My story begins on the Christmas day of 2012. The day that was the happiest crazy day of my life—I was pregnant!! God had answered my prayers. I felt the superlative of ecstatic (if that exists). I couldn’t wait for my baby to be with me! After that day, there have been multiple times I have had what could be classified as “freaking out” moments.
During my pregnancy, I developed the habit of devoting an hour every evening to feeling for my foetus; my lovely child always relented with a couple of dance moves. One day, when I sat down to do so, there was no movement. I tried everything but he wouldn't budge. The fear consumed me. I cried enough to fill a bucket, as the tears hit the rim, my son jived! I knew this boy would change me forever.
Then came the day he was born. As soon as he was placed in my arms, I felt pure ecstasy, amazement and relief. He was a happy, healthy and rosy boy! I forgot all my anxiety. I believed motherhood would come easy to me. I thought I had all the ammunition (being a pediatrician) to get this perfectly right. I would be the best mother ever!
What came next was a series of questions and doubts. Is he drinking enough? Is he dehydrated? Why is his cry meek? Did he sleep well? Shouldn’t he sleep now, it’s been three hours? Why is his poop green? Shouldn't it be mustard yellow by now? Is that a rash, or am I seeing things? I even asked myself; Am I ready to be a mother at all? Am I a good enough mother?
Everything is trial and error and that is scary. Every child is different but then, who can put a first time mom’s fear at bay and convince her that she is doing something right? If my boy is happy and healthy why am I sick with worry? I worry if I am providing the best of all worlds to him. I worry, if he is getting the right food, toys, books, clothes and the right amount of sleep, discipline and fun. I worry am I falling short?
A mother’s mind is never at rest, more so a first-time mother. What makes it worse for me is, people judge me by the fact that I am a pediatrician and think bringing up a child would be a breeze for me, or at least I know what a textbook kid should be and I should know better. But do I?
All I know is, I am taking long deep breaths to enjoy this time with my boy and work through anxious times. He is my life and nothing else matters or should matter. It’s natural to feel I could do better but it’s good enough for now. What I see in my smiling baby’s eyes is a stellar mother. Yes, in his world, my good enough is stellar.
Vaishali Bansilal Kaul, 32, New York City, USA
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