Today’s edition of suffocating, gasping for air, feeling short of breath and an abundance of doom comes not in the form of my little one but in the form of my life in general. It comes in the form of the 15 extra KGs I’m still struggling with. It comes in the form of my husband I’m too tired to bother hating. It comes in the form of my husband who can’t do anything right. It comes in the form of the husband I want to strangle because he is too self centered to see what I’m going through. It comes in the form of the marriage I was once too scared to bruise and am now willing to shatter. It comes in the form of the thoughts I just can’t out into words. The life that’s so hard to live, if it wasn’t worth this beautiful face looking back at me. It comes in the form of having nothing – absolutely nothing – to look forward to except my son. It comes in the realisation that my husband and I haven’t even touched the scale for almost a year – and we couldn’t care less.
It comes in the form of me hating you and being okay with it. It comes in the form of 1000 more thoughts, echoing the sentiments of the 10 thoughts I’ve listed out.
Although I will document my delivery story (I need to remember how bad it was so I never stop patting myself on the back for it!), I must recap the last 10 days first.
So on Feb 16th, 2018, Wasaam Kayani entered this world. In these last 10 days, I’ve learnt the following things:
- The Mama Mafia is strong. A lot of people congratulated me by saying “Welcome to The Club” and I’d roll my eyes thinking what club, God, but no it turns out there is a club and there are very clear divisions among the club, varying from issue to issue. Everyone is incredibly passionate about their stance and they’re convinced doing it any other way will be a decision you’ll come to regret. Examples of issues I’ve thusfar encountered include:
- The Breast is Best vs Fed is Best debate (elaborated in point 2)
- The Can-You-Spoil-A-Child-By-Cuddling-Him-Too-Much debate
- The They’re-only-young-once-let-them-comfortfeed/cosleep/etc debate
- Breast is Best is a huge load of baloney. Breast is best for baby, yes, but is it best for the mama? The answer to that is a maybe, depending on which angle you’re considering it from. I couldn’t breastfeed initially. I had a really bad latch and I got bad blisters, resulting in a LOT of pain. I was angry at the baby, frustrated with his crying and basically having him feel the same way due to hunger. I started expressing the next day and honestly, I loved it. I supplemented with formula, but my husband could feed the baby, my mom could, I could get a break etc. Soon everyone started scaring me – your supply will diminish, you’ll give up on the expressing, it isn’t practical. I tried nursing once the blisters had healed, and yes it was less painful, but it took so long and I felt like I was just sitting alone in my room for hours trying to feed a hungry baby that could just not be satiated. Worse, I took away the bonding experience that my husband and baby would share every night. So here are the benefits of non-breast:
- Others can bond with your baby
- Feeding is quicker
- You can be away from your baby if you need to be
- You know how much your baby is drinking
- You can feed in public if breast-feeding is something you’re not comfortable with.
Whether this will diminish my supply or not remains to be seen, but for now, I’m a-OK with this arrangement. And you know what, I’ll just say it: I don’t CARE if my baby decides he’s a formula baby in eight weeks!!
- The baby is very cute but I still don’t feel like he’s my son and I’m his/anyone’s mama.
Well, to further the last post, I’m now 38 weeks pregnant. I had a very difficult first 5 months, things cooled down for months 6,7,8 and now month 9 is really hard again. Initially it was feeling sick (and it was really bad – I don’t.. ever want to remember it again, otherwise I doubt I’ll get pregnant a second time) and now it’s more the size of me. I was hoping to have this baby by now, since I’d always thought babies come early rather than later but turns out that’s the exact opposite of how it actually happens.
ANYWAY am I ready for this baby? No I’m not. I oscillate between.. curiosity and impatience to see him vs man what was I thinking. I know my life is going to change, and I also know this was the only next step for me, so there really wasn’t a ‘choice’ to make as such. Or rather I should say, I don’t know if I’d have chosen anything differently if I could go back in time but.. let’s just say I’m not 100% sold yet.
Here’s a naive and uninformed list of what I hope to never become once I’m a mom:
- I don’t want to think my child is the cutest child in the world, at least not out loud. Everyone thinks their kid is cute, let’s just try to remember that and stay objective.
- I won’t OD my social media accounts on pictures/videos/quotes from my baby.
- I won’t take more ownership of this child than his father
- I won’t let the child be dirty or watch videos out LOUD.
- I’ll keep the child disciplined.
It’s taken me a week to say those words out loud. I found out as early as I possibly could – my body works like clockwork. And as much as I was hoping it was being unpredictable, it wasn’t. I was pregnant, and a part of me knew that before I found out. I was pregnant and I had just signed on for the job I had waited my whole life for. I was pregnant 3 months before I needed to be to qualify for paid Maternity Leave. I was pregnant and I wasn’t ready. I am pregnant and I’m not ready.
I’m not ready to lose my body and my (two and a half year long) honeymoon. I’m not ready to stop being who I was and be defined by my family and my condition. Most of all, I’m not ready to let go of my career. I’m not ready to walk into my 1st day of work 4 months pregnant. I don’t want to be 6 months pregnant when I’m going for my training in Madrid. I didn’t expect to be pregnant, and I don’t know how to balance it all.
I’m also not ready – and don’t think I’ll try to be ready – to consider this the best thing to have ever happened to me. I’m glad I’m pregnant (whether at the right time or not) and it was definitely on the cards for me. But not because I expected a baby to complete my family or complete who I was. Not because I felt there was something missing in my life. Not even because I wanted a baby at all. No, I wanted to have a baby because it was part of my responsibility as an adult. I know a lot of people will counter that saying adults are NOT required to have babies, but for the world I live in, the life I lead, the people that love me, I did feel it was required and it was on the cards for me. Yes, I’ll enjoy it, I’ll be a good mother, I will put my babies first(ish), but I refuse to have it be the most important thing in my life, and I refuse to act as if it’s the best thing to have happened to me.
My job was better news for me this month than finding out I’m pregnant. My baby is a challenge that will make my career harder, not vice versa. I am more excited for my job than this baby. This does NOT mean I’m not excited for the baby, I am. I just reject the idea of acting like it’s 100% all about the baby otherwise you’re somehow not excited enough or not a good ‘mother’.
I’m a person before I’m anything else, and we’re all allowed to prioritise things the way we want. For me, it is most important that I be with my husband, happily married and together. It is important for me to have a fulfilling career. And it is then important (right now) for me to have a baby – in that order.
So… I’m happy (and shocked) I’m having a baby but I’m even happier (and more surprised) that I somehow managed to get a job!
Ramadan you strange and beautiful, at times cruel, at times merciful thing.
When I was younger and Ramadan was somewhat easier (primarily because the rozas were shorter and I was in Pakistan), I used to love the two parts iftaar divided the day into one. Pre-iftari was a state of zombie-like existence, barely making it through the day, praying with whatever little energy you had and just counting down the minutes to iftari. As iftari approached, maybe about an hour before it you’d start watching tv or something to pass the time – this normally consisted of terrible iftar transmissions and wonferful food shows. With each minute feeling like an hour, you’d finally sit on the table and then BOOM, a party every night! The freedom to eat feels like a miracle even on the 30th roza. Suddenly everything feels festive and like a celebration. You eat food, you watch tv and with all the prayers for the day done (minus Ishaa, which you have aaall night to do) you relax knowing that you’ve done your bit. And my favourite part, I’d go online and start talking to all my friends who were in the same happy state of mind, allll the way up to Sehri.
Now, the happiness is still the same even now but pre-iftaar has gotten pretty bad. Of course the fasts are much much longer here anyway, but I’ve also started getting these splitting headaches when I fast now. I actually had to go to the A&E last year for a severrree headache I couldn’t get rid of even after iftaar. The struggle is too hard for me to really enjoy Ramadan anymore and I hate that. I hate that I start dreading it sometime in March, but.. I’ve decided to be a little relaxed this year. I had a splitting headache today, so I’m going to skip tomorrow, guilty as I feel about it. I couldn’t even pray Asr today, so what’s the point of fasting if it’ll just paralyse you to your bed?
With that said, I feel the magic right now. Everything just feels more relaxed after iftaar. Husband is watching tv like he was before sunset, so technically nothing has changed really but he’s drinking a cup of tea and browsing his phone, and well, just looks more alive. I’m sure the same goes for me.
All-in-all, no matter how much I dread Ramadan, I do end up loving it.. as long as you ask me after Iftaar and not before it. 🙂
I was at my parents’ house for a couple of weeks and I just got back day before yesterday. My husband and some of his family was staying here while I was gone and unfortunately I came back to a house that was TRASHED. We’re talking rockstars in a hotel level of trashed. Empty baby food containers all over the place, packaging material all over the place, dirty clothes and shoes – a mess. I asked my husband about it and turned out that his sister-in-law is somewhat of a bitch. She keeps her house clean but because she considered herself a ‘guest’ here, she didn’t bother picking up so much as a piece of tissue while I was gone. My opinion on her is the stuff of legends, but the long and short of it is that it was a terribly poor show.
It took me two days to clean it all up and sort through her junk, but at the end of it (and I hate to admit this) I’ve realised I’m proud of how I keep my house. I’m proud of the fact that it took me two days to clean a mess that took two weeks to make. I’m proud of the fact that I can’t stay in a dirty environment, contrary to me always suspecting I was a slob. It’s not about being a woman or a man – it’s about taking care of the role you are given. Until I am working in some other capacity, I am a homemaker and as a homemaker, it is my job to make this house as comfortable as possible for myself and my family.
Anyway, I’m just glad things are back to normal. I don’t think housework will feel like such a chore anymore because I’ve realised that I need this for myself, to feel like I’m doing a good job of whatever I’m supposed to be doing. Shame on anyone who makes it a question of ego or pride.
Here’s the thing – if I ever expect to be happy with my life and more importantly, satisfied with my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s one and only one thing I can do now – get a job. I need to get this job for many, many reasons.
1. I’ve always said I’m destined for greatness and a genius to boot, but I’ve never done anything to prove it. I’ve paid my way through a masters degree and excelled at a working class job in Target but I’ve never reached for the moon and gotten the stars (or vice versa for that matter). I did manage to get an internship at Unilever and I did manage to get into a great uni but what is the point of an internship and a degree if I have nothing to show for it?! It’s a classic case of always the bridesmaid never the bride, penny-wise pound-foolish, etc etc. I need this job to prove to myself I’m more than a degree or an exam.
2. If I have nothing to look forward to, I will always look at the past. And no matter how great or how terrible the past has been it somehow always seems better than the future when you look back. I’m looking back at EME and missing it – that can NOT be good. Nothing about that place was good for me, nothing at all. And the only reason I’m missing it is because I feel trapped when I look towards the future and I don’t like that.
3. No matter how many times I ‘retire’ thinking I’ve earned it, I can’t help but feel like a failure.
One job. One great big job and that’s it. Let’s take one last one for the team, just to say we tried. Sigh..
Also I really wouldn’t hate it if you gave me your views on this post. That could be a pun, but I mean it isn’t. I always get dozens of ‘views’ in one sense but never any opinions on my thoughts. I’d like to know how I’m doing if you wouldn’t so terribly hate to tell me!
I will never have the kind of lover who writes songs for me or even listens to a song and thinks of me. I will never have the kind of lover who cries at the thought of missing me just because they heard a line in a song or saw a girl in a movie – and I knew that didn’t I? I also know he loves me more than anyone has possibly ever loved me because he tries so hard to do it. He has struggled so much to keep loving me despite everything I did to make sure he didn’t. He misses me so much, he does so much for me, he wants to do so much more – and yet I’m here, looking for someone to dance with me while the whole world watches. A line from a top 40 song that I won’t remember in two weeks but that today means so much to me. Does that say a lot about the kind of person that I am or is that just a different but natural way of doing things?
I have a natural tendency for the melancholy in me – a natural tendency to be blue for the sake of being blue, a natural tendency to value nostalgia more than hope and romantic tragedy more than simple happiness. I know I have the wrong way of looking at things, but if it’s something built inside your nature can you really be held accountable for it?
There’s value in effort and intention but what about the undeniable irony of wanting a useless fork when you have 5 well meaning spoons?
How do I know I want a Child. How can I make the single biggest irreversible decision of my life. How do you know when you know? When do you cross that invisible line that everyone says you one day do?