There are so many joys in being a mother. The moment I held my baby in my hands, I felt that I was blessed. The enormous feeling of love that you feel in your heart as you hold the tiny, gentle hands in yours, the swell of love that engulfs you as you watch your little one sleeping peacefully next to you – and that special bond that you feel as you breastfeed her – there is no other gift in life that makes you feel that way. The excitement of all gifts big or small dies down overtime. But in being a mother? The moment of joy stays with you forever. Despite the occasional feelings that she is going to drive you mad because you can’t keep up with the energy and curiosity of a child.
While a child is always looking for something, putting a finger in a hole there, or pressing a button here, she is always exploring and learning; she is making sense of the world that she is in. But because she has this excitement and zeal to see more and to know more, the mother has to have a big heart. A really big heart. Because you are a mother and a child at this age (1-2 years) cannot be controlled by reasoning, you are in a dilemma of what you should do. There are social gatherings that you cannot forego because you are a mother. Besides, you feel that the way to let a child grow up is not by closing the rest of the world out. The way to let the child see the world is to live as naturally as possible – letting the things around us run as they usually do; and letting ourselves go around life as usual. Except, at times it gets really, really difficult.
There were many times when I felt torn that I had not taken her into account when I made a decision to take part in something. When you are at someone’s house as a guest, you are ill at ease – having to follow your child and keeping an eye to make sure that she is not breaking something, or spilling something on the carpet. But despite all this I-wish-I-were-not-part-of-this-gathering feeling, we have to be a part of it. I can’t explain why I must torture myself and my baby that way – but I have always taken part as I would if I were not a mother. And the expense of it all is that, after a while she gets tired and agitated. Her sleep time gets disturbed. And then, I blame myself for not being a good mother.
For example, today we were at the Victoria Market in Melboune (it is an open market like the one we have in Bhutan). While my husband and other friends shopped, we played at the nearby park. I decided to do that because I thought I had to consider her first. When I knew she had had enough time at the park and was getting sleepy, we joined the others. But she got sleepy and yet she could not sleep. She got so agitated. She did not want to stay on the stroller. She was pushing herself out from the straps with so much strength that she was almost out of them. So I took her out thinking that we were almost done at the market and she deserved to be out too. But the moment she was out, she ran around the shop, touching things here and there. And then, she slipped and hit her forehead so hard on the concrete floor and got a very bad big swelling on her left forehead. People around were shocked and aghast. I felt so bad. On top of that feeling, I was blamed. My husband’s hysterical remark was that, I simply don’t know how to look after a child.
This is how it is. Despite all your effort to be a good mother, despite all the love that you feel, you fail somehow. There is always something that you don’t get right. For me, I can only soothe myself by crying with her and blaming myself. Then I make a decision that I will lock ourselves in and not join the others. This time, I am almost sure that I will not go shopping or attend a social gathering out of an obligation to not hurt the sentiments of others. There are already three appointments of such obligations and I am wondering how best to take back my words. It is so difficult to live when you are a person who has to keep the word that you have given. I have put myself on torture many a times because of this principle that I must stick to. This time, for my daughter, I may break it. For me, it is she that matters the most. I must have a big heart.