But my focus here is on you and your words on the biological clock ticking.
I need to say this. No, please do not feel guilty about the choices you have made till now. You have worked very hard to become who you are, especially after you left the “shelter” of your home for University. I am so proud of your achievements. It is not easy to be a young professional single woman in India. I still shudder at the odd timings you have had to keep, travelling though this manic city of Delhi – which I love – but it is unsafe and its people are unpredictable.
Yes, you are thirty-something and it has been said that women ought to have their first child by this age. Science is now a dear friend to us all and has changed all these notions. Remember the mid-forty-something first-time mother I introduced you to – the professional sociologist who placed her career motives before motherhood? She is enjoying being a mother at her age, as she has done all she aspired for first. I feel she is a mature and contented mother.
Young or older
Do not get me wrong. I know from experience how fragile I was as a young mother and wife – the never-ending chores, lack of sleep, my fear of domestic help being “mean”. There were horror stories even then of small children being given doses of sleeping tablets in their milk bottles, which is why I stayed home and did not take up my first job offer. No wonder I was cranky.
I earnestly hope that those are not the only memories you have of me in your childhood. I was 25 when you came into my life and your elder sister was two. Later, when your brother came along, I was a decade older, and the years had given me time to mature into a far more patient person. Unfair? Perhaps. Your younger brother also thinks I was cranky when he was growing up, an “older” parent, far too wise at all the parent-teacher meetings (so I stopped attending!). Not much fun, I suppose. Life!
You are a kind-hearted, sensitive person. This is just not your mother speaking. These are words many have said to me upon meeting you, listening and watching you on air, reviewing your interactions with your panellists. I know when the time comes and you are ready, you will hold on to the outstretched hand of your knight in shining armour – I can still recall your childhood stories in your not-so-cursive handwriting, with your wriggly sketches – and after getting rid of the “evil” guys, ride into the glorious sunset.
Being a mother does mean having to realign your life. I had to. Yes, there were many moments of regret for all that I could not be or achieve. That was My Life. Yours will be very different. I am confident you will know what to do and how to do it – that is why we have these generation issues. A never-ending mother-daughter epiphany!
When you are ready, and I am hoping it is sooner than later, you will be the most precious mother a child could have. We mothers always wish the best for our daughters.
Jayshree Misra Tripathi is an education consultant, former International Baccalaureate Examiner (English) and mother-of-three. She doesn't regret putting family first, and tweets @JayMTri.
Read Amrita Tripathi's Confessions of a SINK here.
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