Motherhood is a sublime feeling. Yes, I agree. Being a mother who knows it better than me? When I conceived, I felt as if all the world was smiling at me; the sky seemed to be full of dazzling stars and bright rainbows, all at the same time. But, the question is, do women often lose their identity as an individual after becoming a mother? Does motherhood mean losing all other shades of one’s personality but one?
I know this topic is an emotional as well as controversial one. The concept of motherhood is often compared to divinity and, we women are quite gullible to it. Even today, a childless married woman faces societal opprobrium as if it’s a heinous crime!
My friend joined her office soon after her baby became three months old. She recruited a nanny but still her in-laws grudged all the time, that, she was not enough dutiful to her baby. She had to rush home as soon as possible after her work-hour ended and, that was making her job-life difficult and strenuous. She had no life in between her office and home taking care of the baby. She was getting drained emotionally and, emaciated physically. Finally, she was compelled to give up her job sacrificing her career. What she told me later was, “I never feel miserable that I’ve to discontinue my career, but the thing haunts me is nobody, even my near and dear ones, never feel for me. They behave in a way as if, it is the least thing a mother could do for her child.”.
Many a time my job demands short visits to other cities. The inevitable question I face is how my child is doing without me. And, sometimes elderly people keep on giving me redundant advice that my child must have been missing me and, consequently, this could upset him. I fail to agree with their point as I think a mother-child relationship is neither so fragile nor it is an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ case. I consider myself fortunate enough to have a husband who is of great support to me.
But still somewhere, somehow, a sense of guilt crouches in. It is, because, the society has fixed a set of duties for the mothers. She should be the epitome of benevolence. This sense of guilt appears to be heavier for those mothers who have to balance cautiously between their family and work life. Their life is similar to that of a funambulist. One wrong step and you’re gone! One of my friends refused her promotion because, according to her, “a promotion means greater responsibilities and, even going onsite which I can’t manage at this point. My daughter is only two-year-old.”
Interestingly, our films and serials entertain this romanticized version of motherhood in an exaggerated manner. An all-sacrificing, eats-what-she-gets mother, with a broad smile on her face, is the ideal mother. She obeys her husband’s orders in her youth and, later, her children’s. Her whole family generally cry for her after she dies or gets affected by some incurable disease, but never they pay heed to her when she’s in her heyday. Is there any wrong in it if a woman, who is also a mother, takes care of herself? I don’t think so.
A woman must nurture the many facets of her personality and, there is no wrong in it. She is not answerable to anyone for her ‘performance’ towards her child. The social (read patriarchal) version of motherhood is a chimerical one. In no way, a working mum loves her baby less than an all-time mum. Motherhood is a celebration, a joy for ever, and should not be a hindrance to the way of life.