Thursday, 7 June 2012

Changing consciously my State of Mind

I believe that the worst state of being is feeling uncertain! With a baby on the way, and not knowing about the future of my career (how am I going to juggle work and home and baby and how much help/support do I get from family?) - life has become a series of uncertainties lined up in the near future. I know we get 10 months to prepare for the baby's arrival but how much planning can indeed help you to prepare for the arrival of another human being who is going to be completely dependent on you (THE MOM) for at least the next two years!

And so with the uncertainty, and my excessive behavioral trait to be well prepared in advance - I started planning early for my maternity leave and how I plan this year to unfold. The little one is supposed to arrive late august/early september and I have planned my maternity leave to start from August mid (2 weeks literally prior to my due date) - the first of a series of plans that I do not have a control of.

My next plan was to start working from home from April onwards. Luckily for me, my manager agreed and with close to 6 years of experience in the software industry , I could place demands such as I would like to work in office location only twice a week and it got approved in April when I was just 3 months pregnant. Could I go to work location each day? Yes, I am not an invalid. Did I need WFH facility to be approved so many months in advance? Nope, but I felt bliss. Another plan that went horribly wrong - because I was suddenly working more often from home with no one but the four walls of my home for company and lack of human interaction slowly creeping up with pregnancy mood swings leading to what most people state as Prenatal Depression - ultimately with me revoking the comfort I was given and me telling my boss that I would rather work 3 days at office location unless I am uncomfortable about it.

Another plan I made was to hire a cook sometime in the mid of March and while it was initially a bliss to have someone come and cook for you, it slowly led to cook issues of all kinds. Just because I had a cook coming in each day to cook for me, and people around me started treating me like I was 7 months pregnant and not 3 months back in April with WFH facility and a cook and a maid etc. I was suddenly left with the emotional state of mind of being an invalid when in reality I was just fine.

Today, at the 7th month of my pregnancy - I can still walk around the block lifting the weight of a week's worth of groceries/fruits/veggies; exercise for one hour which again means basic stretches and walking at a nearby park without feeling tired; have slight discomfort of the growing belly when I lie down; am perfectly capable to cook and clean after myself; and yet 2 months ago I felt I needed as much help as I could get just because I was pregnant.

It all boils down to the state of mind. Our mind behaves funny that way, and it can play tricks on us. If we believe that we can achieve anything at any state of physical being, that belief in itself carries us forward.

Believing that with a huge belly I cannot go to the work location to work in a cubicle on a computer where physically I just need to sit , code and deploy work at one location - my first mistake of assuming I could not work / be as productive as before just because I am pregnant.

Believing I could not travel each day to office in the office bus which is not only convenient because it picks/drops me at my doorstep, but also the best way for travel right now because my other colleagues have decided to forego the first seat for its extra leg space to the only pregnant lady on the bus (ME!) - my second mistake of assuming I was an invalid who could not travel : a restriction posed on to my mind by myself.

Believing I could not function at home and cook for 2 (DH and I) just because I was pregnant and hiring a cook only to please her at all times because somewhere deep inside me, I felt I needed the help was my third mistake. Today, the cook decided to leave because of yesterday's drama.

I kept thinking I am in this state of mind because I am pregnant, I am emotional because I am pregnant - because that is what was expected of me by the society - people around me asked me how I was doing and if I needed help - and I assumed I did. Even when I was perfectly capable, I felt I needed as much help as possible from people around me - and I was annoyed and upset with others when people did not help / things did not go my way; I was upset with myself that my independence had gone and now I was dependent on people, leading to a lot of emotional dependency on others when in reality I just needed to be assertive about the fact that I need not depend on half hearted favors from people around me when I could do things on my own - I am 7 months pregnant, I am not an invalid.

You can read so many personal/ self help books, practice meditation, but a problem can only be corrected when you know the root cause. Today, I understand that what I called pregnancy moodswings/depression is actually because somewhere deep down I had become emotionally dependent on others who took advantage of my emotional state of mind.

It is time for me to call my practical self to dominate my emotional self because enough is enough - I am a well educated person who earns and contributes more than her share of the household - and I need not become a mess just because there is uncertainty in the future with a baby in the picture. I wanted a child desperately, and this is the time to let go and enjoy the present for I will not be pregnant for much longer and I need to understand that life will change - but I will very much be in control of my life no matter what life throws at me. So starting today, I am hoping to consciously change my state of mind. After all, we can control our minds! It just takes some effort. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Cook Issues!!!

Remember I had told you that I am hiring a cook to come and cook for me and on most days I do consider this a huge help because she arrives at around 6 am on most days and she spends an hour and a half in my kitchen to produce breakfast and lunch for DH and I. I still consider this a frugal option because even before DH and I can make up our mind to not eat at home or to go out and binge etc. food is prepared with fresh home cooked ingredients and while it does get a little monotonous to eat at home all the time - still good, healthy food is available each morning. Also knowing I pay for the cook as well as the ingredients with which she cooks each day reduces DH's and my impulse to go out and eat as we both hate to waste food.

But then, cooks have a mind of their own. There was one instance when the cook refused to acknowledge the way my pressure cooker behaves insisting she knows her stuff better than me ( she speaks of years of experience versus my 3 year experience in cooking, hence I get snubbed by her when I try to contradict her statements...) and she ended up making rice 3 times because she screwed up the first two times. There are instances when she adds too much green chilli into the chutney , and to make the flavours even - she has to add more coconut / bengal dram dal resulting in far more quantity of coconut chutney than is required for 2 people.
These are weekly occurrences with her still getting used to the utensils at my place and I choose to ignore her mistakes because most of the time things are going fine!

So most often with the cook being in the picture, we are spending more on groceries, fruit and veggies than we would otherwise but I would like to think that I am balancing it out with the lesser "Eating Out" bill. And the main reason for spending more on groceries/fruit/veggies which should ideally be because  we are having all our meals at home, is mainly because the cook cannot grasp the option of cooking for two people :-( she has to cook enough quantity for 4 people even when I give her specific instructions such as to cook 1 cup of rice/ 1.5 cups of dal. The quantity is usually way more than that - and she reasons it with we can keep leftovers and eat them later (why would I want to eat leftovers when I have arranged for the cook to come in each day to cook fresh stuff for me?) She also uses way too much oil on everything claiming oil makes everything "tastier" - Eg: Pulao has to have not only veggies but even the basumati rice dripping in oil as only then the flavor of Pulao masala would be enhanced according to her. Ghee and oil flow through her hands to the point that she uses 1litre of sunflower oil each week to cook for 2 people :-( and no amount of trying to train her seems to work as she doesn't believe in my cooking skills.

So all of this has been happening for a while now, and because I can afford to have a cook and it does help to have a cook to make meals when you invite friends/ family over : I have decided to let go of these minor issues!!

So with all this background, it comes down to what happened today morning. I needed to leave home at 7 am for work. Which meant that I expected the cook to be on time at 6 am. She entered the house at 6.30 claiming that she met someone on her way here resulting in her coming late. I was already irritated with her for that. Then, her work today was to make 4 dosas for DH as I had already assembled my lunch and breakfast before she had come. Her first attempt at making my dosa was a burnt dosa in brown color. I asked her to slightly decrease the flame to make dosas that were not burnt. She decided to make the remaining 3 dosas in sim resulting in yellow colored half baked dosas. And she had already cooked 1 burnt dosa, 3 half baked yellow dosas before I realized that she was screwing things up. So the conversation went like this

Me : What are you doing? This is Rawa Dosa , it gives a nice golden red color - make it crisp !
Cook: This is the color you get in sim.
Me: I never said keep flame in sim, I said do not burn the dosas
Cook : your dosa batter does not give red color
Me: Then how come the first dosa became red, then brown before you removed it from tawa?
Cook: That was because the flame was more.
Me: Don't act smart!
Cook : smiles at me for using the word smart to describe her
And because I felt humiliated for her smiling at me when I was angry and upset and heavily pregnant (read 27 weeks!) , I ended up crying... Weeping bucket load of tears. Not the best way to show who is "boss" to the cook I am afraid. In between my tears, I told her - she has done enough for today and asked her to come tomorrow and she left smiling looking at my state !

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


So now that I have given you a hint that I fought with my mom last weekend for which I feel terribly guilty about right now - it was uncalled for and she is a really nice person at heart, and that I am probably suffering from some form of prenatal depression leading to such outbursts, it was time to take serious action.

Counseling from two cousins (one of who has suffered from this during her own pregnancy, the other being a doctor by profession), and a lot of therapy talk with another pregnant friend - made me realize that it is about time I started Paranayama. But it is easier said than done. Just because I want to sit and meditate does not mean I am going to sit cross-legged, breathe-in/breathe-out and suddenly hope to turn into a calmer person overnight.

The cousin then suggested that I practice a form of Reiki Meditation where in I imagine a ball of light (yellow color) coming from the sky touching my forehead asking me to be in peace with myself and my surroundings. I then imagine that the same ball touches the forehead of DH , inlaws, parents and other loved ones - making them all in peace with me. This in turn is supposed to help me realize that everyone around me wants only good things for me so I really should get less irritated with the people resulting in a calmer mind and lesser mood swings.

I will let you know if it works in the long run, so far it has been two days - and such things are branded a success after maybe 3 months ( that is how long it takes to make something a daily habit).

That's it for now! Wish me good luck!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

I am only human, thus I make mistakes.

Relationships are fragile. And I am suffering from depression due to my pregnancy. I wish people around me understood this better. But irrespective of whether or not I am understood, it does not give me the right to create scenes and tantrums just because I am pregnant. In the Indian society, the married girl is expected to behave in a certain fashion irrespective of how she actually feels. I am supposed to have a smiling face at all times, look after my inlaws, look after the needs of my husband and my mood swings are not to influence my behavior.

I have taken my parents for granted and hubby too for a certain extent. Last weekend, they got offended by my mood swings. It is a lesson to me in terms of how I really should be behaving. I know that there are several people that I cannot stand and several types of  behavior that I cannot tolerate due to my pregnancy mood patterns. But instead of yelling at people to understand or change, what I really need to do is take a deep breath, count to ten and MOST IMPORTANTLY stay QUIET if I cannot talk politely and put my point across.

We make statements in anger only to realize a while later that we should have rather shut up and we end up feeling guilty for the outburst esp. when it is targeted towards a family member. We cannot chose who becomes a part of our family, but the least we can do is maintain a polite distant relationship with each one ensuring that we do not say anything that would cause hurt to the other.

I promise to change my attitude towards people starting today. I promise to not yell at people for their short-comings. I promise to have a more positive outlook even when I am annoyed with people constantly thanks to my mood swings. I promise to consciously realize that mood swings occur but they will not take over my presence of mind. Mom said a few things she regretted, I said a few more that I regret right now. Time to repair and time to change my attitude.

That's it from me at the moment.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Is this Prenatal Depression?

It is assumed that pregnancy is the most joyful time of your life. So no one really is ready to believe that she might be suffering from depression during pregnancy. It started with problems before conception, one round of fertility cycle etc. and finally conceiving last December 2011. The relief of having finally conceived followed slight irritation with family members that I believed did not cooperate well with my pregnancy. Fortunately, unfortunately my mom has been the brunt of my pregnancy mood swings more often than I could care to admit. I wish I could take back some of the things that I have told her but then I have been depressed and I get provoked easily and my mom is very good at provoking me.

In South Indian tradition, it is expected that the girl leaves her husband's home and settles in her mom's place during preparation for the child birth and a few months after delivery as well. I am not so sure I really want to go stay at mom's place. My mom and I have always been a mix of Oil and Water with respect to our views on most things in life - meaning we really do not get along and our views on anything do not match - but we make do because we are related and because she is my mom and I need to tolerate her. With my own pregnancy harmones raging high and my mood swings reaching alarming heights with both happiness and depression ; I seriously doubt if this is the right time to spend quality time with mom knowing very well that we cannot stand each other much!

I have not gone into a very traditional family after marriage- still certain customs are expected and that is how the Indian society works - so I am hoping I will try my best to not encourage unnecessary confrontations and cause hurt to my fragile relationship that exists between my mom and me.

- P.S. This post was written after my mom threatened to walk out of my house yesterday after having invited her for lunch and she arrived at 3 pm and I complained of her being late and that she had to spend so much time at the Jewellers'

Her response : "I don't want to be dragged for lunch to your house only to be humiliated - we can eat anywhere we want. Ever since your pregnancy has started, you have been a pain to me and you have caused me great sorrow!"

Me : Speechless.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Weekend Ramblings..

Weekend is when we un-ravel from a long week at work and all we ever wanted to do was stay at home. With the baby on its way, we have started socializing more. I am trying to get in touch with friends who have had babies! They give me a ton of advice that are mostly very educative! Until I conceived, my husband and I would hang out more with other single friends / married friends without kids... It suited our lifestyle.

It is funny how overnight our outlook changes! That too even before the baby is due. All of a sudden, I am browsing through baby blogs, spotting baby stuff in every mall I visit and even browsing through preschool section of (albeit the last one was taking it too far... but what can I say? )

It is indeed a blessing that a baby takes 9 months for it to grow from a fertilized egg to full form :) As parents we have ample time to prepare for the baby. In India, age-old traditions prevail and keeping with the tradition, we have not decided to buy any baby gear until the baby finally arrives! It is considered bad luck to buy baby gear before the baby is born and we do not want to screw with our luck! It is assumed that people who have already had babies will pass on their newborn baby stuff that their kid has outgrown to us .. But being the chronic planner that I am, I have already listed down several stuff that I anticipate that I will have to get once the baby gets here ( more on that on another email...) . I doubt the husband and I would be investing a lot though on baby gear. We strongly believe that babies do not need half the stuff that people advertise !

How was your weekend? Mine has been good so far. My parents had come to my locality yesterday. Dad had got a cataract operation done two weeks ago and this was his final post-op checkup to ensure that everything was fine and he could get back to work. I invited them over for lunch and mom (who rarely comes home empty-handed) brought her amazing Cabbage Vangibath and Pineapple Kesaribath. I ate my heart's fill. Today, I had my husband's friend and my cousin's family over for lunch and we had a nice lunch followed by icecream! Everyone came back for seconds both with the food and icecream! I love the fact that we can enjoy people's company at home and at the same time have a great time for hours together at home unlike a meal at a hotel that lasts 1 hour at the most!! These are more intimate and we can really relate much more! Plus of course eating at home costs lesser than eating outside - which is always a plus in my book!

That's it for now, wish you all a great weekend!

..Being frugal?

I work late nights and so does my husband. We have a cook. It is not considered a frugal option by most people. But the fact that we have a cook means that we have lovely, tasty, home cooked meals for us each night so inspite of our late hours at work (we both love our jobs, so the option of one of us happily staying at home is out of the question..), we end up eating at home each night - food prepared by our cook - that is healthier catering to our tastes rather than the options available for take out at different restaurants.

I personally consider this a frugal expense, because I spend less on groceries+cook's salary than what I would pay to eat unhealthy food picked up on the way back home each night. Definitely,  my mom making all her meals at home while we were young, she saved more more money than me. But this works for me and I believe I am being frugal considering my circumstances :) My mom gave up a florishing career to be a stay-at-home mom for my brother and I. I believe I had a more sheltered childhood due to the constant presence and attention that my mom served me. But in my circumstances, I believe earning my share of income for the household is how I am contributing to my family - and one of the best decisions that I am making for my baby is having a cook who would prepare meals at home and we all would eat together just like how it is done in a traditional Indian household!!