Kids Corner


Motherhood Turned Inside Out



When the midwife placed Benanti onto my chest, and our eyes locked for the first time, her eyelashes clumped together with amniotic fluid and mine with labor sweat and tears, I knew it was a moment I'd recall over and over again for the rest of my life. She had a full head of hair, wide eyes filled with wonder, and cherry lips. 

Benanti was perfection, Guru Ji's creation, and I was thankful for the chance to know this new soul.  She was starting afresh, a blank slate, an open canvas, no stains, streaks, or muddy tracks; the world was new and crisp, and waiting for her unique footprint. 

In that moment, I had firmly resolved to be the perfect mother for this perfect creation.

The list in my mind began.  I'd have a feeding schedule, she'd sleep soundly, no rashes, never be sick, learn to walk before crawling, know four languages, the smartest child in her class, the best athlete on the playground, class president, a peace negotiator in war-torn regions, a neurosurgeon, a diplomat... 

The list scrolled out of my ears, down the hospital bed, to the elevator, unraveling around the neighborhood.  The most important item on the list: I'd teach her everything there is to know about living well.  It was perfect.  She was perfect, and our family would be perfect.   

Four months later, leaky diapers, drool on all of my dress shirts, green poop trailing down my forearm, the sniffles which grew into a full-blown cold, and babbling with both of Benanti's fists in her mouth slowly dismantled my plans. 

The books we read about the five recognizable cries a baby has and "baby-wearing" and sharing our bed with Benanti did not smoothly transfer into real life.  The breast-feeding classes I attended did not give me the stamina to do it full time, so I accepted seventy percent. 

Banjot, my husband, was afraid of rolling onto Benanti in the bed at night, so she went to the co-sleeper.  And the five cries all started to meld into one big cry, letting us know we were very much off the mark.   I realized I had to give up my starring role as a perfect mother and settle into being good enough.  I also realized that my assuming the role as Benanti's teacher was presumptuous and a bit arrogant.  I resolved to let go of my list and stay open to whatever happened next.

Intuition and instinct had been trustworthy friends throughout the years, so I listened to them as they encouraged me to let Benanti take the reins, and so I let go and let my two-month-old daughter lead. 

She first set out to consistently remind me that staying in the moment with her and with myself is what matters.  Structured schedules and plans-in-advance did not work for her, but the present moments made room for unexpected joy in homemade songs, silly face games, and giggling for no good reason. 

As a result, I slowed down enough to realize she was just as content and happy watching me cook dinner, as she was in her playgroup.  And that long evening walks in cozy sweaters have meant as much to her as they do to me.  

Banjot has also become an unexpected mentor in motherhood.  His signature style for nurturing Benanti involves consulting her on the way the new shelves will fit into the kitchen pantry or the way the closet system will have a combination of bins and drawers for more organizing options.

Living real life with her parents has brought her joy. 

These days, she gives away her smiles to everyone she sees, and isn't afraid of not having more in her reserves; she understands that happiness is not a scarce resource, but a natural state of being.  And with that, Benanti has become my teacher, and I her student.  

The energy I derive from these daily lessons has motivated me to continue to strive for my highest potential in all areas of my life, knowing that being a good enough mom sustains more happiness for our family than I ever imagined.  Being good enough creates an unexpected perfection in day-to-day living. 

I am thankful for Benanti and the way she has graced our lives.  She is our hope.  She is our possibility.  She is our dream realized.  


  [Photo on top of this page  -  detail from sculpture by Peter Schipperheyn.]    

Conversation about this article

1: I.J. singh (New York, USA), May 10, 2007, 6:54 PM.

The joys of motherhood! How true and beautifully put. Even a father would understand.

2: Harinder (Pune, India), May 14, 2007, 9:22 AM.

Punjabi mothers are the best mothers in the world. Sorry for such a selfish statement, but I truly believe in it.

3: Parminder Kaur (Raleigh, NC, USA), May 14, 2007, 12:05 PM.

A great Tribute to all mothers on Mother's day! I can see how Benanti has you, Banjot and the whole extended family running circles around her. Enjoy your baby's growth, for every monent will have a new wonder for you to cherish! A baby is truly the biggest wonder in the world.

4: Maninder Singh (Markham, Canada), May 14, 2007, 12:59 PM.

Being new parents of a two-month-old daughter, we can easily relate with what Meeta Kaur has written. I now realize how a new born changes the whole perspective of one's life. Everything now is centered around her. Definitely, the joy of parenthood has no bounds. Obviously, the joy of motherhood cannot be measured.

5: Dolly Minhas (San Jose, USA), May 14, 2007, 9:52 PM.

Beautiful article. Joys of motherhood - may God grant it to all who yearn for it. This is a privilege and we should hold it close to our hearts in fulfilling the role. As some philosopher has aptly said - Give me good mothers, I will give you good mothers. I subscribe to a magazine called Kaurs. It is published from Toronto and is quite new. I think it is a very good endeavour to reach out to Sikh women in the world. Not all are fortunate to get web access to read the great articles like this one on Would be great if you could get this in print media as well. There are a score of good articles on this website which deserve to be in the print media. I hope I can see some in Kaurs magazine.

6: Hema Kaur (NYC, USA), May 29, 2007, 5:05 PM.

Beautifully written... brought tears to my eyes! You give hope and optimism to all the future mothers who fear the unknown territory of motherhood. God Bless... love to Benanti.

7: Satinder Kaur Gill (Khanna, India), October 29, 2007, 1:14 AM.

My daughter, Mehak, was born when my husband and I were in the fourteenth year of our marriage. We had almost given up hope but Waheguru had better plans for us. She helps us see the world in a different light and things have never been the same since she came along. She is the source of our strength and my osteoarthritis in the knee has vanished, running after her.

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