Chapter 12: Love v/s Care


His first pic

His first pic

All through my pregnancy, my mother –as well as many well-meaning relatives—had been counting on the fact that “as soon as the baby is born, you’ll forget all the pain and it’ll be like being in heaven.” Then there was the movie ‘Waitres’,, where the exact same thing happens: baby is born, mother holds her…and the world suddenly becomes different…

I am too exhausted with the effort of giving birth. I can hardly hold up my hand when Sonia tries to congratulate me. And then, this tiny little creature is brought before me, wrapped in a cloth whose colour is blurred in my memory. This, now, is the moment when the world is supposed to change, and pain ceases to exist.

I look at him.

Nothing.

I feel nothing. No urge to take him in my arms. No desire to hold. I hold up a weak, shaky hand and touch his cheek lightly… more for the benefit of everyone else in the room, perhaps, than from any deep motherly feeling.

I watch his face. He’s fair-skinned. Very fair. But… but… he’s nothing like the baby I imagined….

I have to say this with a lot of shame, but here’s the truth: to every mother, her baby is the most beautiful in the world. However, I look at my baby and think: Lord, he’s not good looking at all.

I’ve always known in the back of my mind that care does not equal love. People prove their love by telling you how much they care about your well-being. Yes, you cannot love without care. But you can care without love. Care, my dears, is different from love.

Having a baby filled me with a deep, overwhelming sense of responsibility. I was immediately attuned to every little need of his, I was greatly aware of every little duty I had towards him—I was the one who was going to protect, to nurture and to cherish him.

During those 9 months of carrying him in my belly I followed doctors instructions to the last detail—I did nothing that would ever, ever harm this little one, even if it meant having to give up some of the things I really liked. During the pregnancy workshops that I attended, I had firmly resolved to exclusively breastfeed my baby for the first six months (and I did). I fought with my own mother over what was best for the little one.

But this I can say through personal experience: care does not necessarily mean love.

Love is when you think of that person and it makes you smile. Love is when you see their face and your heart leaps. Love is when you swear not to talk to them again and you never keep that oath. These are all necessary, obligatory conditions for love. Yes, you care about them and their needs. But most importantly, when you look at them you can feel that there’s love.

So here’s the most horrible confession of my life: when my baby was born, I was filled with concern. I was filled with care. I was filled with protectiveness. But love……………………………….?

That came later.

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11 thoughts on “Chapter 12: Love v/s Care

  1. I am amazed that you actually put this in writing. Some days when I feel so blatantly blunt, the only person I admit it to is myself. Reluctantly. I care too much about everyone else. Haha.

    I know exactly what you mean. Care might or might not equal love. I am not a mother but those emotions can be mirrored in any kind of a relationship. I am so glad that you are so truthful. It makes life easier for women who feel/felt/will feel this way. They wouldn’t want to put a gun to their head knowing they have camaraderie.

    I think my mom felt shocked too. She had to suddenly give up fashion for comfort and her heels for chappals and clip her nails and hide her make up because she was suddenly responsible for another human being, in all entirety.

    Write more often. I stalk your blog like a hawk on a dead body. Or a fly on kaju katli. Sounds positive. 😀

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    • Apurva I cannot tell you how happy it makes me feel when you come out and say that you feel the same. Obviously, it’s so reassuring to know that you’re not alone. yes, its tough to be saying all this. But when I started this blog I’d promised myself that I wont deck it up to appear like a saint or a martyr. I take responsibility for whatever I am. I can understand perfectly what your mom would have gone through. It reminded me of how I put away my favorite butterfly shaped ring so that the edges wont hurt my baby. We do all this and more, but there are times when it gets too much for us. And that’s ok. Because mothers are human. The whole point of this blog is that mothers are not saints. Society has put too much of a pressure on us that we fear to speak out.
      Thanks a lot for reading and commenting. It gives me a huuuge morale boost! 🙂

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  2. love this post….i think kahin na kahin har koi aisa sochta hoga…n may b after some time u turned to other feeling….which is love….

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    • Love is always there Anchu. When the baby moves in your womb, when you hear its heart beating inside you, love is there. Just that it’s not all so blissful that you forget your pain and everything else as people always keep saying. Maybe some women do forget their pain. I didn’t. Motherhood is a beautiful experience. But I don’t think it’s just the best and most important thing in my life. That’s all.

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  3. I appreciate your honesty on this post. Just like in any relationship, love is developed. One can never time it or expect it to occur immediately. It just happens in its own time. Your baby boy is so handsome!!

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