Get rid of all the fancy notions you have been harboring over the years. Marriages are not made in heaven. You do not automatically fall in love. Food does not cook itself and as far as I know there aren’t any such things as self-cleaning houses or autoclean & fold clothes. The banalities of real, humdrum everyday existence are not conducive to romance especially if you don’t like doing any of these things (‘coz let’s face it, no matter how educated or well-employed a female is, all the household chores automatically become hers). All that being said, I have to admit I had a great time during the first 2 years of my marriage. After that come the KIDS……
Kids come in two varieties – planned and unplanned. In my painstaking research over the years, I have figured out that the unplanned ones are definitely more difficult to handle – somehow they only do the unexpected whereas their planned brothers or sisters follow a well-trodden path and can therefore be handled by tried and tested means. Whatever be the kind of kid you’ll be ‘blessed’ with, it’s not going to be easy (I’m grinning with a malicious, sadistic sort of pleasure because all of this is ahead of you – my life can only get better!!)
I know you are not the type who’ll just take my word for it, so I’ll explain my earlier statements. All those magazines and all those grannies telling you that motherhood is the pinnacle of a woman’s existence were lying through their teeth. They just can’t wait to see more fools fall into the trap into which they themselves had been betrayed years ago. Some grannies really do like babies and kids – they are the ones with amnesia. All this prejudice against choosing not to have children ensures that every couple feels it’s their duty to have kids and any violation of that duty means that they are not human. So you have a scenario in which a lot of couples, totally clueless couples get into parenthood. The guys have it easier. Here’s what I went through during my first pregnancy…
My overwhelming memories of my first trimester is simply this – YUCKKKK! Throwing up five times a day was never enjoyable and in my case was compounded by a heightened sense of smell. Even water smelled. I lost weight by the kilos and my normally underweight self began to look positively obese next to my new wraith-like figure. I looked dull and lifeless and could do no more than lie down for the first four months when I was carrying my son. Anything and everything could trigger my ‘morning sickness’ (morning,noon,evening,dusk,night ,pre-dawn,dawn…..sickness). It could be the picture of a hamburger (I was in California at the time and food or snaps of food seemed to be everywhere) or the neighborhood barbecue or riding in a car or shopping – the list was endless. This nausea went down by degrees till my last month – I even threw up 3 hours before my son was born. So, don’t listen to anyone who says ‘morning’ sickness is only during the first trimester. Just send them to me and I’ll set them right.
My second first trimester which is fairly recent (I’m in my fourth month now) was, if possible, even worse than the first. Added to the above described nausea is the transformation of my face into a crater-ridden wasteland. A close-up of the moon would win against me hands down in a beauty contest. So, now I’m ugly, skinny and nauseous with a terribly active almost-three year old to take care of come rain or shine, nausea or dizziness. I could kill myself for making the same mistake twice, but we Arieans are rather well-known for it!
All these problems occur in the gestation period itself. The baby-entering-the-world part is the easiest stage. Next comes the baby. Initially, it will resemble a raisin (don’t mention that to your spouse – mine didn’t appreciate my sense of humor in the delivery room). It will cry a lot and be pretty difficult to carry. It will need to be fed every two hours round the clock and will need to be changed about that frequently as well. This is about kids in general. My son chose to be different. While my friends’ newborns would be sleeping blissfully for a total of 16hours a day, my son would not sleep – either in the day or at night. He would be up till 3 am (we would drive around with the little monster all night – the engine hum put him to sleep) crying loudly and non-stop due to his colic (my mother was forced to admit that she hadn’t ever seen a baby like this). He would then sleep till about 11a.m and then not sleep at all. I couldn’t bathe, eat or sleep. It was a nightmare which I believe I shall be reliving shortly. I am of the opinion that I must have committed some particularly heinous crime in my previous birth.
Compared to the first six months of my son’s existence, what followed, including emergency medical visits, potty training and nursery school was a breeze. So what if his teacher says he doesn’t talk as much as the other kids and I have to take him for speech therapy twice a week miles away from home! So what if he cannot be taken to a restaurant or any place there’s noise (which rules out the outside world here in Bangalore)? So what if he nearly broke my door during a temper tantrum? So what if he’s decided to be a supermodel and hasn’t eaten anything for days? HE SLEEPS AT 10 EVERY NIGHT!! I am extremely grateful to the powers above.
I believe you are getting a picture of the wonderful life that awaits you in a couple of months. The rest of the picture will be clearer on reading installment – 2 of my letter. I want you to reflect on my advice because it comes from the heart (if only someone had been there for me!!). Anyway , all the best on your engagement. Remember, marriages are made in heaven, but kids are definitely not.