( NOTE — from the archives, written in 2020, publishing now)
Yesterday in a mall’s play area where my five year old was enjoying rides with her father, I was baby sitting my toddler. A lady walked up to me and said, “Ma’am your baby is crying”, and gave me a surprised look as I, unperturbed of her comment, continued sitting next to my toddler’s pram. ‘What a bad mother? Neither attending to her crying baby, nor going to wave at her daughter on the ride.’ I am sure she missed my moist eyes. Unfortunately, this is how most of us are, so quick at judging others.
Some of you must have been able to relate to my overwhelming motherhood experience, while others, specially who know me might still be thinking — ‘How lucky this lady is to have two beautiful kids and a good husband who is also an excellent father to her kids. Then what is the crying about?’
Yes, one feels complete when they have healthy kids, caring husband, beautiful home and people to help out with house chores. But why this ‘perfect picture’ somewhere feels so imperfect and you gradually start moving towards the pitfall of depression? Majority women often get into postnatal depression, but avoid talking about it as the people around are judgemental, more than understanding.
A good mother has to be selfless, is what society burdens her with. Hence the problem comes — by sacrificing her desires. Doesn’t it get frustrating at times to be existing just to be there for others? As a woman — house, family, relationships might just be the basic needs, while as an individual, she has other dreams too, the urge to pursue her talents and interests. She might have a fire that ignites within her to maintain her individuality, to taste success. Some creative fanatics might want to run away from their mundane life and its hustle bustle to a quiet unknown land where they can hear their heart beat and creativity flow. But such are termed as ‘selfish women’ by judgemental ones among us.
We need to take away her burden and let her live her life. Only a happy woman can be a good mother. We need to understand that each one has different priorities in life, for some it might be kids and family, for others career and success. And they are all right in their own way. We need to be in their shoes to understand them completely, which is impossible. All that we can do is to be with them, offer any help to them, reassure them time and again that the decisions they make are correct, while they figure out their changing lives by themselves fixing the jigsaw puzzle.