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Kiran woke up to the loud cry of her 8 month old. She fumbled around in the dark to grab her mobile phone. The time was 3:17 AM. She let out a groan and picked her daughter up from the crib. She thought of her 9 AM presentation and realized that she’s not going to be a good sight to look at with her puffy eyes. As she fed her baby and tried putting her back to sleep, she could hear snores coming from the next door. Her husband, Ankit, had returned at 11:30 PM last night after a dinner meeting. She muttered about how he didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. However, she also knew that Ankit was trying to do his best. They already had a 4 year old son and Ankit took responsibility of getting him ready to school, picking him up from day care and getting him to bed. Kiran and Ankit had a cook and a housekeeper to help them, but they found themselves exhausted all the time. Their daughter, Ria, was a colic baby and fussed a lot, especially during evenings and at nights. Kiran picked up the baby from the day care every evening. Ria would fuss and cry the entire evening that Kiran would be absolutely exhausted by the time Ria went to sleep.

Ankit and their son Rishabh had a different routine. Rishabh was quite the troublemaker at school and at day care. He would barely eat his food, he would cry, throw tantrums, pick fights with other kids and Ankit could barely control him. Every evening, Ankit would have to yell at Rishabh to try to get him to calm down and listen. Kiran didn’t believe in yelling and Ankit kept telling her “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. This led to a lot of fights between Ankit and Kiran, witnessed by Rishabh and Ria. This was a regular sight at their household. The couple was exhausted. The kids were unhappy. Ankit and Kiran were just two people living in the same house in two different bedrooms with a kid of their own. They knew they were drifting apart, but they were helpless.

It was their 6th wedding anniversary. They hadn’t planned anything special. It was a weekday. Ankit had a client meeting, so he left early in the morning. Kiran had to drop Rishabh at school and Ria at day care before heading to work. Ria was screaming at the top of her voice, while Rishabh was running around the house without his uniform. By the time Kiran strapped them into the car, she was already tired.

She entered the office and was greeted by her best friend, Payal, “Happy anniversary Kiran”. Kiran just smiled at her and mumbled a thanks. Payal was this chirpy angel who was always smiling. Payal and Shekar had twin boys, who were almost 8. Though this job was not something that Kiran loved, being at office gave her the 8 hour relief that she relished. Payal sat down next to her and said, “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you have taken off?” Kiran just stared back at her friend and said , “Ankit’s got this meeting and with these kids constantly asking for our attention, where is all this time for a celebration? Ria is very fussy and it is becoming increasingly difficult to control Rishabh”. Payal looked at her friend and just said, “Let’s go out for lunch today. I have a surprise for you”. Kiran smiled and nodded. Payal then headed out and came back in an hour with a box.

At lunch, they ordered their favourite meal and Kiran started talking about Ria and Rishabh. Payal said, “Sshh. Kiran. Open this box”. Kiran opened the box to see a set of photographs. All these photos were of Ankit and Kiran. Photos from their courtship period, photos from their wedding, photos from their honeymoon etc.

Payal started talking. “Kiran, do you realize that all you do is talk about the kids? When was the last time you spoke to or about Ankit, unless it was related to the kids? I understand that it’s tough going through this phase. Let me tell you a story that you haven’t heard before. You and I have been best friends for 4 years, but this story goes back 8 years”.

To be continued….

To read part 2, click on http://jananyamaternity.com/stay-in-love-especially-after-kids-part-2/

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