Womanhood and motherhood have been considered synonymous since times immemorial but what is a standard societal norm should not be always correct, right! Many women these days are not embracing motherhood so does that make them any less of a woman? No, not at all! Challenging stereotypes and evolving through continuous change, is what makes humankind progressive. The only thing that is constant in life is change so why not so for women?
I am a mother to a teen and believe me when I say, I do not mind it at all if my offspring tells me that she/he does not want to procreate. It is of course an individual choice but since I have chosen motherhood for myself, I thought I am competent enough to share some of my learning from this experience! So here it goes:
1. There Is No Right Or Wrong Age For Becoming A Mother
You can choose to be a mother early on in life or wait till you have achieved what you want in your professional life. The thing about the biological clock ticking should not get to you as there are several ways to become a mother at whatever age one wants, and I do not need to enlist them here.
2. Every Woman Has A Different Post-Partum Experience
One cannot generalize a woman’s post-partum experience. It is different for each woman and honestly, I actually cannot pinpoint whether I experienced anything during my time. For some it is an extremely tough time, and they battle various physical and mental issues (albeit temporarily), for others, it is not that difficult.
3. No Two Infants Will Have The Same Sleeping Pattern
It is futile to compare and crib about the sleeping pattern of one’s baby with another’s. No two children sleep the same way. Forget about comparing with your friend, even two babies delivered from the same womb can have majorly different sleeping patterns! While one might be an absolutely calm sleeper, the other one might be wailing most of the time and be ever reluctant to sleep. One just needs to adjust around the baby as apart from some home remedies, there is not much that you can do. By the time the babies turns 2, they seem to develop a better sleep pattern and once the child starts schooling then everything seems to fall in place.
4. Interaction Can Do Wonders
If you start talking to your child from the very beginning like a grown up, chances are that your child will start speaking clearly at an early age. Some indulgent parents try to do the ‘baby talk’ with the baby who does not yet know how to speak. In doing so, they unconsciously teach the baby the wrong way to speak. Talk to your baby as much as you can and ensure not to make it sound like baby talk. In fact, one can start talking to an unborn child while the baby is still inside the womb!
5. Make Yourself Emotionally Available
While the child is growing up, she/he faces a lot many challenges. Some might be insignificant in the eyes of an adult, but they have a deep meaning for that child. Try not to be dismissive, instead, try making yourself emotionally available for your child. Sometime, a seemingly minuscule issue can be humungous if not attended to at the right time.
6. Love Your Child But Do Not Spoil
All parents love their children and want to give their children the best of everything but in doing so, one needs to remember that there is a line between loving the child and spoiling the child. The tantrum and misdemeanor that seems adorable in a child will seem extremely inappropriate in an adult. Nobody wants a reckless brat as an adult! Do not laugh off your child’s misbehavior. Be gentle yet firm!
7. Let Your Child Make His Subject Stream Selection
A difficulty which most parents face during teenage, is deciding what to select for the child. In my opinion, one must present the child with options, backing then with facts and then let the child make her/his own decision. Of course, one can argue that the child is naïve and cannot understand what is good or bad, but I feel, imposing a subject stream is a far worse decision than letting the child choose and err. After all we all have learnt by making mistakes but those that involve others making a decision for us, always leave us resentful!
8. Inculcate A Strong Value System
This one is the most important for me. I feel that every other thing in life can be taken care of, but character once molded is difficult to change. It is therefore imperative that we inculcate a strong value system in our children which involves the basic tenets of life – empathy, love, sincerity, generosity, and gratitude to name a few. A child might not be an ace student at academics but will always be successful if he has his basics right.
9. Do Not Impose Your Future On To The Child
You brought this child into the world not because the child wanted to come but because you wanted to have a baby, so stop treating the child as an insurance for your old age. The child has her/his own life and you will always be a part of her/his life but do not bind the child to yourself and suffocate the child with dreams and aspirations of your future. Plan your retirement yourself and do not take it for granted that your child will look after you and your needs. Be an asset to your child and never a liability, unless of course forced by some unforeseen circumstances.
10. Never Be A Reluctant Mother
Finally, the most important thing for the last. Never ever, and I reiterate, never ever, become a reluctant mother. Embrace motherhood only when and if you are prepared for it. Do not succumb to familial and societal pressures and go for motherhood. This is a life changing decision and should not be taken under duress. A happy mother will bring up a happy child, but a reluctant mother will bring up a highly insecure and irritable child.
Choose and do what you want in life. If you want to have children at an early age, go ahead. If you want children at a later age, go ahead. If you want to adopt, go ahead. If you do not wish to have children at all, go ahead. Do not let anyone or anything get to your head. Your life is yours. You are a fulfilled woman nonetheless and nobody can take away that feeling from you. Stick to your guns and enjoy this blissful journey of life!
Writer- Dr. Shivangi Dikshit
(Mother to an almost adult, married to a man from the high seas, hailing from the hills, a teacher by profession and a foodie traveller by passion. The author believes in the philosophy that nothing is as constant as change, so live every single moment to the T!)