Yesterday I got the news that my niece had her baby; a little girl who looks absolutely adorable; who even manages a wide eyed smile for the camera within a few hours of birth. This is my niece’s second baby and I know that she and her husband were desperate for a little girl. I can imagine how thrilled they must be.
I often wonder what it is that makes us mothers go in for a second child. The first time, ok, we don’t exactly know what this labor pain is all about, not first hand anyway. But the second time round, would anybody in their right minds submit themselves to that kind of torture willingly? I am sure every soon-to-be mother in the throes of a contraction must have had this thought running through her mind at least once,” Oh, my God. This is it. I am NOT going to have another baby!” And the same woman would be right there again in a couple of years or so.
What exactly is it that makes a mother go through it again. Not just the labor pain. That is sometimes bearable compared to the horrible morning sickness some of us have to endure. Unlike labor pain, morning sickness is not something that would go away in a matter of hours.
And did I say ‘morning sickness? The worst misnomer in human history if you ask me! I am sure some guy who had absolutely no idea what he was talking about came up with that term. Morning sickness indeed! It was a twenty-four hour sickness in my case. I was puking away to glory for 5 months or so during my second pregnancy, feeling absolutely rotten, until one fine day, I suddenly got a whiff of Pears soap from somewhere. I don’t know how, but it worked like magic.
My first baby, her smell, what it felt like to hold her in my arms for the first time, the strength of her tiny hand curling around my finger, giving her her first bath by myself, everything came flooding back to me. A sort of indescribable calm descended on me. Of course, the nausea didn’t stop till after a couple of weeks more, but I was in a better frame of mind, I was ready to face all the morning sickness in the world. That smell reminded me of why I was going through it all. It gave me strength and comfort. Of course, I had no such experience to fall back upon during my first pregnancy, so it was pretty much awful till I stopped puking in my 5th month.
It is probably a trick of Nature, to make you forget the pain, the moment you hold the baby in your arms. You have absolutely no recollection of the acuteness of the pain but for a vague memory, until you go through it again. Maybe it is all part of Nature’s plan to proliferate, a throwback to prehistoric times when human survival rates were at their lowest. You had to keep them coming, and what better way than a simple ‘obliviator charm’?
However that theory just takes away the magic of motherhood. So I do not accept it. Also, if it were true, like the human appendix which has shrunk thanks to it non use, evolution should have taken care of that temporary amnesia too, in this day and age when the rates of human survival are at an all time high. In fact Mother Nature should actually intensify the memory of that pain if she has to get some kind of grip on the exploding population.
So I still believe it is the Magic of Motherhood, which is at work here and not some long forgotten human gene. And on that note I sigh off, promising you more about the Magic of Motherhood in my next installment.