My gratitude for the darker days of life
These days, often, I have been left contemplating about my hardships as a mother and a parent. The journey, when it started surely was very hard but why does it not look like that anymore? Why am I not able to differentiate between parenting and life anymore? Why do I feel a little hesitant, these days, to categorize and tag my posts under the heading of parenting or motherhood? Is it because I have begun to see it more as life, my life which is not exclusive of being a parent or what do I do being a parent but envelopes parenthood in the whole sense?
I am grateful that parenting and motherhood no longer look like hardwork and the fine lines between parenting and life have got blurred merging them together.
Without any doubt I have come a long way from those days of adjusting in a foreign country (in 2013, which was not the tough part) with the 2 year old Dhruv The toughest part used to be the dread of him waking up after every nap with a loud wailing which pierced through my head, of him following me around all over the house clinging to my leg almost all the time, of never having to accomplish a bath without hearing the loud cries and bangings on the bathroom door and my consequently breaking down crying in the shower.
This carried on for 6 months and I could not understand where my life was heading. I constantly saw it as a huge black hole sucking me into it. I felt tremendously lonely although I had a partner, his father living with me physically in the same house but emotionally distant, very distant as he was not available to hear me out, leave alone the understanding part. I am sure he thought I was the problematic one who could never be happy in any given situation.
I was terribly depressed. Each day, I blamed myself for my decision of going through the rigour of the infertility treatments and procedures for conceiving the baby. I screamed, “Why, why, why did I do that if I was to be left alone in dealing with this mess of life?” Amidst my fits of anger and Dhruv’s cries, the ‘Mr. Hyde’ side of my personality wanted to kill Dhruv leaving me terrified of what I was becoming.
My saviour was the telephone and skype calls with my parents back in India. The fact that they were there to listen to every aspect of what was going with me helped me in staying aware even in those circumstances.
I am grateful that I had my parents who were miles away but never distant from me whenever I needed their patient and empathetic ears.
Eventually, I was able to gather my pieces together thanks to the support I got from the interactions with the staff working in the neighbourhood children centre. A friend, who lived in the same apartment and was aware of Dhruv’s anxiety, got me signed up for the parenting course of the children centre in order to help me understand my son’s needs better. It was a 3 months course with classes being held twice a week. I used to leave Dhruv in their creche while I attended the class. It was painful for me to leave him in creche because I could hear his cries constantly all through the time upstairs in the class but it was for the good of both of us.
I am grateful to the staff members of the Stoneygate Children Centre who supported me through the interactions and their parenting course – “The Incredible Years”.
I am grateful for my friend who got me signed up for the life-changing course
By the time the course ended I had become more aware of my own reactions towards him. I could see it depended solely on my reactions how a given situation was going to turn out. I was, by then, able to choose my responses and every time I chose love and at times when I could not, I promised myself there is always going to be next time. Love has the intense power to heal and it healed both Dhruv and me. I understood he is not going to leave me alone for any single moment so I taught myself to enjoy his company. We walked, roamed, strolled, played, laughed, jumped, danced and read together and I began to cherish every moment of it.
I am grateful for the happier days that followed the troubled and depressed times which makes me cherish them even more.
Today, our lives are settled.
We do not have early morning tantrums and struggles of him not wanting to wake up to go to school. Just the call -“Wake up Dhruv, it is 6.30. Which book would you like me to read to you?” and then I knowingly mention a random book title and he immediately gets up telling me whichever book he wants to be read. We have a quiet time for the next 15 minutes reading and then his batteries get charged up to get ready for school.
We call each other friends. He has this habit of sitting very close with me and when I complain “why do you have to be glued to me every time, it makes me uneasy?” With a cheeky smile, he tells me “we are friends na and friends always stick together”. It is true I told him that once or twice, only that he has taken it in the literal sense. If he has been watching TV or youtube videos for quite a long time and I ask him to switch it off, he lets me know it is the last video or program and then he switches it off, absolutely no struggles.
I do lay down non-negotiable boundaries when it comes to safety. We have rules in the house which apply equally to both of us whether it is brushing the teeth twice a day, limiting the intake of likes of biscuits, chips etc to 2 at a time to eat in moderation, being polite and the most important amongst all is never blaming the other for our hurt. I know the last one is a bit tough for a 4-year-old to practice and at times for me too but it serves to begin early and remind ourselves of it as a rule. He has surprised me when he practiced this one in a tricky situation while playing with his friend while I was waiting for him to raise his finger to his friend so that I could take it with his friend’s mum. He inspired me with this.
I am grateful for the beautiful relationship I share with Dhruv, presently, and for the things I get to learn from his behaviour
Today, we share a beautiful relationship with each other based on love and trust. At times, I get stretched too because of numerous other things going in my mind and I react adversely. Later, he comes to me and talks it out asking me ” why did you get angry? Was there a need to get angry?” giving me a chance to introspect and to cut the pattern if any is developing in a particular situation. To avoid going berserk, I have discussed with him that when I get stretched and angry I will tell him I am losing my patience and then he has to give me a moment of peace and then I will be fine. One day, as per habit, I told him so and he began to do the hands’ action as if he was transferring something from himself to me and I asked him what was he doing. He told me “your patience level is going down so I am filling you up with my patience”. I could not help myself from laughing and from that day I even cut that pattern. Now a deep breath does the job.
I am grateful for the darker days of my life.
I am grateful for today.
I have always believed that the present is the happier time than the past. There is always something positive to look at in the present time which resolves us of our struggles. I always remember where I am coming from and this makes my today look brighter than ever.