#TravelDiaries: A Day Out In New York Made Me Realise That My Baby Loves Travelling!

My baby Avyaan looked at me with anger as I kept him back in his baby stroller. He was enjoying the view of the ever crowded and energetic Times Square in New York city and he didn’t want to sit back in the stroller.

My husband and I were surprised to see how much he was enjoying the street acts and the shiny lights on the buildings.

He clapped when everyone clapped and screamed when everyone screamed to applaud the people performing on the street, as if he understood everything.

He was looking at everything with such great curiosity and innocence. I think he felt like he was in another world as it was the first time in his life he was experiencing something like this – so many lights, loud music & a huge crowd full of energy.

It was a wonderful evening. After reaching US, it was the first time that we had actually stepped out to explore a new city. What added to our excitement and happiness was the fact that our baby, who had been our main cause of concern throughout the journey, was also enjoying with us.

We felt at ease and happy. Whatever guilt we had for making the baby travel so far and the constant worry about whether he was comfortable or not, disappeared when we saw him happily enjoying with us. He was laughing, making faces, insisting on walking on the street. In short, he was being himself and we loved it.

We were walking past Times Square, just looking at the things around us and our son was busy giving flying kisses to everyone who crossed him. People on the street responded the same way and he got so much love from unknown people in an unknown country.

As we were walking, he pointed at an ice cream stall nearby and insisted we went there. He is just 1 year old and in no way he understands what an ice-cream tastes like (at least that’s what we feel) but may be the cartoon lights on the stall attracted him.

Though he couldn’t have any ice cream but he enjoyed the closer look of the cartoon lights on the stall while me and my husband enjoyed some icecream together.

After enjoying for an hour and a half on New York’s most crowded street, he yawned, signaling that he was sleepy. We started walking towards our pre-decided restaurant for dinner as it was already time, while Avyaan sipped his warm milk and peacefully slept in his stroller cuddled up in his warm blanket with dreams of this wonderful day we had in this beautiful city.    

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#MommyTales : First 40 Days Post Delivery

I could hear everyone laughing and having a good time at the dining table. After a long time, Daal Baati was prepared by my mother-in-law.

I was really eager to be a part of the family laughter and enjoy one of my favourite dishes cooked by her. It had been 20 days since I delivered my first child – a healthy baby boy. But, currently I was in the period where any enjoyment, be it eating good food or coming out of the room and sitting with everyone, for the first 40 days is considered bad for the health of the mother as well as the baby.

I was feeling just fine – my stitches weren’t paining anymore, I was comfortable with the feeding process and my recovery was well on schedule.

Though as a norm, I had to be in my room. Even though I was happy that I had a baby now and wanted to enjoy every moment with him, but at the same time I wanted some ME time.

I wanted to get out of the room and breathe in some fresh air.

I wanted to eat something different, something delicious as I was tired of eating the same khichdi and daliya.

And then after a few days I realized that I was just getting sadder.

I was cribbing about everything.

I didn’t like this phase.

I hated everyone for treating me this way.

I tried to explain to my mother-in-law and the other elders of the family that I was doing well and there wasn’t a need for such restrictions anymore. Even my doctor had asked me to start eating whatever I wanted and lead a normal life. But the elders never heeded to what I was saying.

I overheard someone saying “Ajkal ki ladkiyo ko do din ghar me baithna pade to pareshaan ho jati hain. Maa bananna itna aasaan nahi hai ab samajh aayega.” (These days girls can’t stay at home for even two days. It’s not easy to be a mother. She will understand now.)

For them, the more you sacrifice the better mother you are.

No, I am not complaining about my mother-in-law. She loves me a lot. She is a wonderful lady and was only treating me the same way as she would have treated her own daughter – bound by old thoughts and traditions.

Even my husband didn’t understand what I was trying to say. He joked away saying you must be the only one who is complaining for being asked to do nothing and rest.

I was eagerly waiting for these 40 days to get over but they seemed to stretch on forever.

The air in my room had become stale and every breath reminded me of it.

I was bored of constantly looking at the baby but never had the guts to say this to anyone. If I had, they would have labelled me as the worst mother who was bored of her baby in the first month itself.

Even though I had always heard of this phase, I never thought this will take such a toll on me.

Suddenly, I felt I had no value and no one understood me and my needs.

I think these restrictions and everyone’s expectations from me made me feel lonely and started pushing me into depression.

I completely agree that a new mother should take complete rest and eat healthy food but that is for keeping her physically healthy.

What about her mental health? My 40 days are about to get over soon and I know I will lead a normal life after that but a few questions are still bothering me:

When every mother is different, every mother takes different spans of time to recover, some might have a few complications and hardships while others may have a smooth delivery and post-partum period then why everyone is treated the same way?

Why still the age old practices are given more importance than the doctor’s advice?

Why sacrifice is considered a pre-requisite for being a good mother?

Why can a mother not decide the time period she wants to rest based on her conditions?

Why is a mother asked to resume her duties immediately after 40 days when she is still not physically healed and others are asked to follow restricted 40 days when they are fine much before that?

I am looking forward to know your thoughts… 

Are you a mother who wants to share her experiences with the world? Write to us on criesandcrawls@gmail.com .. 

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#TravelWithBaby – Who Asked You To Travel Alone With Baby When You Can’t Handle Him?

“Do you need any help?” I asked the worried, frustrated, and perplexed mother of a 4-month old who was travelling with me on the same plane from Frankfurt to Mumbai. She looked at me as if I had said something she was longing for.

I was returning from a trip to the USA with my husband and my 1-year old son when I couldn’t help but notice this new mother. She was all alone in the window seat with two strangers sitting next to her. 

I initially thought one of them must be her family member but their ‘PLEASE DO NOT BOTHER US’ attitude towards the helpless mother made me realize that she was travelling alone.

I did not pay much heed to it initially as I was occupied with my own son, who had recently started walking and was too excited to explore the entire plane on his two little feet.

I was with my husband and believe me, it was difficult for even the two of us to handle him. My husband held the hot water thermos while I put the milk powder in his bottle as my baby wailed for his milk, my husband changed his diaper when I somehow managed to hold him still in the extremely small baby room, we made him walk in the plane pathway and tried to make him sleep in our arms turn by turn, as it was too much for one person to handle. It was proving to be a task for both of us. And, here was this lady, stuffed in a small seat, trying to handle her crying baby alone.

She tried to feed the baby but he just would not eat and kept crying. She also tried giving him bottled milk but he ended up vomiting. That brave woman somehow calmed the baby, cleaned the mess the best she could. Because she could hardly move in that little space, she had to constantly take baby to pathway so that she could swing the baby in her arms and make him sleep. And everytime, she had to cross two sets of legs, somehow fitted in the not so leg–room friendly economy class, and endure the frustrated looks of her co-passengers.

After all the failed attempts to calm the baby down, she somehow covered herself and tried breast-feeding him and by God’s grace, the baby calmed down. Breast-feeding was another challenge in such limited space, when the baby was comfortable in a position, her elbow poked the person next to her and the moment she moved a little, the baby cried with all his might and she had to again make him latch, which was again a big task. It was all so difficult to look at

I was looking at her with all my sympathy and my husband kept telling me not to stare at her as she might get offended but I couldn’t control myself.

It was an 8 hour long flight and every minute was a challenge for her. She couldn’t eat or drink properly. Every time she had to take out something from the cabin she had to keep the baby in the bassinet and do it herself. Let me add that the baby just didn’t like being in the bassinet and was so uncomfortable. Going to the washroom was a challenge, as she had no one to leave baby with. I asked her to leave the baby with me and go, if she needed to, and she happily gave in. I’m sure that her primary worry was bothering and disturbing people around her rather than her distressed baby. As for me, the mere thought of travelling alone with my baby petrified me looking at this woman struggle.

I counted my blessings and thanked God that my husband was with me through all this. I just wanted the flight to get over soon as my son was getting restless now, but more than that, I wanted that mother to be relieved from this constant pressure and stress.

It was such a relief to see the mother and the baby leave plane safely and I felt happy as even I had become a small part of their journey.

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