• Friday, Aug 14, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:46 am

Of Meghan and mothers

  • Published at 06:02 pm May 12th, 2019
Chintamoni_May 11, 2019_Pg 4 (1)
Photo: Courtesy

Princely chinta

I am a fan of Prince Harry, and I applaud him for saying that he was “incredibly proud” of his wife, and “How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension”, when he announced the birth of Baby Sussex.

Since royal and regal  (FYI, we have yet to use ‘imperial’ and ‘majestic’ as social media comments) are rather sought after attributes here, I am hoping that noble fathers and families will take their cue from the happy Prince (pun) and begin to appreciate what a new mother has to endure. 

The pressure to conceive begins immediately after marriage; prior to that there is the pressure to marry; prior to that there is the pressure to maintain or acquire certain ideals to be an eligible candidate for a grand alliance; prior to that there is the pressure to develop in a particular way in order to be on the right path to becoming a ‘good girl’ or one whose potential ‘bhalo bou aar maa’ virtues are universally feted; prior to that there is the pressure to be or become forsha; and when in the womb there is the pressure to be delivered as a boy.

There is one train of thought that espouses that matrimony is essential to the self- worth of the female, and women attain respectability and status through marriage and subsequent childbirth. If it were so simple! Acquiring the status of Mrs or Maa is not necessarily accompanied with maternal autonomy, or a (to be or not to be) mother’s power to make independent decisions using her own experiences, education, reasoning and instinct. 

If one is ‘blessed’ enough to conceive, it can sometimes be in the guise of ‘shorir kharap’ until the first trimester is over, and the gestation is more secure or apparent. And throughout the pregnancy the baby carrier or the (to be) mother is told what food to eat, what to avoid, how to rest and exercise, where to go and not to, and sometimes for superstitious reasons, whom and where all not to discuss birthing issues with.

All this for the delivery of a healthy baby for the husband’s khushi, and therein lies her shukh.

Once the baby is born, she is very lucky if she resembles the father; and in the case of a boy, his mother is very lucky. Baby’s name? Often enough the murubbis are deeply offended if they are not consulted. 

After birth, there is the deluge of advice on merits of breastfeeding versus demerits of the formula, accompanied with particular stress on the best nutrition for lactating mothers in order that the baby remains in optimum health, and not to mention the continuous stream of instructions on other natal and marital issues because clearly it is best to bombard new mums during recovery from a C-section or periods of intense sleep deprivation, muscular pain and bleeding. 

So yes, thank you Harry for articulating the emotional and physical challenges that first -  time mothers face day in and day out, and sometimes without respite. Though we live in a culture that offers various networks of support for pregnant women and those with newborns, it rarely allows them full ownership of their unique experience or of the baby. 

I too wonder how women cope with perhaps the most significant change in their lives, as they negotiate their journey through relentless unsolicited advice, harsh criticism, interference, and insensitivity and apathy to  their emotional well - being. 

Chintamoni grew up in Dhaka, where she will always belong, but never quite fit in. She is an enthusiastic traveller, a compulsive procrastinator, and a contumelious raconteur.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail