When Ayaan was born, I was completely unprepared for the way that a child comes and wraps his little self around your heart in a way that you couldn’t tear him out unless you tore out your very heart itself.
That being said, I don’t think I was a natural-born mother. I was pretty matter-of-fact through my first pregnancy – for me, the baby inside me existed at a conceptual level and I found it hard to relate to it as a real person – so I didn’t really talk to or read to Ayaan in utero and when a friend mine said of his unborn child that he already loved it more than anything or anyone else in the world, my response was ‘Really?!’
Even once Ayaan was born and placed into my arms as a squalling bundle, I wasn’t one of those instantaneous mothers – I felt no immediate bond, nor did I have any overwhelming emotional response (like bursting into tears, for example). I think my first response could best be summed up as ‘Hmmmm…’
Thankfully for Ayaan, biology took over and while I still wasn’t feeling the much talked about ‘mother-child bond’, a feeling of immense protectiveness kicked in. Here was a little human being who depended on me to nourish and soothe him and there was no question of letting him down. So for about three months, I was almost on auto-pilot – feeding, rocking, changing diapers – taking care of the little fella’s physical needs. And then one day about three months into the journey, the little fella in question looked into my eyes while I was feeding him and smiled and then Boom! And the rest, as they say, is history.
It took its while coming but after the initial phase, I’ve lived through motherhood pretty intensely. As far as I am concerned, the world pretty much revolves around Ayaan. And so the question begs to be asked. Will I be able to feel this way all over again and find as much love to give again or will my poor second child have to learn to be happy with leftovers?
I am cherishing and appreciating this pregnancy a lot more than the last one because I know this is my last opportunity to feel little feet kicking inside me, amongst other wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) pregnancy experiences. But like the last time, the baby itself continues to be a concept to me. The person who I can talk to and relate to is the darling four year old who lives in my real world. And so all my plans for the forthcoming months revolve around him rather than the new baby who will soon join us…
- By this time in my first pregnancy, the baby’s paraphernalia was being planned in full swing. Copious lists had been made, nappy material was bought and sent off to Jaipur to be stitched, the crib was decided on, clothes and other baby gear were bought and so on and so forth. This time I do have a lot of stuff left from Ayaan’s time (or so I keep telling myself but I am yet to take stock), but I haven’t gotten around to doing much else to prepare for the baby’s arrival. The preparations this time have been focussed in an altogether different direction – preparing Ayaan for the big change that is going to happen in his life. So we talk about the baby a lot. And focus on the many positives – like me being home all day for six months, like him getting to open all the presents the baby gets since the baby can’t open them itself, like how the baby will learn how to do everything from his big brother and other such myriad stuff.
- When I think of my time away at the hospital, the main concern is Ayaan. I don’t want him to feel abandoned or have his life thrown out of gear. So I have been discussing with my mother (who's going to be here for the first month) and Jai how it’s more important that someone is home with him at any given time than for me to have them attending to me for 24 hours. I also would like him to come by to the hospital atleast a couple of times to meet the baby before he/ she comes home.
- Coming home from the hospital is the other stress point. I don’t want him to feel ignored in the hustle bustle of settling in with the baby. I plan to take up the suggestion from a couple of friends to sweeten the deal with a smashing, new gift 'from the baby'. Not only will it make the moment a lot more positive, it will also keep him busy while we get settled in. Currently, we are deciding between a new bicycle (his current one is a pink-hued hand-me-down from a friend’s daughter that he is on the verge of growing out of), an elaborate set of cooking toys and a kiddy computer (his current one has gone kaput).
- I also want to make sure that I don’t deny him anything that he is used to getting from me. I want to be able to continue to do his morning school routine and hopefully the baby’s sleep-feed patterns will allow me to. And I want to spend a lot of time with him during the day so locking myself into a room for every one of the baby's feeds won’t be an option. So I am thinking of getting myself one of these nursing apron things so that I can feed the baby anywhere in the house.
- My biggest worry with going back to work this time has little to do with how the baby will cope. I saw that Ayaan coped really well, after a few days of separation anxiety. But the five year old boy who’s got used to Mama being around all day will feel the pinch a lot more. So I hope that my mother and mother-in-law will be able to spare at least a month each at that time to help him ease into my going back to work…
So as you can see, the baby itself doesn't feature high on my to-do lists and the worry about whether I will have the space and bandwidth to give the second one what s/he needs is a valid one. I know I’ll figure it out but it seems all fuzzy in my head right now – I guess some things just can’t be planned for.
I do have the assurance of several second-born kids and mothers of two that these second kids have their own ways of getting their due. This second baby in particular is already messing with me and making sure I take note of him/ her. On Tuesday, I went for an ultrasound and was told that the baby was in a transverse breach position and what’s more, the amniotic fluid index (AFI) was on the lower side, thus reducing the likelihood of the baby being able to turn. So a sleepless night was spent worrying about the implications of low AFI and shedding tears over the lost VBAC dream. And then on Wednesday, I met my gynaecologist and less than 36 hours after the sonography, the baby had moved into a head down position! Sheesh! This one is already one step ahead of me. At this rate, I don’t think s/he will let me give him/ her a raw deal, no matter what my plans!
(The doctor also said that the AFI was adequate and not anything to worry about. Needless to say, I am not feeling very charitable towards the ultrasound technician)