From the moment it becomes obvious that you are pregnant, you get inducted into the sisterhood of moms. The whole experience of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood brings women together like nothing else. Suddenly, all other barriers like class, age and personality types seem to melt away making way for conversations with people who you would never have spoken to otherwise or who may have never spoken to you.
For example, there was my boss’s wife – who had never really been too friendly. But after I got pregnant with Ayaan, she was really nice to me when we went to their house for dinner and gave me quite a lot of good advice about enjoying myself while I could before the baby came and also shared her experience of labour.
My department head’s secretary was another case in point. To start with, she hardly knew me as she had just joined our department 3 months before I went on maternity leave. To add to that, secretaries don’t interact much with the managers outside of work in our company – we normally even sit at separate tables for lunch. But just towards the end of my third trimester, she really warmed up to me. She told me all about her experiences in having and raising her son and gave me tons of advice. And on my last day in office, she even presented me with a book on parenting that she felt had really helped and guided her.
One of my male colleagues has been a good friend of mine for almost 5 years now. And until recently, his wife was just his wife as far as I was concerned. But now that we both have become mothers, she is one of my close friends too. Nowadays, we meet and talk independent of him more often than not.
It’s almost as if there is some sort of invisible connection binding all of us. You smile at random strangers on the road, women whom you would have earlier looked through as if they were made of glass, just because they too are carrying or accompanying a child. In the park too, I strike up conversations with all sorts of women these days. This includes a wide variety of mothers. Some of them are as different from me as chalk is from cheese. I am a working mom but most of the other women I meet stay at home with their kids. I would classify myself as fairly affluent (double income and all that) but I sometimes end up exchanging notes with women who are quite different from me, both economically and socially speaking.
I wonder why this happens…
Actually, I have a hypothesis. I think it is because motherhood is a completely life-altering experience and one of the most intense ones that a woman can go through. And who can understand it better than someone who has been through it too. And that is what binds us all – rich and poor, snob and social climber, working and stay-at-home, Hindu and Muslim…