Seeing the World as a Parent


“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” 

― Debra Ginsberg


It’s been over a year since I’ve paid any attention to my blog. It’s been a momentous year and a half. If I thought my pregnancy was eventful with the Graves’ Disease diagnosis, the last stretch was even more so.

The past year has been the tough. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, filled with love and tears, good times, great times, bad times, miserable times. If child birth and breastfeeding was painful, the post-partum depression broke me. As I fought to keep my grasp on who I am in my changing life, I have watched the world around me crumble and tear itself apart. Bomb blasts, killings, war, violence, I have had to stop watching the news for a while. My already fragile self found it hard to handle all that hatred. I could not bear to see more people suffer. But watching children die has been the worst. Little sparks snuffed out even before they could blaze. And every time, I find myself asking, “Why God, why does it always have to be the children? Why bring those pure souls into this world just to make them suffer the most?” I’m not a religious person. My idea of God is simple: Love for fellow beings. But prayer has been my refuge in times of despair. And how can I not? I have become acutely aware of every parent’s worst nightmare, losing their child.

Image of a parent holding the hand of a child
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The Last Stretch


“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”

Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year


Just as Week 35 of my pregnancy began, I woke up that weekend to an attack of  horrible itchy rash on my pregnant body. The angry rash spread all over without mercy. I went to my doctor during the week, who put me on antihistamine and ordered some blood tests. When I asked her about relief from the itching, she said perhaps I could try cold water or ice? She sent me home with an appointment to see her the next week.

Those two weeks were the worst thing I have experienced. I couldn’t sleep, because I would wake up in the middle of the night to terrible itching, and sit for hours with ice packs over my raw skin, because nothing else helped. The antihistamine did not work, even though it came to a point where I was taking three tablets a day. I tried aloe vera gel, oatmeal baths, oatmeal paste, none of which worked for beyond a couple of hours. I’ve never missed calamine lotion more in my life. In the summer, I was cold and shivering most of the time, from ice packs and cold showers. This went on for about ten days till I found myself sitting on my couch one morning, applying another ice pack and crying. If I couldn’t deal with this, how was I going to deal with labour and motherhood?

The finishing line
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The Way We Look


“Look upon the world with loving eyes and the reflection everyone sees will contain love.” 

― Bryant McGill


A: Yes, I went to their house to meet her.

B: Did you see her children?

A: It was late by the time I got to their house. So only the oldest one was awake. The youngest is just 3 months old.

B: Now that she has three children, is she fat?

I interrupted in an exasperated tone, ‘How does that even matter? She’s just had a child!’

Later that evening, as I kept playing that conversation in my head, it hit me: it’s things like these that make even a five-year-old child have body image issues.

A meerkat crowned for its looks by fellow meerkat judges, leaving out other animals
Photo Credit: Jeanne Masar via Compfight cc

Why?

Because when we define a woman by the way she looks, when we use words like “fat”, “too thin”, “sexy eyes”, “big nose”, “chunky thighs”, “ugly”, “big boobs”, “pretty”,  we are reducing her entire existence to be the sum total of her body parts, labelling each, as if she’s a specimen to be dissected. We are telling her that it doesn’t matter if she’s brilliant, smart and intelligent, it doesn’t matter if she’s talented, if she has a successful career she loves, if she’s kind and generous, it doesn’t even matter if she’s a good human being, because her one sole purpose in life is to fall within the purview of what others consider to be “beautiful”. And let’s be clear here, it’s physical beauty we are after. Whoever cares about what’s on the inside? The heart and the mind are just organs to keep us alive, right?

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To My Unborn Child


“Now may every living thing, young or old,

weak or strong, living near or far, known or

unknown, living or departed or yet unborn,

may every living thing be full of bliss.” 

― AnonymousThe Dhammapada


A pregnant woman with her hand over her belly and a butterfly on her hand
Photo Credit: adamjonfuller via Compfight cc

To my little boy

Yet to be born

I do not care if you get my eyes

Nose, ears, or curly hair

You have lived in me

A part of me

My son

We will forever be bound together

The only thing I wish for you

What I hope you will do

Be a better man my son

Than what the world expects you to be

It sets the bar oh so low

For a boy to become a man

As if

That’s all a man can be

But you my child

Are a butterfly in the making

Spreading your wings in the cocoon I weave

Be everything you wish to be

You my darling son

Are born to a man

Who will show you how to be patient and kind

You are born to a woman

Who will do her best to teach you

That doing right is worth doing

You might hear ridicule

That’s what the world does

To souls that do not melt into the crowd

To the lion-hearted who stand apart

I’d rather you be different my son

Than be the man the world expects you to be