Often, a mother is considered to be the nurturer and a symbol of unconditional love and care. This notion places her on a pedestal that is unfathomable or even unreachable. And this eventually robs her off her spontaneity and her genuine urge to behave as naturally as any other human being.

A mother is sadly idolised and is expected to be the ultimate personification of someone who is superhuman with powers that may not be perceivable but are considered to have been inherent since the time she was born.

I, too, was raised with this belief until it became increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for me to live up to the expectations of those around me. Right from the day my daughter was born, I was informed that it’s my rebirth too; I should necessarily conform to the needs of my baby (who could hardly voice anything then) alone. My existence as a human being had taken a back seat, and I was expected to give into this. The fact that I failed to pump sufficient milk for my baby led me to use tinned food supplies for her (duly recommended by the paediatrician) however this action of mine was admonished in public! I was made to feel inept and useless, and I was told that my lack of such a “mammoth activity” would harm my relationship with my daughter!

As a dutiful mother, I yielded to the various suggestions and home remedies to help myself produce more milk. However, nothing worked out. When this was not enough, I was advised to use a breast pump, oblivious to how traumatic and painful this can be for a mother who has already had a C-section. The story of a C-section, its need and the eventual recovery is something that’s often neglected but let that be for some other day!

Not to forget, my gynaecologist’s decision to advise a C-section for my health benefits was harshly condemned by so-called near and dear ones. Even before I delivered my baby I was made to go through weird practices in the name of rituals and religious practices no matter how inconvenient they were for me.

Surprisingly rituals that were mandatory for me were conveniently bent for the benefit of my sister-in-law who conceived a year later. The basic and rightful benefits that a pregnant woman should be given were unnecessarily snatched away from me in the name of religion and tradition whereas the same was easily given to my sister-in-law. And then it is often claimed in such households that a daughter-in-law is nothing but another daughter which is ironical and quite sad indeed.

Likewise there are many such practises that were imposed on me and I was expected to embrace them all because I am a woman! Initially as it is with every new bride I quietly gave in to them until the point that was the foundation stone for robbing me off my self-respect and self-esteem. That was when I had enough of the atrocities that were intentionally being meted out to me and I decided to stop paying heed to my so-called well-wishers. And this led me to shun them from my life forever.

This was truly the beginning of what they say is “Better late than never”!

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