Saturday, March 21, 2009

Continued...............

I am a mother. I conceived,carried and I delivered, twice. Before conception I worried because I wanted a child so bad. After conception I spent the first 3 months nauseated or at the commode throwing up. The next 3, happy and content eating whatever I wanted. The last 3 back at the commode but peeing mostly. I see no point talking about the intensity of the labor pains, I delivered normally both the times and I know there is no pain like that pain. The stitches I walked around with and which extended from my vagina to the rectal area were not pleasant too.The constipation that followed meant me being in the bathroom and crying for hours, scared that any pressure would open up my stitches.Breastfeeding,initially, was pretty painful, though I went onto breastfeed(exclusively) both my children till 18 months.Some things which stayed even when this period ended....stretch marks, back aches which come and go,urinary incontinence which thankfully has gone and a lifetime of worry.

Then comes the next stage. With the first born, I cried every time he did. I laughed every time he did. I developed these faint worry lines on my forehead and many a strand of gray hair. As a young parent, I still don't know what it means to sleep throughout the night. Most of the days I am tierd enough to cry. We, my husband and I have faint memories of what it feels like to be a couple.(Being in US though temporarily, means no support system , hence no breaks at all).
I won an All Round Excellence Award in the college, a college which has been coming in the top 3, in the country for arts and social sciences for the last 12+ years. I was touted as the most likely to become the Future President/District Commissioner in my hostel. Today I sit at home, a choice with which I struggled initially but now see it as one of the best decisions of my life so far.

I worry over everything which might cause my child worry. I want to shield my child from everything dark and unhappy, sickness and pain. I want them both to be happy and healthy and good people. I debate and discuss and deliberate on how to do things best for them. I am honest enough to admit that I have compromised and made many a sacrifice already, though I have no regrets whatsoever.

When either of my child is sick , my husband worries himself sick, about how he/she must be hurting. He sleeps next to my sick child, waking through the night to check on him/her. He who gets a headache if he is sleep deprived , goes without sleep for days caring for the child. He works hard to provide and ensure a safe and secure future for my children.
We complaint about the lack of couple time, lack of sleep, lack of privacy, lack of freedom, lack of a sense of abandonment, of thinking about just ourselves......life changes after a child is born...on many levels. We are at it 24/7....to give it all... the best way we know so.

We have been parents for the last 4.5 years. Its been a roller coaster ride.Now,we know exactly what our parents must have gone through and still feel. You do not retire from the job of a parent. You are one until you die.

What I have seen around me in this country is children not going to India to be with their sick and dying parents because their trip will somehow jeopardize their Green Card or citizenship.I have seen people actually debating how it is not practical to go again within a year to be with a father who is on the deathbed. The first trip was for the then dying and now dead mother. I have heard of only sons not going for cremation. These very mothers came to be with their daughters and daughter in laws during pregnancy and delivery. I have seen parents undergo major surgeries alone or have undergone the painful and slow recovery ...alone. The reasons are many, most famously being...bachhon ko school ki chhutti nahin hai,Green Card or Citizenship will be jeopardized, not practical have done our bit by sending money, my mother chose a bad time to fall sick... summer.. and my America born child does not do well in the Indian summer, I worked so hard for this I cannot let it go for a dying parent, I have a life to live.........the list is endless.

We cannot foresee or predict the future. We as parents give without expecting to receive. We also know, that no action of our children will ever make us stop loving them. But the mere thought of not being able to see and be with my children when I am at peace but lonely, sick though financially provided for, about to lose my spouse of 50 + years, dying but surrounded by people be it relatives or paid caretakers...causes me gut wrenching pain.
Will I then regret all that I did for my children, from the age of 27 to a lifetime...NEVER....but I will be in pain, I will certainly be in a lot of pain.

18 comments:

Renu said...

what you have written is all true, but one nevr regrets loving the children and parents dont love the children for getting it back in the same way...No, its a life cycle where welove our children with all we had and our children will love their children the same way and the cycle goes on.
What we do for our children..we get the instant return..by their smile, nothing in the world can compare with the happiness we get by watching our children grow, talk, walk, eat ..and that should be enough for us.
If my children are able to come to me anytime I want, I take it as a bonus, I didnt bring them up as a fixed deposit for my old age, that will be demeaning parent's love.
I get the happiness by watching them being happy, enjoying their life and I know in my heart that they love me very much and suppose if they are not able to come, there must be a reason valid enough.
I would nevr want them to jeopardise their future or put their career at stake for anything...and this is mother of grownup children saying.

Agar main un se apne har kasht ka hisaab loongi..then i dont deserve to be a mother.

D said...

So well written! As a parent, to not have the child you've loved with all your life beside you when you're dying can be so painful.

Chrysalis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chrysalis said...

Renu,

When I wrote about my husband and my experiences I was in no way trying to enumerate the things we have done for our children, which is anyways not much since we are very young parents. I just wanted to express that how from the moment of conception the child becomes the center of our lives. Does that mean we will not allow him/her to leave nest...not true, in fact we are training them to do just that. And when the nest is empty dont they still remain someone we love the most. Is it wrong to not expect, but WANT to see your child when you are lonely, sick or dying? Well I for one will certainly be guilty of that desire.

D
Thanks. The ever increasing non chalance about the old dying alone and amidst strangers is troubling for me. That is what inspired me to write this piece. The last on this issue. I hope if we are unable to do what is needed we will atleast honestly regret what we should have and couldn't.

Piper .. said...

What you write makes perfect sense to me. Even your anger at some weirdos makes sense. But I disagree with your basic premise that its a matter of values. Somewhere down the line, people may have pressing reasons to not be there at the death-bed of their parents. That does not give you or me the right to be angry or judgmental of them. My mind is not working any more. I need to sort out my own thoughts before I can even attempt to write. Shall be back..

Piper .. said...

also I just remembered something I`d read somewhere, esp after reading Renu`s post, which I agree with at most levels. Parenting is not an life insurance endowment policy, Chrysalis. We invest with the hope of getting certain dividends when we`re old. Right from conception, the child does continue to be the center of their lives. But is it fair for parents to keep reminding themselves or their children of the sacrifices they have made? Of course they want to/expect/desire to see their children when they`re old and dying. But what if the children cannot come by? What then???
I dont even want to waste time writing about people who dont want to or consider old parents a burden. But there can be people who just cannot make it back home on time. What you think as excuses, I definitely think as valid reasons. Phew! I should stop..I`m beginning to blabber..

Renu said...

I agree to Piper, I never like to tell my children anything like we did this for u... we didnt do that for them, we did it for our happiness only, I dont think we could do anything for anybody, if we didnt get happiness out of it, the children dont come in this world themselves, we brought them here and its our responsibility to help them grow.

Its very good to see your children loving u , caring for u, but if in future ever my children are not able to do something, i will always know in my heart, that they have some compulsion, but I can never doubt their sincerity and love for me.

Poonam J said...

My first visit to your blog, and definitely not the last....Your blog calls for attention to the dark side of life, which all of us at one point or the other have faced.We make our choices according to the conditions that exsist, and then we can never escape the consequences of our choices.Life is full of compulsions..so there is no right or wrong. ..I had read this somewhere....
To a father, when a child dies, the future dies; to a child when a parent dies, the past dies....so is life with its complexities.Very thought provoking post.

Chrysalis said...

Piper, Renu

I think it is my words which are failing me because I am not being able to convey my thoughts clearly. Piper ,Renu,I think we are talking about different things. Anyways I will try again.

1.Well this post is NOT about people who do their best and do not make it in time. It is about people who barely consider being with their parents when they need them the most. There is an absolute lack of thought and effort on their parts.

2. Retirement/endowment policy....this is not what I am talking about ....why would anyone think like that...I am sure most of the parents DONT. They will never measure their love on the basis of what their children could do for them.

3. This post is the third in the series. The first just talks about the dilemma we all face...not reaching in time and all that....this particular post is a result of the increasing lack of anxiety, sadness, guilt etc. and ABSOLUTE lack of thought and effort on the children's part.

4. I repeat it is not about people who worry sick and do their best when it is needed. Acknowledging that 'WE SHOULD BUT COULDNT' is necessary and the only best practice. Justifying this callous absence of sentiment of any sorts allows for a disturbing trend and a future bereft of values(for a lack of better word Piper) and a total breakdown of social integrity and cohesion.

Piper .. said...

yes, I got every word now :) Btw, leaving for home on the 1st of April and shall be back by the 5th of June. The good part amongst many, is that I shall remain connected through internet. I hope so at least :) So I`ll be in touch.

D said...

I have something for you on my blog.

Chrysalis said...

Piper,

At the risk of sounding like a grandma...you are a good child. :)
Have a safe trip, a lovely stay and be back home soon. And yes do stay in touch. If visiting Ranchi, do write about the city. I miss it dearly.

Chrysalis said...

D
Saw it. Will work on it asap. Thanks again.

Renu said...

:) clear now:) and piper you are going to ranchi...ohhhhhhh I miss those orange rasogullas:(

rupa said...

There may be people who have valid reasons for not being there for their parents when they need them. But it is very difficult to understand what parents go through when they dont have their loved ones near them when they are needed the most.

Chrysalis said...

Rupa,

Exactly my point Rupa. Recognizing and acknowledging even that is a good start and will set the right precedence. Thanks for ur feedback.

Viv said...

Compared to the kind of lives our parents and then theirs' have lived, we got our lives on a platter, and with each passing generation, this platter keeps getting bigger and bigger.With this, even our expectations keep growing bigger.Frankly,I don't think ours as well as subsequent generations can really have selfless love for our kids, compared with our previous generations. In one of your previous posts,I remember having read about your fetish for chocolates and that you hide them from your kids at times to make sure they don't lay their hands on them. Nothing wrong with it though, since you can always afford a fresh set of chocolates for your kids!
I am trying to draw an analogy from my home. Even today when we cook chicken at home, my dad picks the best pieces for us (even though he himself loves chicken) and leaves out the less-attractive pieces for himself-not that we cannot afford it, but caring selflessly for his kids has almost become a habit for him!It doesn't matter to him that his son, while at work, can choose anything on a 5-star menu for his food!
He did not want his eyes to be operated for cataract at an expensive private hospital and instead insisted on getting in done in a cheaper/government hospital,as I had pursued him that I will foot all the expenses for his operation, and he did not want to put additional financial burden on me. Most of my relatives come and ask me, "Hey Vivek, how much do you earn?" But my dad, the first person in this world who has the right to know everything about me, never even asks me where I spend my money! My dad is retired and lives on a pension, but he would never tell me that he needs any kind of financial support. There are countless examples, and each one of us can probably write thousands of pages on how much our parents care for us.
But I doubt if our as well as the subsequent generations will really have these emotions. We are increasingly becoming too mechanical,bothering more about career, growth and money, rather than look for the real, tiny pleasures of life.
I too belong to the same crop.I am not married yet, but looking at my lifestyle and career, I am sure I will not be able to do even a fraction of what my parents did for me. I do not see myself staying hungry for additional 2 hours to ensure I can enjoy a lunch with my kids when they are back from school.I may be able to afford better education and a much better lifestyle compared to what my parents could afford within their limited resources, but in terms of making them better human beings-I am not sure how much will I be able to contribute!

Chrysalis said...

Vivek

Very well said. I agree with you the quality and nature of affection is changing. Small pleasures of life we do not comprehend because we lack depth , emotions and intelligence. What we think is intelligence, success, right way to do things is just mass/media generated hype. The core values are alreday lost.

People take offense with the word values now. The more we hear 'its ok , its not practical" the more room we make for worse to come.Let us have the courage to admit we are messing up things.
I pray for humane values and humanity.