Being Women

My Motherhood Journey: A Full Circle Celebrating Two Generations

The story of a woman who celebrates not just her daughter, but also her own mother who needs care after a stroke. It's a journey of rediscovering strength, navigating challenges, and finding joy in unexpected moments.

Motherhood has always come naturally to me; I am a nurturer at heart. In my Zumba class, I became the ‘adopted Amma’ to over 20 college students. Some of my nieces affectionately call me “Deepamma.” People who are much older than me, including the support staff in my husband’s office in Odisha, address me as “Maaji” out of respect. Due to my approachable nature, they chose this endearing term over the formal “Madam,” typically reserved for the boss’ wife.

This nurturing instinct extends to my role as a mentor as well. I deeply care about the achievements and progress of my mentees, regardless of their age or background. Every day, I feel blessed and grateful for being a mother—a role that I cherish above everything else in life.

However, this Mother’s Day holds special significance for me. I’m celebrating not just one daughter but two—a beautiful young woman of 19 and a remarkable woman of 79 who happens to be my mother.

Surprised? Life, as it often does, has taken some unexpected turns.

From Parenting to Caregiving: A Daughter’s Journey

For 18 years, I poured my heart and soul into raising my daughter, instilling strong values and the courage to chase her dreams. Then, as she spread her wings and flew off to college, I chose to return to my hometown to be near my ageing parents.

Last September, my world shifted dramatically. My mother suffered a stroke, leaving her bedridden and requiring constant care. A home nurse became a part of our daily routine, but the bulk of the responsibility fell on me. The woman who once guided me with unwavering strength now needed my support for even the most basic tasks. I became a mother again.

Confession time: taking care of an adult can feel surprisingly similar to caring for a child. There are moments of pure joy, overflowing with love and connection. There are also moments of frustration, anger, and, yes, even tantrums.

My mother, however, is no ordinary woman. She was a trailblazer in her time, one of the first 30 female engineers to graduate from Kerala’s first engineering college. A passionate academician, she spent 34 years at her alma mater, inspiring countless students with her knowledge, youthful spirit, and unwavering dedication.

Rediscovering Strength and Resilience: Supporting Mom’s Rehabilitation

Now, the tables have turned. During her rehabilitation sessions, I find myself actively involved in speech, cognitive, and physiotherapy exercises. Dementia, diagnosed a few years ago, complicates the process. Yet, every flicker of progress, every small victory, fills me with a mother’s pride.

Her left side remains paralysed, requiring aggressive physiotherapy to regain motor function. It’s been a journey of relearning, of reminding her how to hold and throw a ball—a playful reminder of our childhood beach games when she taught me how to throw a ball. Flashcards and quizzes on everyday objects have become a regular feature. And yes, there’s a touch of playful revenge involved—a gentle teasing in return for all those childhood scoldings she gave me!

Celebrating Small Victories: A Mother’s Pride Renewed

Recently, a breakthrough arrived. Amma squeezed the therapist’s hand with her paralysed fingers, igniting a spark of hope. Tears welled in my eyes, a bittersweet mix of joy and a memory of celebrating my own daughter’s first steps, or her first words. In that moment, I was a mother once again, witnessing a daughter’s precious victory, albeit with roles reversed.

The human capacity for resilience is truly remarkable. Every small step forward becomes a cause for celebration on this extraordinary path to recovery.

Navigating Challenges Together: A Journey of Love and Understanding

The truth is, my relationship with my mother hasn’t always been smooth sailing. The past few years have seen disagreements, arguments, and moments of tension. Yet, when she needed me most, all that faded away. The simple act of being there for her was the only thing that mattered.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Her control-freak tendencies haven’t magically disappeared, and she still knows how to push all the right buttons—much like my daughter with all her teenage drama! But here’s the beauty of it all: we’re learning to navigate this challenging journey together, two mothers and two daughters, bound by a love that transcends age and circumstance.

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Embracing the Journey: Strength and Love Through Every Phase

This Mother’s Day, I celebrate my daughter’s homecoming for summer vacation and my mother’s steady progress on her path to recovery. Being a mother to my mother is a bittersweet experience, demanding and rewarding in equal measure.

To all the mothers out there juggling responsibilities and navigating the complexities of this beautiful, messy thing called life, your strength and resilience are an inspiration. And to those on a similar journey of caring for a parent, know that you are not alone. May this day be filled with love, appreciation, and a deep sense of pride in all that you do. Embrace the journey, for it is a testament to the unwavering strength and unconditional love that reside within every one of you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Deepa Perumal

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One Response

  1. A real down to earth factual narration .I love it darling .my muthus sweetie God bless

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