My dear little girl,
I fell in love with you the moment I saw you. Your father, well, he thinks the sun rises when you open your eyes, and the best music in the world is your laughter.
As parents, we have many hopes, dreams and wishes for you. And we also have our secret fears, that we hope never come true.
Your world today is filled with people who care for you, take pride in your tiny victories, and want you to be the best ‘you’. But what if you choose someone who breaks your heart and makes you cry? No, I don’t mean a brute who may lay a hand on you, for that will be the last thing he ever does. (we intend to teach you to ‘don’t start a fight, but finish it’). My worry is about the boy who will not “let you” meet your friends, or get that degree abroad. The man who thinks he should handle your money, or worse, that you don’t need to earn any. The spouse who asks you to “adjust or get out” when his mom throws ugly tantrums. The partner who demands all your passwords to “prove” you’re worthy of his trust.
I worry, child, that you may unwittingly let an abusive monster into your heart. If, God forbid, that happens to you, remember this, dear. You are kind, courageous and smart. You deserve a relationship of love and support, where you both will grow into better people. You are worthy of a rock solid friendship with someone who will cheer at your successes, kiss away your pain and encourage you to try again tomorrow.
Anything less than this, and you get out. You get out with your head held high and a smile on your face. We got your back, kannamma.
- I wrote this post as part of the Blogathon series #ALettertoHer by Women’s Web to create awareness about domestic violence.
- I would like to read Meena Kandasamy’s new book, When I Hit You, to see if she has brought in a fresh perspective on the subject of domestic abuse, especially in a society where the primary tool to deal with this is adjustment, and silence.
As you might know, the stork visited me and Junior had popped out by the end of 2015. So 2016 was a year of learning and laughter, trials and triumphs, growth and goof-ups, you get the picture..
Here’s what I discovered on my journey of motherhood so far
- Everyone is winging it. Parenting is like MBA exams – there are no wrong answers, you know some concepts, you learn others and ignore the rest
- We like babies not because they’re cute and such, but because they bring us back to our childhood
- It takes a lot of effort to not inflict stories of your baby’s cuteness/antics/habits/poop routine on people around you. Resist the urge. Do not show them pics unless they ask for. Hell, don’t even share their name if not asked
- Speaking of, here are 2 ways to deal with unsolicited suggestions on naming your spawn. a) Say “we’ll take this under advisement”, or “hmm, that’s interesting” b) Say you’ve decided the name –Princess Consuela Banana Hammock or Crapbag
- No one will care years from now how you delivered your child – just STFU and take the damn epidural/ C-section/ whatever is medically the best option for both of you
- Breast-feeding is like a serious workout routine – you need stamina, commitment, will-power and supporters. P.S. It also burns calories like mad
- Your body – it is awesome. Media will bombard you with images of the yummy mummy, friends and family might nudge you to take up weight loss regimes, but know this – you took a tiny cell in your body and created a whole new person out of it. And right now, the only thing you need to do is be wholesome, happy and healthy.
- Post natal blues – it is real. Depression/anxiety/mood swings/whatever, no need to deal with it alone. Talking to supportive people helps and time heals
- Glowing blissful moms shown in baby stuff ads:: Men in Axe commercials getting all the action – marketing fuelled hyperbole to make money
- You learn to make up silly games, funny noises and nonsense stories – seriously, my crow, sheep and parrot impressions are spot on. Stupid annoying songs will start to grow on you because she dances to them
- You should not listen to elders
- You need to consult with elders from time to time
- The sight of a man holding his tiny new-born and gazing at her will render you a puddle of mush
- Parenting is a team sport. An example: Try giving medicine to a kicking and screaming baby
- A baby can be used as the perfect excuse to get out of irksome tasks – you don’t believe it? Ask N who encourages me to have fun shopping on my own, while he takes care of baby ( aka playing catch-me-if-you-can, inventing new ways to make her giggle and lounging in tatty comfortable clothes)
- The performance pressure starts way early – What was the baby’s birth weight? When did she roll over? Does she stand up yet? How many words does she say? Can we enrol her in IIT coaching? If you don’t watch it, you’ll end up stuffing your child full of pani puris, shaving her head and pushing her into a mud pit to win the Commonwealth Games