I couldn’t stand on my feet even. My legs and feet were already swollen up, and walking a few feet would make me realize my plight.
To add to it, the head never stopped throbbing. It was 8th month only and I could not sleep uninterrupted for more than 1 hour at night. Either I had to get up and urinate or sleeping on one side would make it more difficult. And then somehow when the sleep dulled me, a shooting pain in the leg would wake me up. Another cramp!
My mind took me back to 11 months earlier, when we were desperately trying to have a baby. I knew we were not ready yet. Financially no, and mentally no as well. I was never a baby pleaser and to be true, I avoided them.
Only 3 months before, we had finished our residency and we hardly had any finances to support another life. We had both been busy and I wanted to enjoy a little my new financial independence before taking on this new role. However, everyone on either side of families were directly or indirectly telling us their wish to start a family.
“You’ve been married 3 years, Neha. How much more time do you want to get settled.” My mom said.
“Who had told you to take pills?” My mom in law chimed.
“You will understand these all are bad only when you try and you won’t conceive” Her sister had added.
“Don’t know why the girls these days feel kids as burden!” My grandmother had tried to put sense into me.
“Are you sure Dipesh does it the right way?” His aunt had said.
Frustrated I had given in. And we had started trying for a baby.
“Don’t miss even a single day.” His sisters advised.
So, it had become a Mission of the whole family.
I didn’t miss my period the first month we tried.
“It’s all the pills she took.” Mom in law gave an earful to her son as well.
By second month, we were more focussed. Yet, again we couldn’t give them the good news.
Even I was worried now. May be there’s truth in what elders say.
Third month, a pink line and all the family was glowing with pregnancy.
Then came the dos and donts.
“One big glass of juice, everyday.” My mom in law instructed.
Obedient Dipesh would stand with one each day. But I could never finish half.
“Mom, she feels nauseated. It’s ok.” Dipesh tried to convince her.
“I eat fruits.” I too tried to convince.
“No juice is more healthy. You have become doctors, that’s why you don’t listen.” She was still persistent.
Next day, Dinesh had made me finish the full glass.
15 minutes later, I threw up everything. He had to clean the bathroom even. That ended the juice saga.
“Hot milk only” I was instructed.
“Mom, it’s June. Who drinks hot milk in June. I do have a milk shake thrice a day enough for my calcium.” I had argued.
By 6th month, the blood pressure started increasing.
“You didn’t listen to us.” came a unanimous chorus from all sides.
To my amazement, an eclipse also landed in midst.
“No, you will not leave your office till it finishes.”
“But Mom, where will I sit. The peon locks the door by 5.00.”
“Oh, Dipesh, why can’t you put sense into your wife.”
“Do you want a malformed child.”
That had put an end to the discussion, and I did abide by staying well past the eclipse time sitting in the lobby.
On the last visit, the doctor had said. “You should start your leave now. Your BP in-spite of medicines is not being controlled. You should be on bed rest.”
“If she starts her leave now, it will be trouble managing the baby, it’s only 8th month.” Again came the suggestions.
“She should start her leave as late as she can” was the final decision.
So I dragged in a week more. And finally I realised I couldn’t do it anymore and started my maternity leave.
2 weeks later, We had our baby, a tiny baby boy, low birth weight.
“A huge mummy, and a small baby” came the comments.
“Thank God, atleast it’s a boy.” Someone else said.
I was too tense that I could not do the breast feed right.
“She doesn’t have milk in her only.She should start on top feed.” Elders in family suggested.
“Top feed so soon.” For the first time Dipesh took a stand.
“Let her relax.” The counselor advised.
When the milk production became ok, came another issue of milk not being fattening enough.
“Start giving a drop of ghee in morning, now he is 1 month. And add banana at 2.”the suggestions continued.
I looked towards Dipesh for support every time but soon realized he was a silent support.
My baby, I would have to take a stand and I decided to let the suggestions go unheard.