10 things I googled as a first time mother

At the outset, I want to underline the fact that I love my baby. No, I do not regret being a mother. Infact, I thank God everyday for his faith in me to bless me with a baby. This post is not meant to bring forth any hatred for parenting or to discourage any to-be mom. It’s a realistically funny take on the struggles of a new mom.

Being a new mother is unexpectedly overwhelming. You have no idea how its going to be but know its going to be magical (’cause that’s what everyone claims). And then, when you actually have your baby, you realise it is nothing flowery or starry. And the bubble bursts. I had my baby recently. She’ll turn 4 months tomorrow and I’m here to tell you what the first month was like for me. If you’re already a mom, you know what I’m talking about and if you’re not, you can judge me all you want.

Google is what you turn to when you have questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask. Following are top ten things I googled in the first month of my baby’s life.

  1. How to hold the baby?
    Yes! I did it. I actually googled how to hold the baby. I knew before my baby’s birth that babies are small and delicate and podgy and have no neck control but I had no idea that holding a baby is so intimidating.
  2. How to swaddle my baby?
    I did watch some youtube videos on how to swaddle a baby but when I tried doing it, I needed a refresher course.
  3. When will my breastmilk come?
    You think you’ll start milking the moment baby is born which may or may not be true. In my case, it was latter. And it was disheartening.
  4. How to breastfeed?
    Let me tell you, breastfeeding is one of the toughest thing I have had to do in my life. How to feed? How to properly latch the baby? How to know if the baby’s getting enough milk? I googled it all.
  5. Am I suffering from postpartum depression?
    Instead of being an elated mother with glowing skin and endorphins in my body as I expected, I was the one with under eye bags and crying bouts waiting for chloasma to go away. But to answer the question, I wasn’t depressed. I just had baby blues.
  6. When will I feel attached to my baby?
    Call me a bad mother but it wasn’t in any magical moment that I saw my baby and fell head over heels in love with her. in reality, I could properly see her only 24 hrs after she was born. The drugs and sleep deprivation kept me from having any birth related bonding and later as the sleep deprivation continued and she cried more than she was awake, it was difficult to look at her as the heart and soul to my flesh. I can honestly say that I started “loving ” her by the end of 3rd week.
  7. When can I resume daily activities after a C-section?
    Despite the fact that you have an OBG telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, there are so many silly questions that I kept googling. Can I bend down to change my baby’s nappy? When can I walk around the house doing basic chores? Can I strain to poop?
  8. When will I stop bleeding down below?
    Sounds yucky but I’m guilty.
  9. What to do if baby won’t stop crying?
    You have fed the baby, you’ve checked the diaper, you’ve burped her and you’ve done everything you possibly can think of but she won’t stop crying and neighbours are asking if you’re killing her?
  10. And finally… When does it get easier with a newborn?
    You want to know when the unnecessary crying will stop. When will you get to sleep for 3 hours at stretch. When will you be able to get out of the house. When will you be able to understand her cues.

    It’s a relief to hear new mums around the world struggling with same problems as you. If you’re a new mother please know that you are not alone and that it will pass. Get all help you can, personal and medical. And that there’s a beautiful light at the end if this tunnel. Babies are so worth all the pain. If you don’t believe me, wait till she smiles for the first time!

The boy without hair

He was an eight year old boy and he did not have any hair on his scalp. Never had. The rest of him was normal. He had normal eyebrows or eyelashes. He had fair complexion in a country of brown people. He was healthy and active. Everything but hair. His mother and father were doctors and they had consulted specialists of all sorts. Apparently it was some genetic condition. When the boy had been younger it didn’t bother him this much. He had his favourite toys and he had friends. But as he grew up, kids around became mean and judgemental. They would not play with him, eat lunch with him in school or come to his birthday party. They gave him mean nicknames and sniggered. It broke his heart piece by piece.

Since he couldn’t have usual friends, he started making queer ones. He befriended all the dogs that lived behind his school and sneaked in sometimes only to be scared and run after by school guards. He became friends with his bus driver who was a ruggedly rude Muslim but to him he was chacha jaani. He shared his lunch with the sweeper’s daughter who was 10 years older than him and a school dropout. And he played Frisbee with the old man who came to his community park in evening. The old man was paralysed knee below and clamped to a wheelchair. Every evening a servant would come and drop him off to the park and pick him up later only when the old man would call him up. The boy saw him one day, the laces of old man’s shoes unfastened and offered to tie them into bunny hairs, the way his mom did for him.

“Leave them be, its not like I’m tipping over or anything.”, the old man had replied.

“But my mom says, you should never leave your shoelaces undone.” He was quirky. He bent down clutching the Frisbee in his armpit and tied the laces. Once done he stood up and took seat on a bench nearby.

“Why are you sitting? Isn’t that Frisbee for playing?”

He looked at other kids playing cricket with woeful eyes and said, “They don’t play with me. That boy over there” he pointed one out “was my best friend. But now he calls me an alien. I don’t have hair.” He pulled a face with that last sentence. The old man surveyed the situation and offered himself for playing. The boy had gladly agreed. And that day on, both of them played everyday. He’d throw Frisbee and the old man would catch and throw back. If the old man couldn’t catch because of his legs tied to the wheelchair, the boy would pick up and throw again. They became Frisbee-Friends as the boy called him. The boy would tell stories about school, the dogs, the sweeper’s daughter and chacha jaani. And the old man would listen intently.

But he was an eight year old boy after all and once in a while he’d catch deplorable glimpses of other children who would never let him in. Now that he hung out with the old man, he was considered even more misfit. The boy cried sometimes and longed to be treated better by other kids. He cried to his mother and questioned his father about why this was happening to him. But nothing grew his hair.

And then one day as he reached park, the old man seemed weaker and paler.

“I don’t think I can play today.”

“It’s okay. I can tell you about my English lesson. My teacher read us a story today, A Christmas Carol. It was so nice. It’s about a mean old man…”

He kept on and on without realizing that old man had lost consciousness. As soon as he caught the glimpse, he tried to wake the old man up. He shook him and shook him harder. He kicked him too bit when old man didn’t get up, he shouted for help. There was no grown up in the park. Only the kids, playing cricket. Most of them were his age. He hollered the boy who had once been his friend. But everybody ignored him like every other time. He didn’t know what to do, so he ran to them and said, “Something is wrong with the old uncle. We have to help.” They listened to him but nobody moved. “Help him quick, please.”

A bigger boy came to the front line and said, “Go away. We can’t help. We’re not supposed to mingle with strangers.”

“But he might…might die.” He was scared to bone now.

They turned their backs and resumed the game. He ran back to the old man. And tried to wake him up. Seeing no response he scratched his brain hard. What could he do? And then he remembered, how old man kept a mobile phone in his pocket to call his servant to pick him up. He brought out the phone and called the last called number and informed how old man was unconscious.

Soon after the servant came with a woman who was probably as old as his mother. They asked him about what happened and he told the whole story starting from A Christmas Carol to the phone call while they rolled the wheelchair out. Ambulance approached and all of them went away. He ran back home crying. He told his mother everything and she comforted her panic stricken son saying repeatedly that his Frisbee friend would be alright.

He became all the more aloof since that incident. He’d remain inside home and paint mountains in his drawing book rather than going out. His mother sometimes saw him looking longingly at other kids through the window. Weeks went by and he started tortoising inside the house. His mother became worried and then one day she insisted, convinced and instructed him to go out to play. He sadly carried his Frisbee and dragged himself out towards park.

But he was pleasantly surprised to see the old man there. He ran with open arms and ear to ear smile yelling Frisbee friend. The old man reciprocated equally hugging an squeezing him.

“What happened to you?” The boy asked.

“Oh. My heart got lazy and took a break from work. Doctors call it heart attack. I’m totally fine now. They’ve just added couple more pills to my everyday routine. That’s all. What happened to you? I’ve been coming for 4 days now and you were nowhere to be seen.”

“I was scared something bad happened to you. And since there are no more friends here, I didn’t want to come to park. The one day that i came these kids threw my Frisbee into trash bin, and pushed me to the ground.”

The old man held the tiny torso of the boy in his hands and said, “My nurse told me what happened. I’m going to let you in on a secret. You know who is more sad and pitiable than people who don’t have hair? Its people who don’t have courage. In fact not having hair isn’t a problem at all. You’re not missing on anything. If those kids can’t realize what a wonderful boy you are, they are not worth crying over. Because you may not have hair, but you have kindness to those dogs, comfort for that poor girl and respect for your chacha zaani. More than anything you have courage. Courage to help an old man when you didn’t know what to do. And boy, that is precious. You’re special.”

With this both of them smiled and though the old man was still too weak to play, they had a good time catching up. And that night when his mother put him to bed, he was smiling.

So she asked, “You seem happy. Something special?”

An he said peacefully, “Yes. I’m special. Because I don’t have hair. And because I have courage.”

Love!

She had been his college crush. Those three years, he had spent most of the time looking at her, dreaming about her and imagining his future with her. She probably knew it or maybe she didn’t. He never tried to make sure. For him it was sufficient to have her occupy his thoughts. And before he could find enough courage in his heart to approach her, college ended and she got engaged and married and went away.

It had been 6 years and in the meantime he had got married to a girl his family chose for him. His wife was remarkably ordinary and dedicatedly committed. She had become a part of his life seamlessly. She had been through some thin times with him and stood by ferociously. She had never given him a reason to complain or be hurt. And he had given her back all the emotions he could. He had a bond with her which wasn’t just a part of his duty as a husband. All in all he had a happy life.

But deep within he still had a remorse. His heart often whispered in the dead of night that would he have given more had he married the girl his heart had once whined for. Would life have been better? Would he been happier? Would he have kept his wife happier? There were days when his heart weighed culpability more than his devotion. He worked hard to be a good husband every chance he could get not because his wife ever complained, but because his heart needed to be convinced that he was giving it all.

And then one day as he sat in his departmental store managing accounts, his worst nightmare came up to him. “We were in college together, weren’t we?”

It took him a while to accept the reality of moment but he managed to prevent making a fool of himself. Was it really her? He had thought painfully enough about her these past few years but he couldn’t be sure of her face now that she was possibly standing in front of her. They talked and he was told that she was in town for a few days. Before he could gather himself, he had agreed to meet her in a cafeteria next day.

As he was entering the cafeteria the next day, he saw her sitting through the window. She was busy with her phone, probably texting. He gave her a thorough look and all he could see was an acquaintance. Someone he had gone to college with. It did not give him the butterflies or the temptation to forego the integrity of his marriage as he had dreaded. He did not feel as weighed down as he had throughout night.

They greeted each other, had coffee and talked. She told him about her family, showed him a picture of her kids and asked him about his wife and business. He enjoyed the conversation and oddly felt friendly for her. Platonically friendly. As the conversation moved forward, all the burden that he had secretly stashed in deep corners of his heart dissolved like salt in water.

They parted ways outside the cafeteria and he took the road to the flower shop. He bought some lilies, her wife’s favourite and addressed “To the love of my life. My one and only”

He walked towards home, almost prancing. His feet felt light as feathers and his heart lighter than his feet. In that moment, it dawned upon him, he had fallen in love with his wife. Not just a crush or infatuation, Love!