Millennial Amma’s Five Beauties of “Ammahood”
By Rumki Chowdhury
I had initially considered titling this blog post, “Millennial Amma’s Five Advantages of ‘Ammahood,’” or “Millennial Amma’s Five Positives of ‘Ammahood.’” But then, I took a step back and winced at those titles. What is “Ammahood,” a.k.a. motherhood, really? Well, it’s definitely not a job application or a treatment option for an illness, so I replaced the words “advantages” and “positives” with “beauties” because Ammahood is beautiful. It is also deep and complex, but let’s keep it simple for now.
Beauty of Ammahood 1: Birth
We carry a living being within us for nine months, some more or less depending on our circumstances, a difficult and burdensome stage in our lives nonetheless. Pregnancy affects us emotionally, psychologically and physically. Sometimes, this follows us into postpartum. It’s only natural that this happens, but the one thing we cannot deny is the sensation an Amma feels as she holds her baby for the first time. Almost immediately, we begin to analyze the baby’s facial features, the amount of hair he or she has on the head; we may even count the fingers and toes. And then, other thoughts overwhelm us; thoughts about name possibilities, thoughts about how miraculous the moment is; some of us even wonder how we are going to nurture this baby, protect this baby from the mercilessness of this world he or she has come into. And in all of this bewilderment, all of this contemplation, while gently holding the baby in our arms, we just think to ourselves, “This is my baby…this is my baby.”
Beauty of Ammahood 2: Sweet Slumber
A common struggle for Amma and her newborn is sleep deprivation. Amma and her newborn are still figuring out a routine in their newly intertwined lives together. This is common. My firstborn slept well throughout the night, but my second and third barely slept at night time. I tried everything from the warm baths to feeding right before bed. It did not work for me and although things are much better than they used to be, I currently have a two-year-old who still wakes me up two to three times a night asking for a milk bottle, a diaper change and/or screaming from a nightmare. Her father wants to help, but she, for some reason, is an “Amma’s girl.” As a working mother, I do not get enough sleep, but here’s the thing: in all of this frustration with my own lack of sleep and then, having to wake up early for work, I feel at peace. That’s because when my baby finally does sleep, I spend some time just watching her, wondering about how God had chosen me to be her Amma, how God had brought this bundle of giggles into my life and how grateful I am for her. I just watch…wonder…and smile. And then, my thoughts carry me off into dreamland.
Beauty of Ammahood 3: The Little Steps and the Milestones
Every time I had a newborn, it was all brand new to me again. I had to relearn a lot of things. However, the most exciting part about it was watching my babies grow. I remember the first time my baby made a noise when she laughed, the first word my baby spoke and the first steps my baby took. Watching my baby grow is just phenomenal and it’s these moments, small and big that make Ammahood so beautiful. My kids also say the darndest things that just make me laugh.
Beauty of Ammahood 4: Maturity
I have a 10-year-old. Watching her grow is a lot different than watching my toddler grow. I can really talk to my 10-year-old now, about things. And she wants to open up to me about things. At the same time, she likes me to respect her privacy. The best part is that she is still not yet embarrassed by me, even considering the fact that I teach at the same school as she attends. She wants me to attend her gymnastics classes and she loves going out shopping and visiting cafes with me. The time for embarrassment will come…eventually, but for the moment, I am enjoying this beauty of Ammahood.
Beauty of Ammahood 5: Questions
Growing kids will ask Amma many questions; some questions are more difficult than others and they vary based on the age of the children. Most of the questions will be challenged with, “Why!” Because frankly-speaking, Amma giving the children “the eye” or saying, “Because I said so” is not enough for children anymore. They want to know a logical, reasonable explanation behind our requests, to put it nicely. And the beauty behind it all is that we, ourselves, grow in the process.