Have you given birth? Well, I have, and I had presumed that after delivering two kids, my 'lajja' would have been lying in some trash bin in a desolate place. I can see nods, yeah ! yeah! the deal starts with the first chec-kup does'nt it? The apprehensive wait on that table with a white sheet, inside the doctor's chambers. The ever smiling doctor, the gloves that go up her hand and the pulse that starts racing in your heart as you begin to comprehend her action. Every time now that my kids trouble me, it's the familiar pulse rate that I feel, and I can trace it back to that first check-up on the table at the doctor's chamber. "Relax" she says in a voice that is softly matter of fact and breezy, "How the hell?" you wonder.. the scene here is best left unmentioned as those who have gone through it know it only too well, and those who havent, well, I dont want to discourage you from entering one of the best moments in a woman's life.(hahahhaha!! did I say that?)
Another scene that follows a few months later, especially if like me, you have had your kids in India, this will be familiar. A crowded waiting room, the women looking around trying to gauge, who's ahead in the race to the delivery day, the husbands not far, nor close, an aloof, safe distance(maybe they think its a communicable thing..and they might just catch it if they sit close to their wife), messaging, leafing through magazines, checking the time, and at times , asking if the wife needs something( well she does..she wants him to lay prostrate on that table in there and get checked up in the insides!!) How about that, but she just smiles like a fool and says "water". A nurse comes swaying into the room and shouts at the top of her voice, "Sonography ka pati." And a few of the husbands by the magnificent grace of linguistic skills understand that phrase and respond by walking towards her, she hands out forms to be filled and says in a not at all soft and breezy voice, "Make your wife drink water till she's all full and wants to go to the toilet, but dont let her, we will call them in one by one." Well if that is not punishment what is? Like God's command and as if the life on earth depended on it, the husbands fill up the form in a precise manner and queue up in front of the water dispenser to fill bottles for their respective wives. I think they are happy to have been given something to do at last, and they feel blessed that they are a part of the process towards bringing a life on this planet. So they make sure that the last drop of water enters the squirming wife, who has her legs crossed tightly and her face in a pinched frown praying for the ordeal to end. Since then, how many times have I prayed for ordeals to end? The neighbourhood bully teasing my boy - "I wish this ends", the pre teen rage of my daughter - "Oh God how I wish we get through this soon" . Yah !Yah ! you got that right, I trace it back to the day I waited for a sonography to check whether my unborn kids had all her limbs in the right position.
There's more, the water breaks at the most inconvinient of times. Fortunately in my case, I did not have a hard time locating my husband, many a times that is the case too. So we manage to land up in the hospital, the husband looks a mix of joy and panic, I wonder, what on earth for? Its me who is going to get that coconut out of my nostril in a few hours is'nt it? So why the hell is he panicking? All this while I keep timing my contractions, to take my mind off the unfairness of it all. And then the actual horror starts. It's not just about pain... It's humiliation of the worst possible order. You are given a room and a flimsy gown to hold on to for dear life and shame. Your mind is a blank apart from the pain, and thankfully so, atleast the first time round, you are till now blissfully ignorant of things to come. Suddenly the door opens and a young guy comes in and has a dekko..just like that!! Thats the moment when I felt I woul;d never be able to face humanity again. leave alone the men! I cannot believe what just happened!! The husband is a mute spectator, its not violation of human rights you see, its a junior doctor cheking up on the dilation!! This continues for the next hour or so and each time a different doctor, till I start feeling like they are joking about me at the end of the corridoor. "There must be something you have to say to these people, where the hell is my doctor, why is she not here? I opted for a female doc just so that at the last moment any tom dick and harry comes in and takes a bloody peep? what do you think you are doing standing there?" How many times since then have I said this, "What do you thing you are doing standing there?" I think that day was the first when I screamed my lungs out at my husband, I wanted to blame him for what I was going through, desperate, uncomprehending, insecure, on the verge of hysteria and delivery...all these emotions, I can trace right back to that lonely, sterile room in the hospital.
There is more but it gets boring after this point, because the pain overtakes the shame and you just dont care beyond the fact that you want to have the baby out and go to sleep! The point I started this was because I thought after two such harrowing experiences, I would be better adjusted as a female with unknown people looking me up like a course book, but thats not the case, it seems. An annual checkup, a pap smear and a mammogram makes my blood drain, my feet get cold and my pulse well that has never stoped racing since that day. So I guess the 'lajja' never really got deposited in the trash bin, maybe it was the husband who was asked to throw the trash that day!
Motherhood does bring in unknown emotions in all of us!