That love and hate can co-exist in the same place seems such a strange thing. But truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction.
You would think that a couple of months would be enough for the body to recover from all the damage done during childbirth. But that’s the thing: Recovery requires rest. Loads and loads of rest, after the body has literally transformed into a live volcano. But, ironically, that is the one thing you never get. The entire cycle of feeding, burping, changing nappy repeated over and over and over again; waking, sleeping, waking , sleeping ten times a night, night after night after night, is not just too much for the body but also quite enough to numb the mind.
I have depleted my stores of energy. The mere act of bathing my baby and then taking a bath exhausts me so much I just can’t step out of the house for the rest of the day. This sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. (Right now, two years down the line, it seems unreal to me too.) But then delivering a baby is as unreal a process as can be…
Unreality, thy name is motherhood.
And then, of course, the added burden of being with a baby but without a husband. On hindsight, I think that was my prime burden, because it made a parody of my marriage. I’d like to believe that the joy of having children is to have a real, live proof of the love you share with your significant other. It’s because you married someone and wanted a family with them that you decided to have babies. Not that because you wanted to have babies and bring them up that you got married. What was I doing here with this baby anyway, when the very reason for his existence wasn’t here?
There’s that sinking feeling of being trapped—in a role you never fancied much anyway. Of feeling exactly like a bonded laborer who has no life of her own… doing nothing that I really want to, unable to go out and have a social life, unable to be with the man I love, unable to spare a moment for my own self.
The more I think about it, the more I blame the baby.
At the risk of disgusting all my readers, I do admit that there were nights when after hours and hours of unsuccessful attempts to soothe the baby or get him to sleep, I wanted to slap him hard—yes, the three month-old—and hit him bad for turning my life into a living hell.
I didn’t, of course. Of that I can assure you.
I knew he was innocent, but more than anything else I knew that I could never ever face God if I hurt a little baby for things he didn’t even know of, let alone be responsible for.
There are times when fear of God is good for the sanity.
And love of God for responsibility.
From the start, to this day, I do feel that my role as a mother is a duty given by God. A baby given to me is not ‘for me’, really. He’s just an individual born into this world to fulfill his own special destiny and purpose. I am just the channel. I am the person entrusted with the task of showing him how to reach that potential; showing him how to differentiate good from bad and right from wrong. I am the one who has to prepare him for his own journey. His journey isn’t mine. Nor is he mine to claim later.
Whatever I did –or do—for him, was not for him—it was a fulfillment of my task as set by God. I just have to do my bit, in good faith.
Faith is a wonderful anchor when you risk losing you.