Osho once said, “The moment a child is born, a mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is someone absolutely new.” So just like a baby grows, acquires new skills and learns at every stage, a mother too learns the art of parenting slowly along the way. It doesn’t happen overnight. There is no push button, there is no switch that turns on automatically and makes her a mom who knows ‘everything’ about parenting. It all happens gradually. We moms are always placed at a pedestal, where we are expected to know it all. A mom should have all the answers as to why the baby is crying or why he isn’t well. And if she doesn’t know, she herself feels guilty. Is that fair? After all, she is just a human and not a God!
I remember the time when I gave birth to my twins, I was totally clueless on how to hold them, how to make them latch, how to change the diaper, etc. I knew nothing! And at that time it all felt so weird because we women have always been conditioned to think that the moment you become a mom, you know it all. It all comes naturally and you don’t need any training. How true is that? Frankly, the only thing that came naturally to me at that time was the motherly feeling/love, but beyond that I knew nothing. And I took a good number of days to learn how to dress my babies, how to make them burp or put them to sleep, etc. And this learning continues as the kids grows. Even now when my kids are 3 years old, I find myself not knowing many things and learning something new each day – be it a new trick on how to make them finish their meal or how to toilet train. I admit #MujheSabNahiPata and I am still learning everyday.
To share a personal episode, a few months back one of my kids developed a viral fever. He is aversive to medicines and usually pukes whenever I give him some. I normally resort to other methods like sponging and home remedies when he doesn’t take meds and they usually work. But this time they didn’t. And within a span of half an hour, his fever rose to 104 and resulted in an episode of febrile seizure. When I rushed him to an emergency, the first thing the doctor asked me was why didnt I give him the medicine again, after he puked once and I had no answer. I was devastated and guilt-struck. I had no idea about febrile seizures and couldn’t imagine something like this happening to my kid (especially because there is no family history). I cursed myself for being so casual and so ignorant. It took me a lot of days to come out of this guilt and to confess that #MujheSabNahiPata. After all, it’s tough for everyone to believe that a mom can go wrong too.
Let’s accept it! The unfair societal conditioning and the expectations placed on a mom is the main cause why many moms always blame self when anything goes wrong with the child (be it a small cold or cough). And so it takes a great deal of courage for any mom to confess #MujheSabNahiPata and to share her story with others.
Recently I attended a bloggers’ meet initiated by All Out that focused on supporting tough moms who admit #MujheSabNahiPata. The event brought together a group of moms under one roof to make them feel empowered. The main agenda of the event was to celebrate tough moms and bring it to light that no mom is alone in her journey and no mom knows-it-all. We all learn through experience.
The event hosted an eminent panel that included the gorgeous actor and author Sonali Bendre; Ruchita Shah, founder of FMC community; renowned pediatrician Dr Samir Dalwai and child psychologist Dr Rupal Patel. It was an interactive session that brought to light the constant pressures women face of having to know it all when it comes to their child’s health and well-being llbeing and how that constantly adds to their stress.
Both Sonali and Ruchita shared their personal experiences to convey that motherhood is not always the rosy and ideal picture that the world paints it to be and a mom isn’t a genius who knows from day one, as to what is happening or can happen to her child. Through their personal anecdotes and stories they shared the constant struggle the moms go through to raise a happy, healthy and socially responsible child.
The discussion also stressed on a very pertinent point – that while most mothers try to combat the bigger issues pertaining to their child’s health, they often miss out on basic signs and the threat a small creature like a mosquito can cause to a child in the form of dengue. Dr. Dalwai shed light on the often-missed symptoms of dengue and shared few tips that mothers can follow to stay more vigilant and guarded from dengue. Talking in detail about the disease, he also bust some myths people have around platelet counts, fluctuating fever and children’s activity levels.
The main highlight of the event was the heartwarming brand film video which resonated with all moms present in the audience. It tells the story of Kirti with which we could relate well as we all have been there at some point in time. Her story reassures many mothers that they are not alone in their journey and also inspires them to let go off their inhibitions and share more so that we can learn from each other and grow as a parent.
The event ended on quite a positive note where all the moms present in the room took a pledge by tying a knot to their attires to always share their #MujheSabNahiPata stories and help each other with their experiences. Frankly, by the end of the entire discussion I felt enlightened and empowered. Hearing the stories of so many moms, I realised I was too harsh on myself during the entire episode of my son’s febrile seizure. Instead of grieving in guilt, it’s important for all moms to come out in open, accept, discuss and share #MujheSabNahiPata without feeling guilty.
I would like to call out all the mothers to tie a knot in their attires to share their experiences in the comments section. After all parenting is a collective effort and there is so much to learn from each other’s experiences.
Disclaimer: This post is a part of #MujheSabNahiPata Campaign in collaboration with All Out India. The views and opinions expressed in the post are of the author alone.