Zini, me & life in general

The labor of love

While blog hopping, via Indian home maker’s blog I hopped onto The Bride‘s post on Why she wanted payment for labour and the associated work and it got me thinking, I wanted to comment there, but as she has closed comments, I am sharing my thoughts here :).

First when I read it, I asked myself  whether I would want payment for going through Labor to have Zini and breastfeed her, and my answer was,  No. I felt that it would be like paying a surrogate to have your baby. The only difference is that here husband is paying his wife, while in the other case the couple is paying the surrogate.

Thankfully my labor was relatively easier, lasted for only an hour (Though it was the most difficult one hour in my life in terms of physical pain). I had heard horror stories of women having their labor pain lasting for 24 hours. So, when I finally delivered, I was so relieved and thankful that it was over, I didn’t think about anything else. And to tell the truth, I didn’t find breast feeding a burden. though waking up at night to feed her was a tough task, most of the times I enjoyed it. I liked the fact that I was responsible for this little baby’s nutrition and was ensuring that she was getting good immunity and other benefits of breast feeding. Also it was pretty much hassle free. If we were going out, I didn’t need to pack bottles and formulas. Also I would like to add that hubby was pretty neutral about having a baby. He had told me that we will have a baby if you want and when you want.

Zini looks so much like her father, and this disappointed me. I remember telling hubby that while I did all the work of carrying her around and delivering her, she doesn’t even look like me, you got the baby for free, and she even looks like you. But still, I didn’t feel that I wanted any compensation for this.

But as Zini started growing and started throwing tantrums, started falling ill more often (once i stopped breast feeding her) and in general became handful, I felt like taking a break. I told hubby that after going through all this I deserved a vacation. Also after a tough day alone with Zini, when he returns I expect him to look after Zini. This also gives him a chance to spend time & bond with Zini.

So there…In every relationship there is this give and take. It’s just that it’s not always spelt out. So, now I can understand bride’s point of view. Though I still don’t want monetary compensation for my labor of love, i would love to have a vacation 🙂

I actually liked Nandini’s thought that rather than hubby, it should be the society that pays up. In some countries, the maternity/paternity leave is 9 months long. Why can’t we have that option here as well? When I was working, I talked about this at every opportunity (read meetings with higher brass), and finally when i resigned i suggested supporting new mothers in different ways. I hear now our center has a focus group for helping new and expecting mothers :). But still it is more on case to case basis, and there is no policy in place. Why can’t we have a national policy to make the experience of parenthood easier and happier?

And to end this with one more question, do you like gifts??? I do. I love them 🙂


Comments on: "The labor of love" (28)

  1. Lucky for me I won’t have to ask for payment .. or is it unlucky I am missing on a gift.

    I think it is personal and yeassaaaassaasssssss I love gifts ..

    Btw my birthday in Nov. He he h e

  2. I do agree that the current three month break (offered by private companies) is very less. Maybe they can offer unpaid leave for another nine months. I mean, being private companies, we can’t expect payment for not working (for a longer term), especially when there are other people who can be hired to fill up the same position.

    Secondly, they should allow expectant mothers and new mothers to work from home. These days, most of the work can be done using laptops and an Internet connection.

    People can also look at freelancing job options when they have little kids. But I feel that both men and women should take equal amount of break from work, in order to take care of the kids. Men just seem so oblivious to this fact!

    Destination Infinity

    • I can understand that not every private company can pay for a long leave. But many of them can actually do that. My last company was a multinational, in the same company in a different country they were giving mat leave of 6 months/9months. because the country’s law said that. In India we have a law of 3 months mat leave, so the same company gave 3 months mat leave here.
      Well, work from home is not always feasible. In my case, i worked from home in the 9th month of my pregnancy. But for a longer period of time it was impossible as i needed to connect to devices, which were in the lab. So i had to be physically present to connect to them. And there are many jobs where, working from home is not possible at all.
      Freelancing jobs are a good option. But again, how many opportunities are there? Depending upon the city and field you are in you may or may not get the freelancing work.
      And you just hit home with this line “Men just seem so oblivious to this fact!” 🙂

  3. I think everything you said there is only logical and fair Zini’s mom 🙂 I am not a mother yet but what you say makes sense 🙂
    Here, there is a long maternity leave as well – like you said, atleast 6 months. And then, it is reviewed on a case by case basis and then more months are added 🙂 They can also choose to take a break for a year and come back to the same organization in a few cases. i think all these steps are quintessential 🙂

    • This is my point, why can’t we have this kind of mat leave structure in India? Can one have a baby and then go back and start working in just 3 months? Do we want all the babies to be bottle fed, rather than breast fed?
      On one hand, we see govt. advertisements suggesting new mothers that they breast feed their babies till they are 6 months of age. on the other hand we have this policy of 3 months mat leave. So does the govt. assume that there is no new mother who would want to go back to her job after babies?
      And this is a thing that affects everybody’s life sooner or later, if they decide to have baby.

  4. greenboochi said:

    I agree to whatever you have said ZM 🙂 Though I am not a mother yet, I can relate to what you have written.. If I am to have my own baby, I would never expect payment.. In my thoughts, that would make me cheap.. Whats the difference between a mother and a surrogate? While I am not saying that being a mom means to lose everything and taking care of one’s child only..what I am trying to say is, no one can actually pay a mom for what she is doing… no one can fix a rate.

    I also like the society paying up point.. why can we have more than 3 months leave? In my organisation, we do have additional benefits though its case to case.. but what we need a centralized or nationalized policy…

    • Hey GB, initially i too thought that i wouldn’t want payment for my labor or love, but then later i realized that you do expect something in return at some point of time. It may not be money or gifts. It may be something intangible as appreciation, or as tangible as a vacation (in my case 🙂 )
      Again, i would like to say everybody is entitled to his/her view and to each her own 🙂
      Most of the people feel that there should be a mat leave of at least 6 months and it should be part of national policy, except the policymakers 😦

  5. Hi ZM, I read the post which triggered this train of thought and never did I think of childbearing in terms of ‘payment’, that too in material form. Yes, there is never any 50-50 to this one, as parents and partners, it is the woman who shoulders the majority of the tasks and responsibilities. Appreciation, gratitude, freedom of choice, respect and support – in whatever form she desires ought to be given by the partner. Any other give and take is between the couple, naturally as everyone’s needs and wants differ. And agree to a minimum maternity leave of at least 6 months, if not more!

    • As you rightly said, everyone’s needs and wants differ..So that way to each her own 🙂
      And yes, i agree to you fully that the ratio of child-bearing or for that matter other work at home is never 50-50 (well in most of the cases, in India and in other countries), most of the responsibilities lies with women..
      Because of the 3 months of mat leave, either women or their babies, or sometimes both suffer a lot.

  6. I didn’t have an easy labour… after 14 hours of labour when the baby was still not out, the doctors were considering a C section … but thankfully Cheebu decided to come out normally at that time. Even breast feeding was not easy … I had every trouble associated with it at some time or the other. Hubby definitely had it easier that way… spared of these problems. Do I expect payment for going through all this? Well, no. Gifts are always welcome anyway 😉 There wasn’t anything he could do about these issues except being supportive which he was and is. There were times when Cheebu refused to sleep at night and I was very sleepy. Hubby would sit with her while I went to sleep. I think sharing of responsibilities, love and understanding from your partner is more important than any “payment” for child bearing.
    About societal role… I took fully paid 8 months maternity leave. i could have taken more if needed. There is also provision for child care leave in case of sickness, exams etc. That way the organisation I work for has good policies… but of course if you take too long a leave you could suffer in terms of delayed promotion as compared to your male counterparts. I don’t know what could be the solution for this because after all they are still at work while you are on leave.

    • Hey Hugs to you Lifesong, i can’t even imagine how difficult your labor would have been, Thank god Cheebu decided to be a sweetheart and save mummy from the C-section :)…
      “I think sharing of responsibilities, love and understanding from your partner is more important than any “payment” for child bearing.” you said it all….
      Wow, it’s great that your organization has these policies in place. Vaha pe muze job milega kya :)?
      And on your point about delayed promotion due to long leaves, even i am pretty much confused about this. Most of the times i follow the philosophy that you decide your priority in life, take your decision and be happy about it. But it’s not that simple, many a times when i talk to my ex-colleagues & friends, i feel the urge to go back to work, i feel that i am loosing out on time. So, as i said i go into confused state of mind and get doubts that whether what i am doing is right….

      • True that what you said about priorities. Ya I can understand how difficult it is to choose between your baby and going back to work. See men/dads will never have such thoughts … after a brief paternity leave of maybe 15 days for them it is back to work. But for women starting from pregnancy to having the baby and even after they have to get their priorities right at each stage. Women do lose out to their male counterparts at some stage…

      • Though Dads now a days want to spend more time with their kids, still the thought of taking it easy careerwise doesn’t come to their minds because of their conditioning…
        Sometimes hubby tells me that he envies me because i get to spend so much time with Zini, while he doesn’t get to spend that much time with her.
        So even if a man wants to spend more time with his child and take a break in the career the gender stereotype doesn’t let him do that…
        Both, men and women are tied by gender stereotypes…

  7. I have read Bride’s post earlier and I think the husband and family pays you in a way when you deliver… with gifts.. they show their gratitude. And If we ask for a vacation, it also means payback time.

    But you pointed it right, the right laws in place like more maternity leave, work from home options, more sustainable atmosphere for early motherhood time are very important.

    • As i said, my initial thought was that i would not want payment in cash or kind 🙂 But then i realize that i too would want acknowledgement of my efforts and suffering….But in a little different way. As i pointed out, i didn’t want anything for delivering Zini or breastfeeding her (as The bride wanted).
      But again it’s ok. I am of the opinion (as mentioned in reply to Bikram’s comment) that there is no right or wrong in this case. And we can’t be judgmental…To each her own…
      What I can do is, speak for myself and whether i would want this… 🙂
      If our national policymakers also thinks on the similar line then we would not loose many young female workers 🙂

  8. hey ZM, I do agree that a woman goes through a lot more and stands to lose (in terms of job, financial independence, etc) a lot more than a man when it comes to bringing a child into this world. I had terrible three months of nausea when I was pregnant and opted to work from home at that stage and then eventually went on quit the job as there was no support-system and I was not happy with a day-care option. Again, the first three months after delivery was very tough with respect to breastfeeding, sleep and in general being a mother. Gratitude and acknowledgement from the spouse and family members through unconditional love and support and help in areas that do not specifically need a mother’s presence will help alleviate the feeling of low and isolation that many mothers go through during this time.
    And, definitely we need to have more mother-child friendly laws at work so that a woman does not have to give up on her individual career ambitions because of child-birth. I had written a post on similar lines but it is still lying in the drafts 🙂

    • Hey Uma, you did have a tough pregnancy, hugs to you…
      “Gratitude and acknowledgement from the spouse and family members through unconditional love and support” this is on the spot…
      Hey, come out with the post Uma, we are waiting 🙂

  9. its so nerve racking for me reading all this labour pain, lasting for 1-24 hrs..!! 😮
    considering i’m still a student.
    But yes with such intense pain, I’d definitely want something in return hahaha not necessarily monetary..but yes something which atleast express gratitude..
    n that line “u get the baby for free n she even looks like u” had me in splits.. its so true in literal sense actually. 🙂

    • I am Sorry, looks like i frightened you……
      Hmmm, if you think so don’t forget to ask for it 🙂
      HeHeHe…But i was so frustrated about the fact that Zini doesn’t look like me, Very unfair…
      Welcome here, It was nice to hear from you…Keep coming 🙂

  10. I have read Bride’s post and I have lot of thoughts on what she has mentioned…but somehow I don’t know how to put them in my own words or maybe I don’t want to put them forth at all !

    Any way, glad to know that your pregnancy and delivery went smooth 🙂

    P.S. I recently read that Iceland has a policy to offer parental leave to all the employees [no paternal or maternal]

    • Yeah, the post was really thought provoking…

      Thanks!!! Yes, the pregnancy and the delivery were as smooth as possible, Thank God…I was so worried about the delivery after hearing so many horror stories of long painful deliveries..

      Wow, Iceland is definitely a nice place to work in (if you can manage being surrounded by ice 😉 )

  11. […] remember how i longed for a vacation, i talked about it here and here…. And how i wanted to go to Goa in place of a road trip to […]

  12. […] yes, i admit that i feel confused about my choice of leaving a career and staying at home at […]

  13. […] Cross posted at : https://techie2mom.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/the-labor-of-love/ […]

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