This is from my archives. I wrote this over three years ago. My take on what being a first-time mom felt like. I hope you enjoy it!!
Around six months back, I had reached the pinnacle of my womanhood. I had finally fulfilled my biological destiny. I had metamorphosed into a Hipmokanlicow.
What’s that? Oh? You thought that I was talking about my entry into that celebrated and renowned global club, “Motherhood Inc.”? Well yes, I am. But didn’t you know that there’s a special name for all its’ newest members? No, no! Not ‘mother’, that’s the generic term. It holds good for all the living, breathing, breeding female of the species. The newest incumbents are called ‘Hipmokanlicows’. We aren’t human. We are a hybrid of all those creatures you see on Animal Planet. We are a special breed altogether. Let me deconstruct us for you.
The ‘hip’ comes from hippopotamus. You do not need to be Einstein to figure this one out. What with all the extra padding that balloons out and attaches itself to us and that ungainly gait that defines us, it is only understandable that we are ‘hip’.
The ‘mo’ from monkey. This stems from the desire to swing from the ceiling fan by a non-existent tail or to hang upside down and make ludicrously ridiculous faces and noises to get our little ones to smile. Once you see those smiles and hear those chuckles of pure joy, you will want to devote your eternity into making your baby give you those heart-melting, toothless, gummy grins of delight. And if that means performing the tricks of a circus monkey, then so be it.
The ‘kan’ comes to us from kangaroo. This is a rather new development. It evolved over the last few decades. This character trait belongs to those of us who use slings to carry our young around. A useful feature, but slightly painful with each kg our young add on. And when they start to thrash about in excitement or anger --- ouch!
The ‘li’ bit is from lioness. This ferocious, innate, beast-like trait is inbuilt in our hormones. We will rip off any predator’s head with unremorseful viciousness if they so much as make our cubs squeak in pain or fear. We are ever watchful, ever protective and if we think that you are going to drop our precious cargo, then it’s hands off! Plain and simple! That includes the baby’s genetic half, a.k.a. the sperm donor, alias hubby.
The ‘cow’ is self-explanatory. A walking, talking food factory. An unconventional looking fridgidaire. The original, ready-to-eat, instant meal. The first few discordant notes of an ear-piercing wail will stir our mammary glands into action. Mother cow. That’s us. By God, we should be worshipped! Gai suchmuch tumhare mata hai!
And there you have us --- Hipmokanlicows. We don’t live on Old McDonald’s farm, nor do we come from a distant planet. We moo, roar, waddle and jump all around you.
I was wondering if I would ever feel like a female form of the human species again so I was comparing notes with some other club members who have passed through the Hipmokanlicow level and transgressed to the next level in the Motherhood hierarchy.
“Oh sweetheart, don’t worry”, my friends tell me with unmasked glee, “the best is yet to be! You’ve got is easy now, you do! The hard parts are in store for you!!” When they talk in rhyme, I worry! Oh, boy do I worry! They, who have all been there and done that, are super-quick to reassure me that I will all too soon morph into a human being once again, But the catch there is that I will have to transmute into the multi-tasking, all knowing supercalifragalisticexpealidocious woman! In other words, my entry into the Supermom level.
I will have to become a linguist so that I can decipher my son’s gurgles and baby talk into a grown-up level of understanding. And while at it, I will have to quickly acquire a PhD in everything so that I can answer his never-ending and relentless “Whys” and How comes” with a reasonable modicum of intelligence.
I will have to acquire the speed and agility of an Olympic level athlete if I am to race across the room, sprinting over toys, coffee tables and sofas to reach my son just in the nick of time before he either breaks his little nose or a beloved crystal swan. I’ll also need an athlete’s level of energy and stamina to be able to play 25 different games in the space of an hour.
I will have to gain the skills of a nurse to dress those cuts and bruises and at the same time probably become a pharmacist and open my own private drug store. Cough, cold and de-worming medicines for my germ magnet and stress relievers and headache tablets for me.
I must obtain the secrets of a master chef and learn how to transform ‘icky’, ‘yucky’ and ‘boring’ foods like carrots, spinach, milk and bananas into creations of yummilicious delight so that my son’s food intake meets with his tongue’s approval as well as my concern for his dietary needs. If I do not, I must endure watching the fruits of my labour being regurgitated or flung across the table as if they were hand grenades.
Listening to them, I think I’ll just enjoy my stage for the time being. So while I lumber along, swinging by my imaginary tail, protecting, feeding and carrying my bundle of joy, I tell those who are waiting to be initiated into this most wonderful of clubs, what an enchanting experience it is. After all, it truly is. The side effects and the add-ons they can discover along the way.
In any case, it’s a good looooooong while before I reach the exalted status at the top of the hierarchy. A position from where all I am required to do is dole out armloads of chocolate and oodles of love ---- the story-telling, spoiling and pampering kind. That’s right, the Grandmother level!!
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