Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend anyone, raise any hackles, or bring on hate mails. Its just me thinking aloud about my life and my dilemma.
I took a break from my so-called career in 2002. I had worked with some of the best media houses in the country, and I had started young, fresh out of college. I was part of the start up team at a newspaper, and that was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, I worked with megalithic leading newspaper on a supplement that was read by millions across the country and never appreciated the high I should have felt when a byline appeared in print while I was there. And there were assorted moves here and there. A women's magazine, an advertising agency, a television channel, started one's own content providing company during the dotcom boom and did pretty well too, before the boom went bust. The husband quit his job at a multinational to become a start up advertising agency. I was helping him out, doing my own work. High pressured life, stress levels on overdrive, polycystic ovaries and the increasingly common fertility issue of our crazy chaotic times, too stressed and tired to make babies. And then it was time to have a baby. And we were trying, and trying damn hard, and zilch. Every month, I would wait and zilch. Then started the round of the doctors, and the trying to find out what was going wrong, yes, it was the polycystic ovaries. It was secondary infertility since I had had a miscarriage very early in my marriage. Then the treatment, the shots, the cycle monitoring, the putting of my entire life on hold to get pregnant. And I did in my third cycle.
Needless to say, I had hopped off the career wagon now. I was obsessed with having a baby, and nothing would come in my way. The husband too, who was quite happy to let things be status quo and us be sans offspring was bulldozed by me into accompanying me to the specialists and cooperating with the treatments.
The brat happened, and I was joyous, over the moon. And three months down the line, the husband felt I needed to get back to work, so I did. I worked with him, I guest edited magazines, I went out to meetings, I came home pretty late. In fact I did all the things I am still beating myself up for. And then at around a year and a half my life fell apart. Krish had his first episode of febrile convulsions. That began the round of specialists and opinions. And then came the chilling diagnosis. My child was not like other children his age. He was slow in everything developmentally, but now he was not even responsive. Red flags went up when he wouldnt respond to his name. Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder I was told. PDD/NOS/ SID/Semantic Pragmatic Disorder...the list seemed endless.
I enrolled him into playschool much against my instincts (he was not toilet trained, but nothing a diaper couldnt manage, he couldnt speak at all, he did have some strange repetitive behavior and major tantrum meltdowns) because I knew that he needed human interaction. Being cooped in the house the entire day with no other children for company was not doing him any good. I began speech and occupational therapy. Yes, I gave up any pretence of working again. Just threw everything up cold turkey. I am not going to go into the details. They're not pretty. Just that his therapists worked really hard with him. And I prayed a hell of a lot. And took him out as much as I could, to expose him to new people and situations, no matter how difficult it was for him to deal with it, no matter how terrible the tantrums. My prayers were heeded, and he's okay now. Not the brilliant class topper, no. But brilliant in other ways. And absolutely adorable. Even if I say so myself. Touch wood. Just another really hyperactive, restless, attention seeking naughty kid, with his school and his friends, and his schedule fixed.
Who doesnt really need mamma tagging along everywhere. Who would rather be without mamma, than have her hanging onto his coat tails. "Mamma you go, I play with A." Which is brilliant because it does leave me free to get on with my life and my work and all the wonderful things I thought I would do once I had some time to myself, but now, that I am here, almost at the edge of independence, I find myself holding back. Does he really not need me at all? What if I get back to working, and he regresses? A fear that churns my stomach worse than any amoebic infestation could ever. Am I doing the right thing? Should I wait for a year more? Let him get into full time school, let him come to the level of the rest of the kids in class, and then I can move on to conquer reams of newsprint?
Because I know there are no half way measures with me. When I decide to take on something, I will give it my hundred percent. And being torn between the child and the career is not a choice I will want to make again, the child will win hands down anyday. And the clock is ticking away. I am nearing forty. No one wants to hire forty year olds. Young sassy upstarts are infesting publishing houses, with their wavering grasp of the Queens English, and absolute lack of ethics, given some of the stories I hear going round on the grapevine. Yes, I keep in touch. Would I be able to fit into such a professional world. It scares me. I think sometimes, I would be better in my little corner of the world, writing for people who want me to write for them, and earning my money in bits and pieces. And not hanker for more.
I was holding back from getting back to work in the futile hope that I would have another baby. But since thats not happening too, it doesnt make any sense to hang around morosely, does it. Chockloads of magazines are coming into the country, and I know I would be damn good at the helm of any. No, modesty is not one of my strong traits. But will I be able to give the job the sort of time and dedication it deserves? I need to sort that out in my head before I take a call. The husband, as usual, is against the idea of me needing to get out and work, a slur on his masculinity of sorts. Do I not keep in sufficient comfort, he asks, hurt. But that is not the point. The comfort isnt. The grey cells going rusty and dying on me is.
Am still thinking, still mulling things over, still deciding. And the least of my issues, convincing the mother and the mother in law to watch over the brat if I hire a full time maid for him. But, yes, helicopter mom me wonders if that will be good enough for him. Given he still needs a lot of help. And what if they are unwell, I cannot leave him with a maid. God knows he's a handful. And the guilt factor, they are done with the raising of their kids, do they really deserve me to inflict the brat on them. Decisions, decisions.
But I think I have reached the nadir of aimlessness. Its high time I shook myself out of my pretty little comfort zone and got going.