The more things change...

A little over two months ago, I became elevated to the status of a great-grandmother. Even in these days of longevity, this remains rather uncommon, which is perhaps why I was often met with the question, “How does it feel?” “Great,” was my laconic reply, for the question stirred so many memories that it would leave me searching for words. After an introspective look at the past, I would say that it is a journey of love on the wheels of time. What strikes me most is, though a great deal has changed, some things have remained the same.

When I was expecting my first child, I entered the experience with no fear of any kind. I was in my parental home early and quite confident that I would get all the support I needed from my doctor-father and my loving mother. Relatives and friends dropped in frequently with all kinds of delicacies, making each day a small celebration. On the big day though, labour turned out to be long and difficult and the accompanying pain quite out of the ordinary.

Only after the baby was born did I realise that my parents had harboured many fears. Whether the mother and baby would stand up to the ordeal and whether the baby would be healthy, were uppermost on their minds. But after the baby’s birth, all pains and fears vanished with love and joy taking their place.

Soon, I was on my own, tackling all problems with Benjamin Spock’s book as my constant guide. The years sped by turning my baby into a studious girl, intent on specialising in Medicine. She was fortunate enough to secure a place in a well-known institution. Among those she studied with was her future husband. A few years on, she was a mother-to-be.

Unlike me, she could take no holiday as work kept her busy until the last few days before her date. Her baby arrived surrounded by doctors within the four walls of the familiar hospital. When the baby was brought to me, my heart swelled with love and happiness. The passage of years saw this child grow into a poised and confident young lady. Although both her parents are doctors, she chose to study computer science, which took her to Boston and brought her in touch with a young man who shared her interests.

Parenthood was not an immediate choice, but when it happened, it had them ecstatic. They read up all the literature on the subject and the event took place in a hospital that had all the latest equipment. She went in only after labour had set in and was given drugs to minimise the pain. Her husband was with her all through and both the mother and father were made to cuddle the baby in order to facilitate bonding.

I was left marvelling at the many changes that had come over the process of childbirth – less fuss, less pain, less fears. But one thing has remained a constant – the relief and love that a new-born kindles!

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The more things change...

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