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.