By Zayne Khan
As an Indian woman, your identity is recognised by your homemaking skills, your husband and his job, the amount of children you bear and their behaviour.
Well this never suited me at all! Especially coming from a large family where the eldest children is always roped in to care for the younger siblings or to do chores..
I decided early on I wasn’t marrying or having kids. My time would be my own. True to my word I never sought marriage ( of course, watching the women manage their helpless.. sometimes abusive husbands, cemented my view.) and I didn’t experience any maternal feelings or broodiness. I was one of those who’d go “Ooh so cute, OK now take stinky back!” Lol..don’t judge but I didn’t see the appeal of kids.
So I entered my thirties, happily single, comfortable in my own skin and while I’ve had healthy relationships, I still wasn’t converted to being a mum and wife. Then….my sister fell pregnant.
She had been in an abusive relationship previously and had two boys with him but no longer had any contact with them. Her new boyfriend wasn’t much better and by the time my niece was born they were living in a shack and had no income.
My niece was barely four months old when she was abandoned (no, that is too harsh a word), surrendered to my parents’ care as my sister was unable to give the baby the care she needed.
At the time, my parents were not in the best of health so yours truly had the responsibility of this infant’s well- being in her hands.
I laugh now but six years ago I was petrified, totally unprepared and unimpressed! Suddenly, I was a mom????!!!!
Oh my word! That first nappy change practically sent me screaming put of the door! The smell, the wriggling baby, getting poop everywhere and was poop even supposed to be that colour?! Wait! How do you change a baby with only one hand when the other is keeping her from escaping?
What do I even say about the first night getting up for feeds and nappy changes? My sleep was disturbed, I couldn’t read or chat online with friends, I was at the beck and call of a lumpy, smelly, barfing infant!
And no one tells you how scary it is to hold a wiggling infant in the bath water and your heart rate shoots through the roof at the thought of dropping her or drowning her or getting soap in her eyes! By the end of the first week, I was exhausted but I did have a new appreciation for mums – old and new!
Plus, Kashy and I were coming to an understanding. I understood that she needed total care as well as lots of cuddles. She understood that I was completely under her control with a single shriek or a single tear.
Looking back, I cringe when I think of times I lost my temper at this little bundle of sweet innocence.
I was so resentful of the time she had consumed, the mess she left behind after bath or playtime or snacks. Time that I could have been shopping or doing my hair. My Hair??! I suddenly realised I had no beauty regime. I was wearing whatever was easiest to throw on. Even if it was hideous!
God..if I could tell you the rants and screaming sprees. The curses and the tantrums I put my parents through. They certainly didn’t experience any of that during my teenage years. And it was truly a learning curve for me.
Learning to share myself, my time. Learning to organise my time because babies need a schedule and routine. Nap times, feeding times, play times, clinic appoointments and fitting everything else in inbetween. I scoff and say I have no maternal instincts…….
That probably still is true but what I do have is a bond forged under pressure to a little girl who won my heart with the sweetest, toothless grin ever. A bond that has been formed through trial and error, through laughter and tears. A bond that is unbreakable six years later!
She now knows her mom who is back in our lives but she’s still with me and although her mom tried, she doesn’t want to go back and live with her.
Its really strange that I still look at marriage and kids as a no-no but yet, here she is in my life and I wouldn’t change her or the experience/love she’s brought to
my life. Sometimes I wonder that perhaps this was a lesson that God had intended for me.
Maybe I was too selfish or judgemental before this precious gift came into my life.
Whatever the case may be, I’m grateful I got to experience motherhood for myself!