Do me a favour – Part 2

So, I finally got help. After months of deliberation, I met a counselor to discuss my issues. What issues? For months now, I have been having mood swings and tides of low moods that have been causing a great deal of distress. If you have been following me on IG, you would see me talking about it.

Well, who discusses such things? I mean it’s natural to have a child and find it difficult to cope, but who goes to meet a doctor about that? Don’t say ‘no one’, because sometime help helps. After a good three hours of talking and sobbing *drama queen much?* I ended up feeling much lighter and happier.

Firstly and thankfully, I do not fall under the category of depression. What I did suffer from was anxiety. Now, if you know me (in person or online) you will think that I am a HIGHLY confident individual who’s just managing everything like a piece of cake. That might be true to some level, but I have been battling a lot of low self-esteem issues of late.

You see, what happens to women when they become mothers is that their world radically tilts and shifts. You could have a battalion of family and staff support but still feel like shit. Birthing a child and providing for it can be a huge challenge. This change also makes women vulnerable. Women who are new mothers (first, second or third time moms count too) can be very sensitive and touchy. They could be feeling cornered for no reason, but it isn’t their fault. Babies don’t come with an instruction manual. It is hard to figure them out initially. Why are they crying? Why do they need the boob so often? When will I sleep? and so on. The questions are endless and the answers aren’t readily available. A lot of trial, error and tears give you the answer. By then, you are exhausted; sleep deprived and sanity deprived. At such a juncture, the last thing you want to hear is some grading you as a parent. ‘You could do better’ is like a poison dipped knife slowly being thrust into your sides. AGH!

That’s exactly and almost what someone who barely knew me told me. Let alone one, I was balancing two kids when someone sweetly stepped into my life for a whole of ten minutes to tell me that I should be putting more effort into loving my children *MAJOR EYE ROLL* . Well, major eye roll now, but back then it hurt, stung and killed any iota of self-confidence that I had. Was I being silly? No! But here’s my take away from all of this.

A mother, new or otherwise, is working overtime. Whether she’s a homemaker or a working mom, she is putting 100% in order to keep everyone happy and the house functional. What she needs the most is acknowledgment of what she is doing and appreciation of that. Remember, it’s not a sacrifice that she’s making but it’s her choice. But going through with this choice is hard without appreciation. If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all. We hardly know the life of that mum behind the scene. We only calculate her ‘motherhood’ score based on the two coffee dates and twenty Instagram posts that she puts up. That’s bloody unfair.

That’s all I ask. Say a good word or say none at all. With that, hundreds of mothers out there will walk with an additional spring in their step and their head held high (no matter how sleep deprived they are). Is that doable?

 

Monster in my head

The monsters in my head whisper all night long. ‘Toss her away… Run away. Don’t come back. Cut yourself up’ they keep whispering in my ears. I sing out aloud but their voice even fills the tunes of my favorite songs.

Leaving my baby in her crib, I run into the bathroom, throw myself into the toilet, trying to empty the uninvited guests with the bile like vomit.

‘ A break will do you good’ said my reflection in the mirror, looking at the spit stained woman staring at her weakly.

‘Yes, I need a break’ I tell myself. Wiping away my tears and the sweat, I walk out of the bathroom with a determination. Dialing that number on my phone I say ‘ma.. I need help’.

Postpartum depression is an ugly monster, isolating you from asking help. Reach out, take that break and talk to someone.anyone. don’t let the monster win.

I am writing as a part of the Write Tribe Problogger’s challenge. #WriteBravely #WriteTribeChallenge

What does pregnancy teach you? 😉

It brings me immense pleasure to share that I, along with 23 other bloggers are celebrating #9daysofwomanhood throughout Navratri. I thank Sanjivini for introducing me. I loved her blog on the prompt for today. You can read it here.

 

Pregnancy, a nine letter word that can bring about extremes of emotions in people!

My own pregnancies have been pretty non-adventurous, but definitely have taught me a lesson or two in parenting!

From an exasperated ‘when will you both plan for a child?’ to a shocked ‘why a second child so soon?’, the society has shown me that bearing and birthing a child should be the sole decision of the wife and the husband. No one else, except maybe your gynaec, should have an opinion in it.

We had been married for four years, when we decided to have a child. We had skirted the ‘good news’ for a good part of the four years, but the tension that can mount on a couple thanks to the pressure is inexplicable unless experienced! My husband and I even have a spot in Chennai where I blew my top (sitting inside our car) thanks to the whole baby deal!

When our second baby happened, we were in a completely different city, with a toddler in tow. The whole pregnancy was on us. Up till my 8th month, it was just me, husband and the toddler. My second child’s birth was as fast as watching a Karan Johar movie and both these deliveries have taught me a lot. So, instead of boring you with my epidural laced birth saga, check out what I have to say about ‘pregnancy’:

  • It is one way road. No looking back!
  • Pregnancies are easier than raising babies
  • You are the mom, husband is the dad. Remember to involve your partner equally. It’s his baby too!
  • If you treat your very pregnant self as ‘normal’, then you can lead a very healthy pregnancy and be VERY confident of your birthing option/choices/decisions
  • Please avoid the trap of being pampered. Many girls I know didn’t lift a spoon during their entire pregnancy thanks to their families. Family waiting on them translated to a non-active pregnancy. This leads to unnecessary complications.
  • Read up a LOT! I stuck to the one basic book and it definitely helped my husband and me in understanding what to expect.
  • DIY! Do everything yourself – right from deciding the clothes, langots, soaps, diaper bags. It brings in a lot of happy hormones and gets your SUPER involved.
  • Invest in the baby – Ha ha! Not money, but make something for the baby. I started knitting for Lishaan and Crocheting for Isha. I made tiny hats and socks that never fit beyond week 2 but it gave me a huge sense of warmth in knowing that I MADE something for the baby.
  • Do whatever it is that you usually did (within limits). Shop, watch movies, and go on holidays, whatever it is that keeps you moving, just do it.
  • Pregnancy isn’t an ailment; it is a process that brings about change. So, accept and experience it happily😊

Lastly, your pregnancy is your own. Enjoy it, remember it and be thankful for the safety cushions around you.

Do you have pointers that your pregnancy taught you as well? Drop a comment and share it with us all! 💖

**** I would take the opportunity to introduce Dilpreet Kaur Dua who blogs at www.bhangrababies.com You can check out her blog to read her thoughts on this as well! 💖 ****

Do me a favor!

My husband usually doesn’t appreciate certain topics that I touch upon in my posts. He says ‘people might think you are weak’ or ‘they might think you are complaining about them’. But there are some things that I would like to share and talk about and no, it’s not a complaint. Actually, THIS is a humble request to the society at large.

By now, we all know (whether or not we are parents) that becoming a mother is probably easier than BEING a mother. A lot of effort goes into raising a child; maybe not so much in creating one inside. That’s just me!

This time last year, I was at a surprisingly high social presence rate. People (I am not exaggerating) used to gape as to how I managed to move my 8 month pregnant belly and 22 month old toddler from corner to corner of the city, being a social butterfly (social enthu-cutlet, more so). I was actually out and celebrating Diwali 10 days before my delivery. Yes, my folks were shocked and no, I had no issues whatsoever. Once my baby girl came into the world, things changed upside down. If you know me (from my posts and rants), you will know that it’s a nuclear set up in our home and I manage just about everything except sweeping, mopping and washing utensils. So, for me another baby in the mix was a lot of work. When it came to being my social self, that part of life took a back seat. I would say I sent it to the boot.

Nod your head if you agree that dating, marriage and children have changed the width and type of your social circle greatly. I have THREE friends who have put up with my nonsense and loved me through my pregnancy and both kids. They didn’t have babies at that time, but they never said no to me. Post children, I forged different kinds of friendships – virtual ones. Maybe it is the fact that, like me hundreds of mothers find ‘ME’ time in between feeds and at weird hours of the night that brought us together. Props to Facebook, importantly. So, there I was happily forming a safety net online while in real life, I REALLY didn’t have the stamina to get ready and step out.

Seriously, dragging two kids and myself out of the house (looking presentable and not pooped) was an exhausting deal. I decided that I preferred the company of my TV, couch and crochet to that of the outside world, because I just couldn’t head out without wanting to throw myself in front of that Ola cab. It was too much of a task. But I did try! Why I gave up was because it didn’t seem worth it to have two fussy kids in each arm and a puffing-panting me at the end of it all.

You see, the biggest issue that haunts mothers (new and old) is anxiety and depression. Even without being a parent, if you feel neglected for some reason, you tend to put yourself into a lot of stress by over thinking. Especially with new mothers, it takes a LOT of push to keep them positive and going. Believe me, looking at spit-up stained t-shirts and bird’s nest hair every day in the mirror can seriously affect your head.  What kept me floating through my anxiety attacks and phases of depression is what I call the ‘sisterhood of motherhood’. Nope, it’s not a cult or something but these are the few people who were and are available for me to fall back on. These are the people who have always pinged, called, dropped even and even called my husband to check on my wellbeing. So what if I wore the same pants three days in a row? So what if the house looked like a mini hurricane had just worked its way through? So what if the children were BAWLING all day? They didn’t leave me alone. They pulled me through most of the difficult times in the past year and they are the reason I am writing this.

Kindly do me a favor and read through below.

If you know a woman who has birthed a child, for the first time or the millionth (not possible, unless she is Kunti), please do this:

  1. Check on her. Even if you are sitting in a cinema, just ping her and say ‘hey! I am at this movie that’s totally crappy. I wish you had been here, we would have laughed our derrieres through this!’. She can’t make it for the movie, but she just wants to know that she isn’t forgotten.
  2. Offer to help. Even if she’s as ridiculous as me to be sinking up till the neck but still refuse help. Offer nevertheless.
  3. Visit her once a while. Yeah, most times will be nap times or boob-times, but you will know that she feels great after a visit. Perked up, actually.
  4. Involve her. Even if she isn’t coming tequila downing on Saturday night with you, she’d like to know. Hey, everyone likes to feel a bit important.
  5. Be grateful for the times she’s helped you and been by your side. Don’t let her down when she needs you. Friends happen once and remain through ebbs & flows of time. They aren’t momentary. If they are, then they are just acquaintances.

Really, this is more than just about me. This is about not letting a mom who is already exhausted, feel further like crap. She would be better off without wondering why there were plans being made without her or why none of the friends from before (not you, my 4th standard ‘bench buddy’. I still hate you :P) have checked on her. Every woman deserves better and the least you can do, is send in some good vibes, right?

Of course, the good vibes do mean that she will be super teary-eyed when you give her a hug and might bake breads and cakes at midnight just to show you how much it means to her. But if you don’t do it now, you will never be able to do it again. Not to her, at least.

Do it for your sisterhood of motherhood. Stick around, don’t let go.

~ The Lazy Parent

Are you happy?

My husband gently asks me ‘are you happy?’ when we are at my in-laws’. I know that it is his most subtle way of checking if there is a bomb waiting to explode a.k.a. wife ready to turn Chandramukhi. It is such a strange question, this ‘are you happy?’

 

Happiness to my husband would be bagging that deal with the super fussy client; to my mother, it would be slightly better vision and money for her medication; to my son it would be limitless supply to biscuits without Amma staring at him; to Isha, it must be unending access to the boob. But to me, the real definition of happiness right now, as  of the 7th of September 2017, would be sitting in a plush soft white bed of a hotel, with food on one side (brownies would be good), Grey’s Anatomy marathon on the TV, chilled beer on the other side and a spa appointment shortly. ALL of this without children, husband, suitcase, diaper bags or laptops. Happiness is a very subjective term and trying to be ‘completely happy’ will only result in prolonged search for it and thereby, frustration.

 

For years now, I have had an ideal image of happiness in my head. This this and this would make me happy, I would think to myself, sipping filter coffee. But now, even an hour without interruption, pooping without someone (3 feet tall) banging on the door or sleeping without having to look like a tossed noodle is good by me.

 

So, am I saying it is impossible to be happy to the greatest extent? No. I am saying amp the happiness quotient slowly. If I looked back at myself in 2007 and compared that version of me to the one currently, I definitely am in a much happier place. Note: happier, not happiest. I think the –est version would not be possible as a one stop destination. It’s not like saying I will run a 5km marathon and be done. Then, your head (the in house devil’s advocate) will ask ‘5 done, why not the 10?’ and so you will keep going from point to point, trying to finally finish the ‘connect the dots to attain happiness’ game. Thing is, the dots don’t end and neither do they lead to a complete picture. Happiness is a journey and you better be prepared. How?

 

  1. Set expectations for yourself only. No point expecting your MIL to send you a friendship day card or your dog to toilet train overnight.
  2. Weigh your situation. You want to lose weight by walking, but who will take care of the kids while you go cross country walking? Plan for the doable instead. Wake up an hour or so earlier and do suryanamaskars in your living room. Same effort, different method.
  3. Treat yourself occasionally. Buy yourself a bag, a new shade of lipstick, go out for a massage or just load an extra scoop of ice cream in your bowl as you binge watch some series. (yes, a lot of my life revolves around food :P)
  4. Keep a backup plan. If something does not make you happy, but has to be done nevertheless what can you do to minimize the teeth grinding frustration? I negotiate something out of such situations. I do A if you can let me do B or if XYZ isn’t asked of me.
  5. Remember that happiness is relative. Unlike when you were a chain-smoking rebellious teenager who didn’t have to care about the next person reacting to your showdown, the married version of you is invisibly attached to other human beings, no matter how annoying they are. So, if throwing a tantrum makes you feel better, it might make your husband feel uncomfortable and thereby give you a prolonged evening with a sullen faced man-baby. Not worth it.
  6. Remind people of what makes you unhappy. If possible, avoid such situations totally. I have mastered the art of widening my eyes so much, that suddenly they look like dartboards. I don’t like, I don’t do. Simple.
  7. Konmari the shit out of unhappy stuff in your life. Spark fire if you have to, but get out of that Facebook group, WhatsApp club and email subscription if it as much as makes you twitch with uneasiness. Not needed. EVER!
  8. Keep sugary treats accessible. I become a monster if there isn’t something sweet to pop into my mouth accessible. Which is probably why I am grumpy at my in-laws’ (lolz) but these sugary pieces of guilt calm you down instantly and then you can just think better.
  9. Find a hobby that does not need 100% attention. Find something that doesn’t need 100% attention but works well to cheer up your spirit. Cooking and books do that to me. Crochet comes after.
  10. Taking lines from the Def Leppard number – walk away if you want to. Its okay if you need to. Happiness lies in not exposing yourself to something you think causes unhappy feelings. I don’t read the news these days. Reading news makes me unhappy. Likewise, I don’t talk to some people these days. You get the gist! 😉

 

Happiness is very subjective and each one of us finds happiness in small things. I am not going Zen on you saying ‘look at the butterfly and its wings. Ah! Happiness’ I am saying set realistic expectations and also please don’t expect others to make you happy. Unless you are paying them 😉

 

So, how do you keep your momtastic life happy? I would really like to know!

~ The Lazy Parent