The most extreme of makeovers

Sometime back I met a guy who had not seen me for four years. Wow, he said, you are totally different now. I asked him how and he avoided a direct answer. But it got me thinking – of all the makeovers I have seen, on TV or at the local Macy’s cosmetic counter, the most extreme makeover is the one of becoming a mom.

First for a while, instead of having one body, you have two . You slow down, you avoid the microwave, you take various pesky precautions with military ardor. And then you go through labor, and the baby is here and you are confronted with a new confidence that your body could actually grow another and bring him or her to life and a new sinking feeling that all that you have learnt so far may not stand you in good, mediun or even weak stead as a new mom. And then as days, diapers, burps and cuddles pass by, you gain a new confidence and realize suddenly that you are a new person – a mom.

Instead of the sleek purse you sung over your shoulder, you now carry a diaper bag, your clothes are no longer the ironed business casual you prefered but shorts and t-shirts and soft dresses that hide your waist. You dont have time for the post natal yoga cd you bought and you learn to do unexpected things like nursing in public or taking your baby into a public bathroom with you.

And the doctors and experts. Well, what would a  makeover be without them? The latest child care book. What to expect when the what to expect series ends. The pediatrician who orders strange tests ‘just to be sure’. The gynaecologist who is now more intimate with your body that maybe even you.

And then they grow a bit bigger and all these fade away. The diaper bags, the diapers, the sippy cups, the clinginess. But your makeover is complete. You can still find the same person you were but you are no longer her. Your body has recovered from the ravages of labor, but its a body that bore a child and nursed her or him- and it suddenly deserves that respect. Your eyes now have the same kohl and mascara but they are alert after your child. Your clothes hang well, your car is clean again, but stamps of another small, much beloved soul is everywhere – from the hidden happy meal toy in your front seat to the juice box stain on your white skirt.

You dont walk out of this makeovers to cheers from your friends and families, perhaps, but you should walk out to cheers from you.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Indrani

    I simply love what you have written may be because I have similar experiences every now and then. Sometime back, a friend called to find if I have got back to work or not. When I said no, as I am raising my son who is my top priority especially in his initial yet formative years. She said, “Its so hard to imagine that after studying so much you are not doing anything”. ‘Not doing anything’, I felt like retorting back. You think raising a child is not doing anything? Oh please have some respect for your mom.

    Unfortunately while in the west, there’s a reverse trend, i.e stay at home moms are respected and easily accepted in the job market after a break for couple of years, its not the same in India. And the saddest part is even women tend to run it down. Of course, there are options of leaving the child with either set of grandparents, or in the care of a maid if there’s no family support, but what about the joy of seeing your child grow? Its difficult to strike a balance between work and family life, particularly in the corporate sector in here, with long hours spent in offices and in commuting and people in general have a little respect for ‘private family time’, so that leaves a working woman with negligible time and energy for the precious person(s) who needs and rightfully deserves the most of her.

  2. Khushi

    Thank you very much for your comment. I get this a lot too. You are right in pointing out the difference between India and the West in this regard.

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