into our lives...Without her I don't know what my life would have been like...Although I love my daughter, I also know that I don't want another child...Maa Shooncho?

Maxine said...

today my mom called me a bad mother.
everything hurts in here.
felt nice reading this again. and hello,be my neighbor and u can live ur dream with a slight slight difference.

where are you?

eve* aka jb said...

hello all
sorry for the disappearing act...again! Currently its got to do with there being no internet at home and me being bloody lazy. sometime soon though...

Maxine: i hear you.

Bones: ?! Shoonchi...and good decision. will respond in detail later..

thankyou for reading all....helps keep the sanity here. Babies though are a far, far distant dream. Or may be not. Sigh. Shrug. Who knows? who cares?

PS: who cares?

maxine said...

If someone comes
n tell you I care
would you care?

Having a dream and the ability to take care of that dream when it does come ur way are different.For eg;there was this 50 something old woman who wanted a child,had no husband,so sought the help of doc and conceived.Her giving birth made news n all and then one day when the lil boy became a toddler he walked into a bucket filled with water and put his head in it and died.The mom and her house help was in the house but did not see all this until it was too late.

I'm none to offer an advice.But can say this much that its a full time job in itself,atleast for the first 5 or 6 or 7 yrs depending on how the child is etc. gotta go ya..sheesh.later.

MsMRC said...

After going from waiting a few years to begin trying, to trying desperately for a long time and being the object of well meaning and insensitive advice from others who just accidentally/effortlessly got there and didn't/couldn't understand why we just couldn't "take it easy" because "adoption is a wonderful option" (it was the last option for us) to ,almost having to undergo IVF to finally,miraculously feeling this baby kicking inside me, I can understand where you're coming from. All I can say is that if you really ,truly want to have one sometime, dont leave it too late, to atleast begin trying.

Eve* aka JB said...

@ MsMRC: Your words echo my fear. I am too scared that when i will finally try...i wont be able to conceive...or that because i smoke, the baby be will be deformed. or once it grows up...it will hate me. But more often that i will never get pregnant and never have a baby. it scares me to death.

MsMRC said...


Didnt mean to scare you, so here goes-

Have faith in yourself and in modern medicine . True, the clock is ticking, but it's not a good idea to let it push you into something you're not ready for .

I have an addiction to food, which is just as hard to kick and as unhealthy as smoking, but at the risk of sounding too-full-of-myself(which I am in more ways than one;) , once you concieve, you WILL actually find the will power to give up smoking ,atleast during your pregnancy.I know someone who used to smoke (chimney style) and has managed to give birth to two normal kids.

As far as the baby hating you , do you hate your folks? Also, if you've managed to live your life on your own terms so far, chances are ,baby JB's going to have an interesting and loving mom,and thats the kind which is difficult to hate :)

Eve* aka JB said...

@MsMRC: hmm...and maybe the baby doesnt want an interesting mom but just a normal mom. Sigh. will stop getting paranoid and hope as hell things go fine... thank-you though. :)