When I had held my baby for the first time in my hands, I had visualized one day she would be crawling, then walking then running. I knew time would fly and one day she wouldn’t be so little anymore! But I didn’t know in every step of her growing up I would be facing so much of tension, apprehension and most important of all, pressure.
When I came back home with my little one, everyone was delighted to see her. She was the apple of everyone’s eye back at home. But with my own body healing, initial days were not easy for me. Sleepless nights, no or little rest, getting up multiple times, struggling with breastfeeding! I felt that this was the most difficult phase and soon things would become smoother. Many friends also told me that once your baby is 6 months old, things will become easier, she will sleep longer, nappy changes will become fewer and you will get sufficient rest. Believing them, I had started counting my days, little knowing the newer challenges that were awaiting me.
Soon my baby turned 6 months old and as told by my friends she was actually sleeping longer and nappy changes were also fewer. But this happiness only lasted for a few days! It was time for me to start solids for her and it was not easy at all. Initially she would spit out everything, be it daal ka pani, mashed rice, veggies and so on. There came a stage when I felt my baby would only grow up on milk. But with continuous perseverance and efforts, she finally started taking a little solid at a time.
One day I went to a friends place for a small get together and there were other mommies there too. Topic on introducing solids came up and then when I shared with them my baby’s reluctance to solids, suddenly I started getting so many looks of sympathy! Many said, ‘oh, that’s bad, my baby started taking solids from the day he turned 6 months and i never faced a problem’. Another mom said ‘ your baby will lack the necessary nutrients and weight will always be an issue”! By the time the party got over, I felt as if my daughter was appearing for her boards and I was a really bad mommy!
But this was just the beginning! This way of comparing, giving examples for every single thing, continued. Sometimes amongst friends, sometimes neighbours and sometime relatives. I always felt that I was on a race track running with all other mothers, who were smarter than me and their kids, who were all superkids.
Luckily my baby started crawling on time and advises went down a little bit. But not for long. My baby’s first bday was there and we had decided to hold a grand party. Just days before her first birthday she had a vaccination due. After the vaccination was done, we realised something had gone wrong, because of which she developed a red swelling on her leg. By that time my baby was holding things and walking but had not taken footsteps on her own. Now due to swelling in her legs, she even refused to stand. The doctor said this would take around a month to subside and we had to apply medication daily. Also he advised us not to put any stress on her leg and prevent her from standing as much as possible.
So when her birthday came in a few days time, I decided to take her to the venue in a pram. I had dressed her up in a pretty dress and could feel her enjoying every moment of her very first bday. All the guests started coming one by one and soon enough, the party began full scale. But then suddenly someone told me, “ why she is on the pram? She is 1 year old now. Put her down and let her walk!” I politely replied “ she has not started walking yet”. I could feel pairs of eyes staring at me. Some in doubt, some in sympathy and some in curiosity. The lady who had asked the question, replied, “she is one year old and not walking? My daughter had started walking when she was 10 months old”! But surprisingly this time her statement didn’t bother me. I realised there was no end to this. I didn’t bother to tell them about the vaccination incident. Why should I? I required to give no one any justification for my baby’s milestones. I also felt sorry for the numerous moms who unknowingly had to face so much pressure for everything that their child would not do on time. It made no difference to me whether my child walked at 12 months or 15 months. What mattered is that she should be a happy and a healthy baby.
That day taught me a very important lesson. I realised there was no end to expectations, comparison and rat race. It’s totally up to you, whether you should let such things affect yourself or your child. I personally decided to stay out of it. I wanted a happy child who would achieve her milestones when she wanted to. Not one who had to be forced into something just because someone else had done it or was doing it. I would also suggest all moms out there, let children grow the way they are growing There is no end to expectations or competitions. But children only have one childhood, let them be children and enjoy their childhood the way, they would want to. Milestones are important, but your doctor would be knowing better. Also for every child, every milestone can’t be the same. So enjoy your precious moments.
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