While pregnant, I remained in my own state of Chardi Kala – so happy to have the opportunity to give life.
My love story is dedicated to a little girl who holds onto my leg when I try to leave the room, who cuddles into me when she sleeps and who brings unconditional love and joy beyond words to me and my husband’s life. Her name is Hana Kaur and she is our daughter. The love I feel for Hana is so intense and beautiful that I can hardly contain what an emotional experience it is for me. She is a part of me, of us. In Persian Hana’s name means Bliss – and to us, that is what she has brought into our lives.
When we got pregnant I was excited, and nervous. So nervous that I did not even let myself get excited about getting pregnant – almost through my entire pregnancy. Even as my belly grew I was anxious – did I feel her move today? Did I feel her move enough today? I knew I wanted a family and I have loved a lot of babies along the way – but this little creature growing inside of me was a whole other story. I had no idea how to love this person I had yet to meet. What I did know however, was that I had a responsibility to this little creature.
Being pregnant for me was a very active experience. I wanted her to be healthy and I knew that a lot of that had to do with her current home, inside of me – physically and mentally. I took care of myself, ate well, curbed the sweets and kept moving as long as I could. But more – I tried to maintain a great state of mind. A lot of people will give you advice when you are becoming a parent about having happy, healthy kids. At one point, I forced myself to think about the future of my baby, and one phrase popped into my head and that was “Chardi Kala.” The next day I started my search for the main component of my nursery – block letters spelling this phrase that encompasses the spirit of being brave, fearless and optimistic. This quality is something I see very clearly in my own mother. My mom is supportive and knows how to focus on the good and let go of the bad. If I go into a conversation with my mom with a racing heart, I often leave with a sense of calm I did not know I had. This is a quality I hope my daughter inherits from her Nanima.
While pregnant I remained in my own state of Chardi Kala – just so happy to have the opportunity to give life – I tried to curb the typical pregnancy complaints and be grateful. When Hana arrived, I knew love from the moment I saw her. She was helpless and sweet. She was stubborn, waiting 10 days after her due date to arrive, and I loved that this was the story I will share with her one day. I was anxious to meet her, touch her, talk to her. In truth, despite her being a baby – I was already looking forward to seeing her grow and become her own woman.
In the middle of all of these emotions, the delivery experience was a whirlwind. My little Hana was whisked away into the NICU while I was taken to get stitched up from an unexpected C-Section. In the pain and confusion of this procedure, I knew all I wanted was to be with my daughter. I quickly told my husband to stay with her and to not leave her side in the NICU. Being the man I love so much, I could see he was torn. Should he stay with our baby or be by my side while the doctors tended to me? I have never seen him so disoriented. But I calmly told him I was in good hands and he should stay with Hana – she needed him and I would be fine. Hours later, even when I was not fine and had to undergo another trip to the OR – I did not shed a tear. As long as Hana was being taken care of and was OK (and she was – a little liquid in her lungs had them follow protocol of keeping her in the NICU for two days) – I was OK. I did not even get to hold my daughter for two days as I was in recovery and not allowed to move. I knew she was surrounded by the love of her family and I knew I was in good hands and we had the rest of our lives to enjoy one another. It did not hurt to receive photos of Hana from family members as they told me stories of her first moments. We even managed to FaceTime from rooms down the hall from each other!
It has been 15 months since we brought Hana home and what a love story it has been. I often joke around with her that she is obsessed with me when she follows me from room to room or jumps into my arms, but in all honesty I am obsessed with her! Being a new mom has been a journey. From the first days of checking to see if she was breathing almost hourly to deciphering her cries to seeing her first recognition of me – each moment has been special. I know if you ask anyone who has seen me with Hana they would say that I am really into her, maybe too into her – but we are just falling in love! We wake up to one another with big smiles, we chase each other around the house, and we sneak in little licks of ice cream when her papa isn’t looking! To me, this is the top of the world, euphoric, infectious love that you see in movies but better because it’s so real.
Ajeet Kaur lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband, Ashmedh and daughter Hana. The three of them enjoy the SoCal life with trips to the beach and farmer’s markets – two of Hana’s favorite activities! Ajeet works full time for a hotel management company. Ashmedh and Ajeet are raising their daughter as a Sikh and look forward to learning alongside her journey.