Post Partum Depression is a serious illness, which doesnt get the attention it deserves. But Post Partum Oppression? Thats unheard...
Well its unheard because maternity is already a hazardous task. After all, when a woman dies every 1 minute due to childbirth in the world, and a woman dies every 5 minutes in India, it seems more hazardous than the streets of Iraq or Pakistan. And the mothers are not even the co-guardian of the child in India. An unpaid, thankless task, with few hours of sleep, the process of childbirth and the raising the child, if imposed on prisoners, would probably violate the rights, even under USA's interpretation of the Geneva Convention.
But thats of course not the real reason why no one has coined the word. Women figure they could become mothers and hence dont talk about it and while men would be excited to criticise women, they believe, there is a big difference between mothers and women.
But just because there are people out there suffering from tumours, it hasnt stopped some from cribbing about the headaches. So without wasting more time, hinting this blogger deserves an award for bravery for bringing it out in the open, lets talk about PPO - Post Partum Oppression.
1. Does it affect most women.
Yes and in some cases even the men.
2. Is it an urban or rural phenomenon
Who would read a blog post about rural phenomenons and floods and droughts? Of course its an urban middle-upper class phenomenon and it could Affect YOU. (If you are not yet an parent but friendly with someone who is about to become a parent).
3. OK get to the point. What are the symptons.
i.Photo Bombardment : Due to digital cameras and photosharing websites, its cheaper and easier to click and share pictures. That means all the friends and relatives are bombarded every week with baby pictures, which look pretty similar, but one is expected to notice the difference and discuss in detail (since chatting too is cheaper) the difference. This phase exists till the baby is old enough to run away at the sight of the camera.
ii.Baby Talk : The mothers believe, its your moral duty to socialise with their baby. So, dont be suprised if they ring you, and put their baby on the phone, even if you cant understand what the baby is raving about.
iii.Genius : For those who believe they have finally outgrown the a and b phase, be prepared for the my baby is a genius phase. The mothers get amazed at the reciting powers of the baby (It can say a,b,c,d!) and believe their little darling is a child prodigy.
iv.Shining Super Star : Parallel to the Genius phase, my son would be a star in future. (Either a film star or a cricketer.)Tip for the victims of PPO. Dont ask, "Maybe the child would be a star kabbadi player", unless you want to severe relations permanently. If its a daughter, the belief would be around beauty pagents. (Thats a decent and respectable aspiration unlike the film business). Tip for the victims of PPO : Dont remark "If the beauty pagents are about brains not bodies, why do the promos always show the women in swimwear?"
v.The right to Break and Make Mess : Just when one believes, one has seen it all. The PPO enters the Right to Break phase. The parent believes, its child abuse, if you deny your credit card, remote control or anything you cherish, to the child. So be prepared to handover your laptop and dont forget to grin, while the child plays with it. And if the child breaks your mobile or laptop, remark the child would become an engineer in future. As for the making mess part, a disciplined child is just a figment of your imagination. They havent figured out a diaper for the hands and mouth. So pretend its a priveilege to clean up after the child has crumbled, biscuits and chips all over your floor, dropped a chocolate on the sofa and inserted sticky wrappers among your important papers.(Hey be thankful the child didn't tear it up and demanded it be made into a paper boat).
vi.Your Preferences? Whats that? : You will be expected to stock the brands the child prefers and watch the TV channels the precious darling prefers, if you happen to live nearby. Tip : Dont be dumb enough to say, the American Paediatrics Associations says the child shouldn't be allowed to watch TV till its two years old or junk food isn't great for kids.
vii.Sorry it doesn't get better : Does it get better when the child enters kindergarden? Unfortunately no. It just means you will have to listen patiently to nursery rhymes and endless comparisions with the class mates and help with the project work.
viii.Foodie : The child won't eat the right food. And be prepared to sigh and say its normal. Tip for the victims : Don't be dumb enough to suggest, hmmm the kids at the orphanage don't exhibit this behaviour.
ix. Fit or Fat : Parents hate it when their kid is called skinny (So you think they don't try to feed the child) and also hate it when their kid is called plump (Dont cast your evil eye on the food my child finally eats..). Therefore nod your head and go with whatever the mother says and say the child appears fine.
x. Grand parents are grand : If you think the grand parents would knock some sense into the parents, forget it. They would do anything to the spoil the kid, to get the kid on their "side". And forget the Dads. Worse than the Post Partum Oppressors or the "Diaper Dads" who imagine they are right out of the Raymonds ad, when they bore you with the number of diapers they change, everyday.
4.What can the victims of PPO do about it?
a. Break off the relationship.
b. Get a baby or adopt an baby and fight fire with fire.
c. Get a pet and mention its unsafe for kids to be around it. Tip : Start with a snake or a rat, not a doberman. (But be prepared to take responsibility if the pet harms the baby or vice versa).
d. Resolve you or your spouse wouldn't be a PPOer after you have a kid. Ha ha, just kidding
e. Pretend this is just normal, and this blogger is wasting your time and energy and making much ado about nothing.
5. So tell the truth, are you a PPOer or a victim of PPO?
Neither. I am in the 8th month and hope to fall in 4d category. But none of my friends or relatives have ever suffered from PPO. And if any of them is reading it, Please, Please do not make my kid a social outcast. I share your enthusiasm for your children and wouldnt dream of equating your enthusiasm for Post Partum Oppression.