women

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. What no one told me was that, sometimes, the village shows up at your door – unannounced and uninvited. Having a baby, it seemed, meant that your life was no longer your own.

Description: Grandparents care but, sometimes they care too much

What we did not expect was that both my mother and mother-in-law would gamely volunteer to visit the gynae with us when we informed them that we were ready for our first appointment.

I could not understand this sudden attention. I have always been a strong, spirited and independent person. Mum never had to worry about my school results or my behavior, and she pretty much left me alone. But, now, she wanted to follow me on my appointments. Why the sudden fuss? I was just pregnant!

On the day of our first appointment and my first detailed ultrasound scan, my mother turned up. (Thankfully, I managed to convince my husband to stop his mum from coming along, too.)

My mum asked a lot of questions about the baby’s development and well-being. She even wanted to decide on the birth plan for me: No epidural at all! I was so embarrassed; I felt so small, like a lost child. The Hubster, on the other hand, had a great sense of humor and found the whole issue more amusing than intrusive.

Description: My mum asked a lot of questions about the baby’s development and well-being.

My mum asked a lot of questions about the baby’s development and well-being.

After that, I refused to let Mum come along with me on my gynae visits. Unfortunately for me, she still expected a detailed report after every trip. If I failed to call her, she would keep calling until I answered.

Who’s baby is it anyway?

As if Mum’s overwhelming concern was not enough, my mother-in-law also started to interfere. One day, before we had even given the idea any thought, she simply informed us over dinner tat she had booked a confinement lady. I almost choked on my rice. We were never asked whether we would like confinement help!

Then came the bid day. We checked ourselves into the labor ward in the wee hours of the morning after I had my “show” and the contractions started coming. The excited father-to-be called our parents at around 7am, when I as barely 3cm dilated, to inform them that I was in labor.

Description: Then came the bid day.

Then came the bid day.

My mum made her way to the hospital immediately. She then insisted on being allowed into the delivery room.

By the time I was pushed out of the labor ward in the late afternoon, the whole kampun had arrived.

The two proud grandmothers would insist that the baby be placed down whenever someone was carrying her for longer than 20 seconds, only to happily pick her up and carry her themselves. All this time, I had only one thought going through my mind: Please, can I have some peace and quiet to rest and bond with my baby?

Description: Please, can I have some peace and quiet to rest and bond with my baby?

Please, can I have some peace and quiet to rest and bond with my baby?

I was so happy when I was ready to be discharged. Finally, I could go home to rest and be with my baby, without all the excitement. Bu that was not to be! Mother-in-law turned up as early as 7am (my discharge was scheduled at 2pm), offering her “help”.

She insisted on carrying the baby from the hospital all the way home, and told me to carry the heavy gift hampers filled with bird’s nest and chicken essence instead. I stood there staring blankly. I had just delivered and, here I was, asked to carry all the heavy stuff!

For the next month of confinement, my in-laws turned up daily without fail at 7am and would no leave the house till late in the evening, sometimes past 9pm. They had insisted on having the keys to out flat.

Once, when the Hubster and I were enjoying an early morning intimate cuddle with the baby, my in-laws stepped into our room without knocking.

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