I was a career oriented, go-getter, big dreamer, feminist, living life king size kind of a person, that is before I got married to the man I loved.
I liked to think of myself as this new age bride who walks shoulder to shoulder with her spouse, who contributes financially, helps her husband with ice in his whiskey. But as much as I would have liked it to last a bit longer, shortly after getting married, on one unexpected day I discovered that I was pregnant.
My world came crashing down. Not that I never wanted to become a parent, although I never quite liked children much, this day came sooner than I ever imagined. I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t ready to take up this huge responsibility of raising a child. I was supposed to work round the clock, drink hard I could on days I wanted to let my hair down, travel to international destinations with my bae, indulge in unhealthy food when I liked. But as truth be told, life is unpredictable.
After I made this huge discovery, the days ahead became very gloomy and unexciting. I loathed working late, preferred staying indoors and sleeping. I quit drinking, traveled less, became a selective eater as I was having a hard time keeping my food inside. I felt guilty of not getting excited about anything, especially seeing my overly excited husband who loved kids and couldn’t wait to start his own family someday. Lucky for him, it couldn’t have been any sooner than this.
I never sang to my pregnant belly, never touched it lovingly, never shopped for the soon to arrive and resorted to the passed on clothes. I never really tried hard to make this pregnancy a special one as I never felt any connection, not even on the day of delivery as I didn’t go into labour. I had an emergency c-section because of fetal distress. Well as I lay on the OT table, I was numb but could hear the sound of instruments clanking, tissues tearing apart, I could smell the burnt skin and finally, I heard his first cry. I felt… nothing!
Everyone in the room congratulated me, said I did well. That was funny because all I did there was play dead. Anyway, the sisters holding him brought him close to me to show his genitals as I was getting stitched back. They held him a little longer than required and to escape the awkward gap in time, I planted a kiss on his forehead. They took him away to get him ready for the visitors waiting impatiently along with my nervous husband who refused to come inside the OT because he didn’t think he could see all that blood. I wonder how men can act all sensitive and get away with it without getting any eyebrows raised and some women are frowned upon when they choose to get epidural or spinal. Well, there are even people who say women who undergo c-section or opt for anesthesia do not ‘give birth’. Giving birth means going through all that pain to push out a human. I didn’t go through that pain but I sure did give birth.
As I was getting stitched I remembered how I planted that kiss and our eyes met. I started studying the details of that short encounter. It’s been more than one year but I still remember it vividly. Because that was the moment I felt the connection I always wanted to when he was inside my belly. His eyes were half shut and they pierced into mine. He was crying before our eyes met but became calm when he looked at me. It was as if he trusted no one but me. By the time the surgeons were done I was rolled back to my room and throughout the way, I kept thinking of our little eye contact. I wanted to see more of him. He was with my aunt. Cocooned inside a blanket. I asked her to put him next to me. I saw him again and again and again. He resembled no one. But it was too soon to tell. He smiled in his sleep and I laughed. He pouted and I laughed. He tried to move his body against the tightly wrapped swaddle but was unhappy that he couldn’t. He opened his eyes and saw me. I looked at him with a smile and tears in my eyes and I kissed him. Only this time it was sealed with a promise that I will continue to love him with all my heart and soul and will take a bullet for him if I have to. It was pure love and my first ever ”love at first sight”.