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House arrest

It’s difficult. If you have worked for around 12 hours without any break.

It was like I was back to my student life. The anxiety I used to have for exam results and the one I was going through while lying down in the ultrasonography (USG) room were identical. After my previous USG report threw up a surprise “less fluid” result,my doctor had recommended this high-tech place in South Delhi for an advanced and detailed test to check if she was missing out anything. A lot depended on the result.

I was waiting,staring at the wide blank computer screen that was to display my report card in a while. I sent a prayer up to the gods and closed my eyes. A good 15 minutes passed,which seemed like an hour,but there was no sign of the doctor. I was losing patience,which my husband seemed to have in plenty as he sat there with a straight face,asking me to stay calm.

Just when I thought I should sit up,as lying down on the back was getting uncomfortable,the doctor entered. A jovial man,he was cracking jokes from the beginning. After making funny comments on my 30-plus age,my being overweight and even my profession of journalism,he finally said what I was waiting to hear. “Fluid level has settled,it’s normal now,” he declared.

The detailed 3D show on the sleek computer screen was mesmerising,with the doctor explaining everything in detail — a running commentary studded with punches and one-liners. The crystal clear images were moving and I had never felt like this before. There was a lump in my throat as I saw my little one show its fists,kick and move about inside me. The face was never this clear before and I can still hear the rhythm of its beating heart. It was an experience I cannot express in words.

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With the doctor assuring that all was well,though not before four sessions as the baby was not moving in the direction he wanted it to,we were relieved and headed straight for the temple I usually visit whenever I plan to have a special chat with the gentleman called God.

So,all that rest for two weeks worked. And yes,I was happy,thinking my days under ‘house arrest’ would be over soon. But two days later,all my aspirations were shattered as my doctor wrote “rest at home” on the prescription,asking me to stay away from any kind of stress,read office. With my office also denying me permission to work from home,the hope to remain occupied while at home diminished too.

It’s difficult. If you have worked for around 12 hours without any break,giving up your professional life is not an easy task. And since my condition was totally unexpected,all our plans have gone haywire. It’s unnerving and depressing to realise that I will now have to take a much longer break from work,going beyond the four-month maternity leave,with my due date still around three months away. I cannot obviously go back to work leaving my month-old baby at home.

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So,it’s time for the professional,career-oriented woman in me to take a backseat. My doctor has allowed me to take a walk in my compound,going out once in a while and do a little bit of exercise. It’s all so new to me that I am refraining from offering any advice this time. For,I am the one who needs a lot of advice on how to cope with this joblessness,emptiness and loneliness,especially when I am no longer on ‘bed rest’ and am free to do “anything that does not give you stress”.

I am trying to draw inspiration from the working mothers who had to take a sabbatical to rear children and who are now back in business with a bang.

I know my greatest driving force is inside me,who will compensate for every loss. The last leg of my nine-month journey has begun and I am sure once I hold my prized possession in my arms,I will forget everything I sacrificed and missed out on.

First published on: 04-06-2011 at 12:45 IST
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