I chose motherhood at 20 and I don't regret it!
At an age when girls enjoy college life, go out for parties and lead a completely carefree life, I chose motherhood.
“Why do you always stop me from doing things?” “Why can’t I stay up late at night?” “Why can’t I play video games?” - These and many more are the questions I’m bombarded with day in and day out.
Welcome to the world of motherhood!
At an age when girls enjoy the college life, go out for parties and lead a completely carefree life, I chose motherhood. Yes, I chose to be a mother when I was twenty, and by the time I turned twenty-one, I proudly announced the arrival of my little cherub.
Tiny fingers entwined in mine, that flaky skin peeling off, that reddish complexion, all made me fall in love with my little one. The first thought that comes to your mind when you see your baby is, “How could I create a baby! A full human being, a part of me!” And once these overwhelming thoughts are gone, you start living each moment with your baby and also gear up for all the challenges that lie ahead.
My son was a happy baby, playful and comfortable in people’s company. Living in a joint Indian family, he got abundant love from everyone, and as the first baby on the nani’s side, he was the favourite there as well.
He would only cry when hungry, and thankfully, there were not many such crying moments to worry about. However, he just wouldn’t sleep, and that, my friends, was one big problem. Not that he would be cranky, but just that he would be in no mood to sleep at any time of the day or night.
The day was manageable as he would mostly play, throwing his tiny hands and feet in the air initially, graduating to sitting on the mat and playing with toys strewn all over, to walking around the house by the time he was one. The only constraint if he took a rare siesta was that I had to be around.
Even while sleeping, he would frequently open his eyes and on seeing me, would smile and sleep again instantly. However, if he didn’t spot me in the periphery of his bed, all hell would break loose and he would cry loudly.
Continue reading on the next page to see how difficult it gets at night to manage a baby who is always waking up!
Nights, however, were nightmarish, quite literally. With my hubby gone off to sea for half of the year, I would be left alone to my own devices. Sleeplessness was taking a toll on me as my son would be up almost all night, sleeping only for about half an hour to forty-five minutes and then waking up for another two hours before I could get a half hour’s relief.
My father-in-law was a huge support as early in the morning, I would just hand my son over to him after giving him a full feed and then the next four hours would be spent with me being in divine sleep. Counting a total of sleeping hours, my son would hardly sleep for about 4-6 hours in a total of 24 hours and that too in breaks!
God alone knows how he managed all that energy and growth when all studies point to the long hours of necessary sleep for infants. And since he would be up for such long hours, he would be hungry all the time. To compensate for the extra feeding, I had to introduce top feed every 4 hours, apart from breastfeeding him every hour. So day and night this cycle went on and on.
Then came his crawling stage. At the age of 7.5 months, he got up with great difficulty, taking the help of two thick but empty hard cover files and took his first five steps in this big world.
If a child chooses to straightaway graduate to walking instead of crawling, there are bound to be difficulties. He was ecstatic that he could do something different, so he would stand up all the time, try to walk with his wobbly knees and in due course, make a mad dash to whichever place he decided as his target.
Once very close to that place, his excitement would get the better of him and he would fall with a thud. This had to be attended to and so I would always stay on red alert and walk right behind him in a squatting position with arms ready to clutch him in case he falls. This went on for around 2 months, until he was about 10 months old and his walk had steadied considerably.
Once he started walking, I had another challenge to face. As soon as he wanted to pee at night, he would just get up without any warning in the dark and start walking on the bed, towards I don’t know what! So even while sleeping, I had to be alert to spring into action and hold his hand before he falls off the bed with eyes shut.
His no sleep requirement activities went on till he turned two years old and then, as if by some miracle, he developed a better sleeping pattern.
Continue reading on the next page to know why this mother was so happy to be a mom at 21!
Looking back at that time, I always feel that had I chosen motherhood at a later stage, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to manage with him as I did at that time. Waking up almost round-the-clock, staying active in whatever little sleep I could manage to walking behind him in a crouching position so that he doesn’t fall and hit his head on the floor; this just wouldn’t have been possible for me now when I am in my thirties.
Exhaustion sets in easily now and the knees seem to give way if I try to squat. Not that I’m very old chronologically, but everybody’s platter is so full with various things these days that we start feeling old at a relatively young age.
I just turned 34 and my son is on the threshold of teenage. He will enter his teens in March 2017. Now I have a different set of problems to deal with. I started my article with his usual rants and those are just a fraction of what I get to hear the whole day through. Not that he is a highly disobedient child but the effect of teenage is surely brushing upon him.
I can only thank my stars for facing this, and all that is to come, at a comparatively younger age. It gives me jitters to think of how I would have handled all this if I had to do so had I been in my forties.
I can't end this note without thanking my husband, who ensured that I didn’t get bogged down by motherhood pressures and occasionally we did go out to the disc (benefits of staying in a joint setup). We went for a lot many outings and carried our son along almost everywhere. So, I lived and loved life all this while.
Author's note: These are entirely my personal views based on my personal experiences. I do not intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments with this write-up. There are many women around me who have chosen motherhood at a later stage and are far better than me at their job. A big hug for all the lovely mothers out there!
Hailing from the hills, Shivangi Kaushik Dikshit is married to a man from the high seas. Her world revolves around her adorable son.
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