Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Assisting My First Birth

We recently welcomed a new family member to our Big Fat Indian family - Maya's new little cousin, baby Siddharth! Originally, I had no plans to attend cousin-sister's delivery, but I ended up being pulled into it by both destiny and luck. It was the first birth that I have ever attended, after my own. It was completely different to experience it as an outsider, rather than being in labor myself. Now I understand why dads get so stressed out because it was really nerve-wracking!

I originally ended up at the hospital to bring cousin-sister some juice and crackers during her labor. Laboring women typically should try to snack and stay hydrated between contractions so that they maintain energy. Once I got there, I just felt that I couldn't leave. I had to be there to oversee everything and also give her moral support through her contractions....It's a woman thing! Having been through a natural unmedicated labor myself, I know how hard it is and how much mental strength and encouragement that you need to get through it.

I spent all day helping her in labor, and then I had to take care of my nephew and Maya, cook dinner and get the kids to bed. Husband-ji was extremely busy because he is totally swamped with preparing to go for his bi-annual business trip for NYFW. It was absolutely exhausting, and I was surprised at my own strength as well. The fact that I assisted the birth and got it together to make Lemon Rice and Tomato Chutney, and got both kids to bed on time, and in one piece, with school lunches packed for the next day...was a miracle in itself! I'm actually quite a high-functioning person...when I need to be!

A photo posted by Alexandra Madhavan (@madhmama) on

I had a lot of anxiety about the birth since I was a bit concerned that it went on for sooooo long. However, the last thing a laboring woman needs is someone around her who is nervous, so I made sure to hide my anxiety for her comfort, and just stay calm and give my unwavering support - not only for her, but also for cousin-brother, her husband.

I was also a little bit worried that I would get upset since we have been TTC for so long, but I actually felt the opposite. Seeing a family member go through such a difficult delivery makes me feel totally content with not being pregnant, because let's face it - being pregnant, giving birth and having a newborn is no easy task. I have my hands full with Maya already, and I'm also enjoying my free time!

It was quite funny, that because we are a mixed family, nobody understood our relation to one another. Cousin-sister and her husband are both Indian, and I am not; so every time a new nurse or doctor came in, they assumed that I was a doula or a labor coach!!! People were quite shocked to find out that we were all family...go figure! We had to explain our relation to each other pretty much ALL day! Granted, I am very supportive and quite bohemian looking, so I could definetly pass for a doula, but still! Even when we told people that we are all family, it was met with a sense of disbelief! It was quite annoying how hard is it for people to believe that we are all family??? Apparently, it is quite hard to believe!

It was a bit of an abnormal delivery because the labor was not progressing at all, and just went on for days and days. After all that, it took a scary turn and she had to have an emergency C section. Luckily both made it out totally healthy, thanks to the amazing staff of doctors and gentle nurses. It was their first time giving birth in Canada and they were very impressed by our medical system.

Being there to help her in labor was an amazing experience for me. I was in awe of the innate strength that we women have - how powerful we are, how much pain we can bear, how strong we are - mentally, emotionally and physically. I came out of it with a greater respect for the process and the miracle of birth. As a woman, to see another woman's birth is a powerful moment. It was truly a blessing to witness something like that. It is something that I will never forget, and I can't wait to one day tell little Sid that "Yes, I was THERE when your mummy had you!" and tell him the whole story. I feel like such a proud Aunty!



  1. Alex, u give so much of yourself....while that is amazing, just be sure to give yourself some TLC too so that u dont burn out...stay blessed

  2. Super interesting blog, I really like reading about Indian culture from an outsiders view.
    The best part is "I assisted the birth and got it together to make Lemon Rice and Tomato Chutney", LOL! I'd be pretty proud of myself too!

  3. You are a nice person Alex!


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