My daughter has changed my life. She’s the source of infinite smiles and cuddles and even at this tender age, has the ability to love me more than anyone has ever loved me before.
We planned a child after four years of our marriage. In some way, it was a conscious decision but also that life turned out in such a way that we had no time or mind-space to think about children until then. So, our daughter came in our lives when we were ready. She wasn’t a ‘oops’ baby or a split second , unsought incident.
So, I should have been ready for her. I should have known that life will change. I was wise enough to realize that my world would revolve around her. Yet, here I am, fourteen months in motherhood and still battling random pangs of depression.
This is different than the overwhelming emotions that led me to be depressed just after she was born. I wasn’t prepared then, everything was new and difficult. I know how to handle a child now. I can guess what she needs and I am capable of being a responsible mother. Yet, here I am…
It’s hard to describe what I am feeling. I feel lonely, cut-off, worthless, ugly and unproductive. I feel like life has come to an impasse. As if the world is moving past me at breakneck speed and I am merely an observer on the sidewalk. There’s a vapid silence in my head. Nothing really interests me anymore. I look forward to nothing. I always feel this big burden on my weak shoulders – the weight of responsibility of this gorgeous, smiling, playful child that is easily the best thing to happen to me. But I just can’t seem to see it right now.
I have enough help with her. My husband is , in many ways, a better parent than me. In the last year, I have always had a nanny to help with the cleaning and entertaining. M herself is a low maintenance child. She doesn’t need much to smile and cries way lesser than other kids. She’s friendly, giggly and brimming with love. Yet, here I am..
I tell myself that its only a matter of coming to terms with the fact that life as I knew it, has changed. And even though this phase of life is different, it can be a great one. But even then I find myself craving for more. I want to step out the door without feeling the guilt of leaving her with her grandmother or nanny. I want to worry less. I want to be ‘no strings attached’ just for a few days more. I want to feel carefree.
But that’s not happening. My days are for her and so are my nights. My routine revolves around her needs and I can relax only as much she allows me to. I feel guilty for even feeling this way. I hate myself for it. Could I have asked for a more beautiful child? No. Yet here I am…
What most people don’t understand is the degree to which a mother’s life changes when a baby is born. Yes, its different for the whole family and everyone makes some changes. And the father’s perspective and routine changes too. But only intermittently. A mother’s change is constant.. and permanent. There’s no shrugging it. There’s no space for mistakes. Or laziness. After a point, even your own mother can’t help you.
I think what helps me the most when I feel like this is just someone listening (or reading) my rant. Just for those few minutes, I need to be irrational and act crazy and shake it all off. Just for a little while, I need to run till my legs feel like jelly. Just for that short time, I need to watch that F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode for the thousandth time and laugh. I need space to be me. I need to be loved just for me. Just for those few seconds, I need to feel that I can still fly..