Our little Anika, arrived on 24th January 2016.
As soon as her head popped out in the delivery chamber, her cries overpowered the music that the doctor had played in the OT. Within seconds I could see the little blue-grey baby being handed over to Aditya. He looked so dazed and amazed, marveling at our creation. Amidst the rush of the doctors, nurses, scissors, knives, gauges, he shared a moment, just him and the lil' one, admiring the innocence and beauty he held carefully, very carefully, now and for life.
Post a flurry of activity that pursued, there was a little crying baby held close to me. I had for some reason been doubting the emergence of maternal instincts in me. Maybe it was the lack of desire to go "awwwww" at every baby I met, or the times when I was on the flight and was relieved when the crying baby fell asleep. Whatever be it, I didn't expect what was coming next. The little one held close to me, the little face peeping out of the swaddle with her closed eyes, crying overwhelmed by the activity and change that her little world was undergoing, I felt aggressively protective. I felt an immediate connect. I'm sure the 9 months her life took shape within me, had something to do with it. Her current helplessness, her need for us, her potential, all took over me to realize the immense responsibility we had taken upon ourselves. It was my responsibility, our responsibility as parents, to help her embrace this life, appreciate its beauty, explore its wonders, cease its opportunities, face its challenges and guide her through it. While the magnitude of it was intimidating, the fear was overtaken by the excitement and thrill of the challenging unknown, and, the immense love and care for the new member of our lives.
Once back home, all that we had been planning for since the last few months, all the purchases, preparations, learnings were now to be put to use. Obviously, we soon realized, you can never be fully prepared. Every day springs a new surprise. Just when you settle into a schedule it changes. Just when you thought you had gotten a hang of things things start to go downhill. Both Anika and we explored the new world with amazement. She touches, she observes intently, her mind whirring with new realizations and discoveries and we learn slowly by observing her. I am occasionally left wondering about what she thinks...everything's so new, so unknown. It's a clean sheet which is slowly being imprinted. The first chapter of a new story is unfolding. The first steps of a new journey being taken. So much activity around her, nappy changes, washing loads, feeding, crying, cleaning, random hours....enough to push you over the edge...but then she smiles....and all is forgotten. And you are left basking in the warmth of unconditional love and joys of parenthood.