I’m a mother of a 7 month old daughter and a student. I could have put my studies for later, taking priority to raise my baby first but I thought since I’m not growing any younger, I could as well take up both together, no matter how challenging that is. Also, I am not the first one to do that. I have heard of many mothers who pursued their career, even when it took them away from their children. And so I hopped onto that boat and here I am.
In the beginning, I returned home to find that my baby had cried looking for me, wanting nothing but mother’s milk. I realize that to babies, there is nothing more soothing and comfortable than being on the mother’s bosom, sucking milk. She isn’t crying as much as she used to but it is going to get worse – because soon, she will recognize me and she probably won’t even want to stay with her father. Children and their mothers are so emotionally attached that no words can explain. I wonder if fathers feel for their children as much as mothers do. There is an unspeakable bond and love between them.
I am jostling around at the university: rushing for the class and lectures, running here and there in between to attend to things – like to the bank and health centre and all the while, my heart is racing, always thinking if my baby is fine, if she isn’t crying for me, if she has been able to sleep. And then I realize a mother’s heart is never totally at peace. Until she is with her baby, holding her baby’s hand, rubbing her head and singing to her, no matter what she is asked to do, her mind is always where her baby is. And this worries me. Will I be able to concentrate on my studies? I even question, ‘Will I be able to even get a pass?’ A friend told me that it is easy to pass – and when I narrated it to another friend he said that it is, but it is difficult to get outstanding result. And I think all Bhutanese who undergo masters are aiming for that. If so, I can’t be the only one struck on not knowing how to concentrate, while I have already chosen to take the challenge, which means, I have come half way from being a good full time mother.
But come to think of it, I could never, ever have left my daughter behind. It will never be my career or her. If I have to choose, I have to choose her. Oh, if I haven’t yet learned which one is more important, I have learned nothing. I know it will be hard; it is hard for all mothers situated like me but I think we all come out fine in the end. If my daughter wasn’t here with me, I know I would have been doomed psychologically. I could be calling home every day, crying alone and wishing I had done the right thing. I’m glad that it never even occurred to me that leaving her could be an option for me.
I see couples without children walk with ease and comfort while my husband and I have our daughter in the pram, having to lift it up sometime. There are others who have brought their children with them but none as young as my daughter. There is always something that you need to carry or do for baby but despite the occasional smudge of ‘Oh God!’ you enjoy that you are grooming up a person, the choice of how you draw her life depending on you. It makes you a creator and you want to be the best artist at that.
Yes, I am a student but I’m a mother first.