We women never have it easy....after we are married, barely have we settled down that well-meaning relatives and friends urge us to have babies. It's like a conspiracy, they get together and drop broad hints that are designed to make us feel incomplete just because we have not started a family. Yet.
I was married in 1996. In 1998 my father-in-law moved to Andhra Pradesh. Obviously, we visited often, and would often meet his colleagues and their families. I clearly remember the look of disappointment in the faces of the ladies when they heard I had been married for two years but had, as yet, failed to produce any children. There was sorrow, pity even, writ large on their faces.
It's not that we did not want children, it's just that we were in no tearing hurry either.
All in good time.
So that's how it was. In good time, my daughters were born: one after the other, in fact they are just about 13 months apart.
So, do the Math, for about three years continuously, I was either pregnant or lactating. My husband forgot what it was like to drive fast, we were constantly careful and holidays, if we dared take one, were planned with great deliberation.
Besides that, once the older child was born, I realised there are a good many things that well-meaning relatives, aunts and other mothers do not tell you.
They don't tell you that for the next few months you will be running about with your hair standing on end, smelling of curdled milk and poo and wish you could just go to sleep anywhere, anytime.
They do not tell you that for the rest of your life you will forget what it was like when it was just you and your husband and you used to come home from a party and pull the curtains just as the birds began to sing outside.
They do not tell you that the mere thought of any harm coming to your child would keep you sitting bolt upright. Every night.
They do not tell you that your toddler will open your eyes with two grubby fingers when you are finally getting that nap and ask, "are you awake?"
They certainly do not tell you that hence forth your life is not your own and anything that can go wrong will do so, specially when you are in the loo.
They don't tell you that once in a while you will actually lock yourself in the loo and pray for peace and quiet!
They don't tell you that there will be a time when going out to buy Pediasure will be the high point of your week!
They don't tell you that your heart will break into a million pieces each time your child is hurt or has fever and clings to you and you are helpless to stop it.
Yes, a few years have passed. My daughters are now 14 and 15. Well on their way to becoming mature young adults, did you say?
They don't tell you that being a mother is a full time job that does not have a retirement age.
They don't tell you that once you've gotten past the potty training, there is always a new challenge coming up.
They don't tell you that you will now lie awake, sleepless worrying about the studies that they are not doing because they have no idea of what the real world rat race is like.
They don't tell you that you will feel guilty when they do not do well in their studies because you will feel somehow responsible.
They don't tell you that if ever anyone praises your child you will feel like you just started floating on air and will start beaming like the stadium lights.
They do not tell you that you will worry about the boys they meet in tuition class and the men on the road as they go out and you will want to follow them everywhere.
They do not tell you that it will take every ounce of self restraint and courage that you have to NOT follow them everywhere.
They do not tell you how, on Mother's Day they will buy you a gift you do not need with money taken from you and then run loose in your kitchen and you will do your best to be happy about it.
They don't tell you how relieved you will be that Mother's Day only comes once a year!
They do not tell you how tears spring to your eyes each time you sense they are hurt or upset.
Most of all they do not tell you how lonely the house feels when the children are not home and you worry that all too soon they will fly the nest and your heart will fly with them.
For they never, never tell you that from the day you become a mother till the day you die your heart will belong to your children and you will forever be wearing it on your sleeve.
(This was written for a contest entry. The original post is here: http://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/mommy-magic/article/things-they-do-not-tell-you )