*This is a podcast transcript - Regular Moms | Regular Birthing Stories*
Hina : Hi, everyone. This is Hina. Welcome to another episode of Hand That Rocks the Cradle. We continue our series of birthing stories, and I think everyone's birthing story is so unique and so interesting to hear. We get to know about what to expect in labor, delivery and just overall what space you are in mentally. So today we have another special guest. Her name is Shubhra. She is an all rounder. She has two amazing children and she manages them well. She manages her home exceptionally well, and her career is amazing. So welcome to the show, Shubhra. Thank you so much for coming.
Shubhra : Thank you, Hina. I'm glad to be here.
Hina : Great. So, Shubhra, tell us about your two children. How old are they?
Shubhra : Yeah, I have a daughter, the older one, she's ten years old, and I have a son who is six and a half years old.
Hina : That's amazing. And for both your children, were they C section? Was it a normal delivery?
Shubhra : Well, both my kids were normal delivery, so I haven't had a C-section.
Hina : Okay, that's nice. Can you tell us a little bit about your daughter's? When you were pregnant with your daughter, how was that experience like? Which city were you in?
Shubhra : Yeah, so I was in Hyderabad when we had our daughter and because she was the first one, we were very excited and we were equally nervous. So, yeah, that was a different phase of life altogether. And it's still alive. it's been ten years, but it feels as if it was just yesterday that I was expecting my daughter and having her in my arms for the first time.
Hina : Right, a very special moment. So your pregnancy journey, what was that like?
Shubhra : Both my pregnancies were very different, in every aspect, you know, emotionally, physically. The environment around me was very different in both my pregnancies. So my daughter, of course, as I mentioned, it was the first child, so we were very nervous and very, very excited. And we were not sure how we would welcome a third person into our lives. But with every passing day, it blends in very well.
Motherhood and parenthood grows upon you. With my second child, we were not that nervous, because we've been through the journey once, so we were more comfortable. But then my daughter was three when I had my son, so there were other things that I had to take care of. So it was like thinking about a baby that's outside me and one that is inside me. So, yeah, both are very different emotionally and physically
Hina : That's wonderful! And we often hear of for moms getting certain feedback during pregnancy regarding the baby during ultrasounds, et cetera. Was there anything in particular that was a concern for you during your daughters or your son's pregnancies?
Shubhra : Yeah, especially during my daughters. I think all of us get certain feedback. Very, very few lucky ones will have literally an exceptionally perfect pregnancy. I'm yet to come across one, actually.
With my daughter, what did I remember around the 7th or 8th month, the position of the baby that time was not perfect as for the doctor, but then she suggested….the doctor was an experienced one…she suggested we wait and watch and ask me not to work on the laptop too much or maybe sit in a particular posture for too long. I followed whatever she said, and I think it worked because in the next checkup, things got better.
So there will always be those few moments, when you feel extremely nervous about what's happening. We shouldn't ignore the doctor completely, and nor should we take too much pressure or stress out of whatever the situation is. So, yeah, that was one episode I remember.
Hina : You touched such a good point. Stress during pregnancy and stress postpartum. So we'll touch that topic also because I think that is something that resonates with a lot of people. But coming back to your pregnancy and birthing experience, so leading up to your labor and delivery, can you tell us which week your daughter was born and your son was born and how different did you feel labor pains? And how different was it in both the cases?
Shubhra : Yeah, so my daughter, I think, was born on the day I completed 38 weeks exactly. And it was a very natural pain cycle, I just had my dinner, went to sleep, and I started getting very slight pain in my sleep. I was like, semi asleep. And I was not sure because I had obviously not experienced labour pain earlier, so I wasn't sure whether this is what is called labour pain. But then I remember not being able to sleep and getting up every 1 hour. S
Eventually I called the hospital at 1:30 or 2 in the night describing my situation, and the hospital suggested that I wait for another one and a half to monitor the frequency of my pain that was going up and down. So then, yeah, that was it. And then I think around 05:00, the hospital suggested I come and get admitted because as per them, I was already into, pre-labor or labor.
With my son, it was slightly different. With my son, the doctor suggested in the 38th week or 39th week that you know, keeping all my statistics in mind and my child statistics, she would induce labor and that the baby was ready to come out. I was a little apprehensive then because I had not known the process about inducing labor. But then she explained to me, and, I mean, at one point of time, I believe that we should trust to the doctor because she obviously knows more than us. So then it was an induced labor, but then I delivered my son that day naturally itself.
Hina : Okay, so that's interesting. Let's just deep dive a little bit into that experience of yours. What exactly is inducing labor? What did you go through, and what were the steps like?
Shubhra : Actually, it's very simple, and a date is given. And that's what happened with me. The doctor suggested a date, I come and get admitted, and that's what I did. So early in the morning, I just got up, and then I reached the hospital. And then, basically, they do some basic tests and then induce labor in the form of a drip. So then a normal drip, I think they add some special medication in it, and that's how it slowly gets induced.
Hina : How long did it take for you, for the entire labor and delivery, both during your daughter and during your son?
Shubhra : My daughter, I remember I got admitted, I think, around 06:00 in the morning, and I delivered her around, 11:00 in the morning. So it was a short one there. And for my son also, I think I must have been admitted around 7:30 in the morning, and I delivered him around 1:30 in the afternoon.
Hina : Okay, interesting. And so during normal delivery right. I've heard that you can have your partner parent somebody in the room with you. So who was there with you? What was that whole experience of doing the normal delivery like?
Shubhra : Yeah, that's right. I think different hospitals have different rules. But I was very clear during my consultations with my doctor that I wanted my husband to be there because he has been a moral support. And in my first child, the hospital was okay with my husband being there in the room. The second one, they kept insisting that he goes out and then he could come in later. But since my parents are not around it, they were just on their way to you know, they heard the news. They were on their way to the hospital, so I kind of just insisted, and I told my doctor, the main doctor who was there, and she kind of knew my case, so. In both cases, I had my husband in the room.
Hina : Let’s get into the emotional angle. What did you feel the first time you saw your daughter? You saw your son, what did you tell them? What did you tell your spouse? How was that feeling? That whole thing?
Shubhra : It is very surreal, I remember the first time I saw my daughter, the first words that came to my mind, that she's beautiful. And I didn't really exchange any conversations. I didn't have any conversations with my husband. But I remember him saying, thank you. So I think we were fully excited to see her and finally have her in our arms.
There are many months when you actually feel your baby, but you don't know how he or she will look like. It's like holding the prize. At the end of nine months, Yeah. With my son, he was very calm. I think he was sleeping when he came out. So I remember my 1st thought was, oh, my daughter is so naughty. And here's my son looks like he's going to be a quiet one. That didn’t end up being true. But that is how I felt at the time :D.
Hina : That's amazing. What was your family's reaction like when they saw your children?
Shubhra : They were very excited. I think everybody is always excited to see a new baby. And they were all anticipating, waiting for that moment. So very happy moment for everybody.
Hina : Very emotional time. Absolutely. So post Normal delivery, I think, tell us, how do your days post your first baby? Just the hours and the days after that differ in comparison to the hours and the days after your second baby.
Shubhra : Obviously handling the first baby is much easier because I think handling both babies is easy, in different ways. With the first one it's inexperience, but excitement, and with the second one, it's calmness in your mind, but the experience factor is also there.
There's good in both the first child and the second child. Of course, everyday life is very chaotic because handling two babies and mine are three years apart. It's not easy because both have babies. One is just out of toddlerhood, and one is just like not even a lap child. Right. So everyday handling is difficult, for sure. But after a few months struggle, or when the second child actually starts walking around or understanding stuff, then the bond that you see between the two children is very beautiful. And I think most of. US who have two children actually plan siblings because they want companionship quotient to be high in the house.
Hina : …and was that something that you also thought about?
Shubhra : Yes, I remember, you know, I was always a one child kind of a parent, but I remember that when my daughter was around two and a half, something changed in me. I realized that we all live in a very busy life, and we like getting into our own cocoons. So however interactive a parent I would be, I would not be able to give her undivided attention. So around that phase, something changed in me, and I was like, no, I want two children. They should grow up in somebody else's around their age, the companionship things. So, yeah, that's how I planned two children.
Hina : That's amazing. I think that a lot of women are confused between the first child and whether to have the second child and what should be the reasoning behind it. But you articulated it so well that hopefully it resonates with somebody.
Shubhra : I think it's a very personal choice. The first person who should definitely be ready to have a second child is a mother, and then, of course, comes in the father. So I think it's the parents who have to kind of make a choice.
I think the game changer is the mind. So if you're psychologically ready for it, you're ready for it, then I think the financial aspects, the physical aspects, making arrangements or career aspects, everything falls in place. But I think the first thing is you should be emotionally ready to have a second child.
Hina : Right. Very well said. So I want to touch base upon two more things with you. The first is post both your deliveries how long did it take for you to get back to feeling normal to yourself? Post your daughter's birth. Post your son's birth.
Shubhra : Since both of them are normal, literally I was on my feet in 24 hours. I remember, especially when I was bringing my son home, my daughter was around three. I remember she asking me in the car, can I get something to eat when I reach home? And I literally entered the house, and I went straight into the kitchen. So I think that was possible because I managed to have a normal delivery. It's not very easy for people who have C-section, but then you are not obviously 100% there. But I think a good recovery phase in both my children, both physically, basically mentally, everything was around a month.
Hina : To every woman that I speak to, they have a career journey as well. And you obviously post your children's birth. There is this entirely new family dynamics and career dynamics that you have to take care of. So what happened there? How did you manage your career with two children?
Shubhra : Honestly, it's not very easy. Everyday working is not easy. And there's a lot of, bouts of emotions at different phases. Sometimes you feel in control, sometimes you feel you're falling apart, sometimes you feel you've had it all. And it's a lot of feelings that keep coming.
Literally every second there's a different feeling I'm going through. And it's been, nearly seven years because my son is about to be seven, another three, four months, but it's still there. I would not just say that it's all sorted and I have it all in control.
Career wise. It's obviously not easy for a working mother and a working mother for two children, it's not easy. But then there's both, right? If you have two kids at home, most of the time you see them very busy amongst themselves, so they always have a companion of their age, so they're not really falling back upon you for their time and attention. You have to give them some, one-on-one time. Like you have to spend some time with them, but then not all of their time, they're expecting you to be there.
That's a very big plus point, especially we passed two years of COVID and schools. They were literally close. They were always busy playing, so that was I never saw them miss the social interaction to that extent, as maybe children houses where they were one child. So, yeah, I mean, coming back to the career thing, it's not easy. I feel sometimes we need to take a step back and a step back in career, I mean, in office environment, as well as sometimes a step back in your personal life. But as a growing up, I feel I'm ready to bounce back. So whatever loss I've had, I can make it up. So it's a matter of time.
Hina : I think for sure you're doing exceptionally well. And what you said is extremely inspirational to women who have not just one or maybe two children and who want to not lose their career growth as well…to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and you can get to that is very inspirational. So thank you so much. Shubhra. Today's session with you was incredible and you are going to inspire a lot of women who are listening to us. Thank you so much for joining us.
Shubhra : Thank you, Hina!