Keeping Mum

Written By

Rashmi Deb

Lifestyle.Being me.Mummyhood.11.12.2015-04 Loading

Six years into our marriage, my relatives (including the not-so-related types) had stopped asking whether my husband and I had any ‘good news’ to share. We had — we’d bought a car, our first house together with our hard earned money, but somehow this news wasn’t considered ‘goodenough!

Approaching 30, I stopped to finally think about having children. My husband, rather patiently, had agreed to wait till I thought the time was right. I was content; with a job I loved, with the man I loved but suddenly I felt ready for more. How difficult could it be? I had managed important projects at work — this was only a baby. I could embrace this new chapter in our lives, I would turn into a domestic goddess, a yummy mummy, all rolled into one!

Soon I was pregnant; the future was rosy. “This is easy,” I thought, “I’m going to ace this! I’ll glow, I’ll be Keats’ Ode to Autumn!” There’s even a picture of me in the sunshine smiling blissfully with a protective hand on my non-existent bump…aaha. And then the bubble burst.

I started throwing up, everywhere, all day long (lasting for all of the next nine months). Forget glowing, I shrivelled like a dry fruit. Keeping mum, (crap pun) for the initial months proved impossible. I kept running off in the middle of conversations, meetings, with my hands clamped firmly on my mouth. Verrrrrry filmi. I would have given any Bollywood heroine a run for her money trying to unsuccessfully hide her ‘paap ki nishaani’. Someone blamed the Scotch eggs (Anglican brother of Devilled eggs) that we’d had at work. Exhausted I hissed, ”I’m pregnant!” Everyone cheered. “We knew it,” some exclaimed. Scotch eggs were back on the menu. I had managed to be discreet for all of two weeks.

The next nine months whizzed by amidst continuous sickness, nauseating smells, box sets of Ally McBeal and pregnancy books…loads of books. At the end of it, I knew all about labour, childbirth and all that there was worth knowing about babies. I was going to do this naturally, without painkillers, effortlessly and gracefully. The pregnancy hadn’t been much fun but I was fit, quite sporty, I was going to pop this baby out!

My son arrived in every way other than what I had in mind. Forget childbirth being a spiritual, emotional, bonding experience; it seemed like something out of the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, complete with bloodcurdling screams. I had ten hours of back labour. For the lay(wo)man, that’s experiencing the most unimaginably f****** horrific pain where you start making pacts with Satan. Finally, after an emergency c-section (with complications), after the ten hours of labour, with every modicum of my dignity discarded (not that I cared anymore), Roshan arrived. Holding the little bundle I was overcome with love and relief but also a huge sense of inadequacy. Back home, I was in no mood to listen to my well-meaning husband, mother, aunts, friends, strangers, the cat next door… This whole baby business had not gone to plan.

The pregnancy books had been useless — nothing had prepared me for being a mother, and for the first time in my life I felt out of my depth. As I desperately searched for some instincts to surface, for easy answers; motherhood had pounced on me.

It was here whether I was ready or not.




Rashmi Deb, 35, lives in Norwich UK with her husband and two children, Roshan (5) and Jasmine (2). She is employed 24/7 by her children with no pay whatsoever and dreams of a day when the children will reward her with at least six grandchildren.

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