In & Out

Peace and blessings!!

April 13, 2021 not only marked the beginning of Ramadan; but on that day, my son (nicknamed Chotto Bagh or CB for short) had been in the outside world the same number of days he’d spent in my uterus. In mom online circles, this is known as the in/out day.

It feels rather apt that, as I dedicate this Ramadhan to contemplating the resilience of the human body, as granted by God, I am also called to reflect on the 40 weeks and 1 day my body spent growing a whole new being.

Some people call it a miracle, and I can see why: what begins as a (hopefully) fun sexual relation, turns into a whole person, with its own will and desires. But, let’s be real, it’s also a bit of a nightmare! I spent the first 5 months of my pregnancy sick as a dog, catching every cold or flu that walked through my classroom (I was a trainer in the public service). Travelling, which had been a long time career goal, led to chest pain and a 24-hour of hospital tests for fear of a lung embolism. I have no doubt that had it not been for the pandemic and work-from-home orders, I probably would have spent the remaining 4 months just as sick!!

In a way, I was rather lucky to be able to work from home in those last few months: I was able to put my feet up and work in my maternity pyjamas while developing online training material! My husband also worked from home and could cook my meals and clean for me when I simply couldn’t have done the work.

Pregnancy is often romanticized, and I’m sure some folks have found the experience enriching, but I think it’s not too much to acknowledge that it takes a gruelling toll on the body.

I’m not one to care much about my body image, I wear my stretch marks and belly pouch as a badge of honour. Proof that I did not imagine having the weight of the world in my womb.

However, I could do without peeing when I sneeze, or feeling like my hips will dislocate out of their sockets (thank you hormones). I would have lived my life happily without embarking on the roller coaster ride that is post-partum emotions. And despite the epidural, holy fuck was delivery a bitch!!! (I make ZERO apology for the language, the experience warrants it!!!)

I also understand that my experience with both pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood has been fairly privileged. Access to quality single-payer healthcare, employer-paid maternity leave, a supportive partner, and a relatively « easy » pregnancy and delivery is not a given. More than 300,000 women die during childbirth each year. While that’s a relatively low number on a global scale, I am still very aware that I am amongst the lucky one.

So what does it mean for me to have been through this? I can’t tell you I recommend it; it was not a pleasant experience for me. But I’m also not discouraging anyone as I will probably go through it all again some day with no regrets.

Overall, all I can say is Allhamdullilah [Thanks to God] for giving me the strength, support, and privileges to make it through the other side where I can hold my baby in my arms.

Happy in/out day CB, and I wish you peace and blessings always!

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