Sunita Ram shares her
thoughts on becoming a parent, and on the joys, responsibilities, hard
work and vulnerabilities that follow.
It is wonderful to be a parent. Often, we take our parent status for granted.
Young couples are often so engrossed in their own tiny world, oblivious to other realities. They revel in their newly found joy of discovering a life conceived by them. Numerous dreams are weaved, ambitions formed imagining the future. Projected images of family albums and outings float about. There is a sense of eager anticipation of the good times to follow.
A positive feeling or a sense of enhanced well-being is quite natural. However, the picture is not entirely complete, or realistic. Viewing parenting as all fun and enjoyment is just one part of the story. Being a parent involves lot of effort, adjustment and commitment. If we neglect to consider that aspect, we are in for one tough ride!
If we look at it, the decision to bring another life into this world is by itself very momentous. In some cases a baby is planned, although, in many cases it is unplanned. Often, the decision to have a baby is taken because people around expect the couple to do so or it is the next thing to follow or even, so as to have a companion for the older child.
Yes, the choice is ours but such an important and potent one! The decision needs to be based on a very clear understanding of what it means to be a parent, what it means to create a new life. We need to ask ourselves: are we ready for letting another life into our world, our space? Are we prepared or equipped enough to take care of another being? Do we understand and accept the changes (physical, mental, social, financial etc.) that are likely to follow? In other words, one has to be thoroughly aware of the responsibilities accompanying the thrill of parenting.
The very decision to have a baby thus requires to be a conscious, well thought of and planned one. One should want a baby for the baby sake, all other aspects are secondary. Every baby conceived and born is an unique individual by him/herself. We need to recognize and respect that.
From the time the baby is born, it represents a distinct bundle of needs, wants, desires, etc. He or she has unique thought patterns or thinking styles. As the baby grows into a toddler, a toddler into pre-schooler, a pre-schooler into a middle and then a high schooler, and college-goer and finally beyond, a parent's role and responsibility also grows by leaps and bounds. At times a parent is a care giver, at times a teacher or a guide, still other times simply a friend or companion. Most times, all rolled into one!
From the time a child is born, the responsibilities of being a parent remain. It is a 24/7, 365 days a year job. No matter how old the child becomes, whether the child is near or far, parental responsibilities never cease. Yet, these so-called responsibilities are something we cherish and willingly want to fulfil. It is amazing to note how individuals so used to being self-centered earlier, so surprisingly expand to include the child or children in their realm of existence.
In other words, from the time we make the transition from being a mere person to being a parent, we always think on behalf of and for two (or more). We begin the roller coaster ride, going through the various ups and downs that our child goes through, living his dreams and his anxieties, joys and sorrows.. We realize that we are the primary sources of love, approval, guidance and support. All of us agree that a child adds a wonderful dimension in our life, gives it a beautiful meaning.
Parents experience an unmistakable feeling of pride, deep concern and vulnerability as they watch their child grow. As someone beautifully put it, "Becoming a parent is like having your heart walk outside of you forever."