• profile Priya Belliappa,
  • February 13, 2018 | 10:37 am

Two blue lines that made us Three

A blog about the truths about Pregnancy and Childbirth

2010 – got married.
2015 – first child.
2017 – want another child.

From the 2 blue lines to the cutting of the cord – it was a rollercoaster ride of ups, downs and many throw-ups. I loved the ride. I hated the ride.

Through our pregnancy whilst enjoying the sensation of something beyond our comprehension, we were very aware of how much it took to let the miracle manifest.

Let me be clear here – mine was in no way a difficult pregnancy. I had it easy with only 3 months of nausea and the luxury of being able to work until the delivery. People very close to me have all had it really really bad. My cousin had to be hospitalized for two weeks because she just couldn’t eat anything and she was totally dehydrated. She had nausea and was throwing up right up to the final month. My sister was also under intravenous (IV) rehydration for the same reason. In layman’s terms – it’s like having a hangover for 9 months! These are just some common problems faced during pregnancy – the others are headaches and indigestion, bladder and bowel problems, changes in skin, backache, vaginal discharge, and fatigue to name a few.

My first film “Ring Road” released 1 month after I delivered. I was surprised when everyone was asking me about my well-being and I was like – I am yet to walk and sit normally and they were like – but you had a normal delivery right?

Yes, the delivery was ‘normal’. Yes, I could walk immediately after the delivery. Yes, it is one of the most natural things to happen. But, No, I was neither normal nor ok.

My water broke at night and I was induced the next day because I was not dilating. Labour lasted 4 hours. The excruciating pain was for the last hour. The breathing techniques, the Lamaze instructions all that disappeared. Push, don’t push, crowning, the heads out etc – all a blur. But I do remember that final push when ‘plop’ my daughter slipped out of my vagina – the relief was incomparable. I was ready to take on the world. Little did I realize that the most painful part was about to begin. My doctor Dr. Prakash Kini and his assistant started to stitch me up. It was the only time I screamed.

Did you know that you bleed for more than a month every day after you deliver? This bleeding is much more than the usual period bleeding – you need special pads that are extra absorbent. It makes it difficult for your vaginal wounds (perineal tearing or episiotomy) to heal because it never has the chance to be dry. You can’t sit, you can’t stand, you can’t sleep. And, while your body is going through all this you still have to care for your little one who is totally clueless about the circumstances and needs you for survival. Sleep is not the only luxury you will miss.

Beyond this, there is often the problem of breastfeeding. I was lucky that my little one latched on immediately and didn’t stop sucking the entire night. But, there are many who have latching problems, baby refusing the breast problems, baby weight gain problems, baby crying all the time problems, colic baby problems and the list is endless.

These are just the physical issues. There are also a host of psychological problems that one may have to deal with after childbirth like postpartum depression (affects around 15% of women and 1% to 26% men). Postpartum psychosis though 1 in 1000 pregnancies – is something we must still address. These issues, unlike the physical, need to be treated with the utmost care. The postnatal or postpartum period is described by WHO as the most neglected and most critical.

I think that all this and more information regarding childbirth: the risks, the pain, the complications – have all been subdued, suppressed and glazed over with the glitter. Knowingly or unknowingly, only the rosy narrative regarding childbirth and the miracle of the body and the baby are always talked about. And, women more so are pressured by this narrative.

Everybody needs to be made aware of the reality of it. I just want conversations to grow in this direction and women to know. Motherhood is a choice – and with this choice of great responsibility comes great pain and the greatest test of strength and endurance.

We have always wanted a larger than small and smaller than large family – definitely 2 and if we have the emotional and physical strength – then 3.

At the same time, both of us are sure that we do not want to go through the ordeal of another pregnancy, delivery and the postnatal period. It’s easy to forget all of the pain the moment the little bundle smiles and your heart is a puppet on strings.

The journey of pregnancy and birthing is one that I will always cherish. But, I will not forget the pain that we endured.

I don’t want to go through it again. I don’t want to constantly feel nauseous. I don’t want to brave the pain of childbirth. I definitely don’t want to experience the postpartum period all over again.

But, we do want another child.

The child doesn’t have to come out of my vagina.

The child will come from our hearts.

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Amritha Ravindranathan

Beautifully written Priya!! My first born girl is now 8 months and having just been through this entire process recently I can totally relate to it. Every experience you refer to is fresh in my memory. And yes, a child, however ‘birthed’ will bring joy and fill your hearts. These little human beings have that astronomical power!!

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