I was reading this article in New York Times (in the wake of Kim Clijsters’ victory in the US open) about how pregnancy can enhance both physical and mental performance when I started reflecting on what motherhood has done to me….

My life is very much divided into BC and AD. Before Children and After Delivery. At times I do try to think of how it was in those good old BC days. When I actually returned from work thinking, “That was a hard day, now for a curl up on the sofa with my favourite book and stash of chocolates which I so much deserve”. Excuse me? Now it seems work really starts as soon as I step home.

After the regular round of hugs and kisses (they are still little enough) we get down to business. List of demands that they had been saving through the day (just 8 hours actually) come tumbling out. “Mum, can Avani come over home after school tomorrow”, “Can I go for a sleepover this weekend?”, “I do not have any books to read, can we go to Midlands?”, “Can we go and feed the puppies across the road?” an so and so forth and always ☺, “Did you have a good day at work?”

Then the next 5 hours is frenetic time full of GEMS (as my dear friend Gloria calls the genuine emotional moments)- homework, reading, bath, dinner, bed. It amazes me that even after 12 years of living with these mini-humans – how much of laughter, noise, squealing, squabbles, screeches, mess they carry around with them.

Their lives completely take over ours. What if I have to submit an article for an esteemed journal in 2 days time? What if I have to make a presentation for an international conference day after? Totally insignificant! We are all in a panic as the printer refuses to work one day before Nishat’s Mexico project submission. I am ready to pound on the neighbours’ door in the middle of the night to get access to their printer. My chemistry teacher might have been dismayed at my chalta hai attitude way back in school, but now he would be really proud to see me burn the mid night oil trying to balance the chemical equations and getting the hang of the periodic table (still think it is so meaningless).

Forget the lazy Sundays. We see every kid movie that comes to town. I should really take up a job of a kids film critic, at least it will pay for the pricey tickets and pop-corns. By the way, totally avoid 9. It is just rubbish. We only go to kid friendly restaurants (very few in Delhi) and museums (very few in Delhi) and gardens (many, many in Delhi).

Working with children and coming home to children I feel at times totally at a loss of having an adult conversation. No surprises that I only have friends who either have children or work with children. The rest seem so weird. They go all glazy eyes when I start gushing about Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Judy Moody, Pterodactyls, Spore or Junie B Jones. Wonder why?!

Well I guess that is it! The wiring in the brain has been changed. It is hardwired now. BC, I was very proud of being somebody who did not cry easily. I even remember trying to impress Amit by saying, “I don’t even remember the last time I cried”. Well come first pregnancy and everything changed forever. Watching corny ads on TV for ACs can get me all teary (he was buying it for his aging mother). Watching children perform on stage has me groping for tissues. Just watching those sparkling faces with their earnest expressions and upturned chins can get me all weepy.

Hearing stories of little children being humiliated, ridiculed, and targeted viciously in schools is the toughest. Speechless I just take to biting my tongue, swallowing, pinching myself ( I have drawn blood at times) to stop myself from breaking down in sessions. It was never like this in BC days.

So I don’t know if pregnancy or motherhood can increase physical and mental performance. I don’t know about you but it has made me more compassionate, more humble, more human…

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