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Payal began her story..

“You know about the twins, but what you don’t know is that Hitesh and Umang are not just twins, but actually triplets. My pregnancy was very eventful, because of the million complications that came about. At 26 weeks, my third little boy didn’t have a heartbeat. It broke my heart. Since the babies were fraternal and shared different placenta, and also due to some complications, I was advised to carry all my babies to full term. There was this risk of my other babies dying. But we had to take the risk. The next 6 weeks were the worst in my life. I lived in grief and fear. Shekar was my pillar of strength and support and helped me through the next few weeks. I was scheduled for a C-section. Out came Hitest at 1.9 kgs and Umang at 950 grams. My angel, Sagar, was a mere 450 grams. But, he was perfect. He was the most beautiful creation that I had ever set my eyes upon. A little angel. Seeing him made me realize how lucky I had been to carry him within me. Once the babies were born, the troubles didn’t get over. After a couple of days in the NICU, Hitesh was given clearance to go home. He was still a tiny little baby. Umang, however, had underdeveloped lungs filled with fluid and unable to breathe on his own. I couldn’t leave him, neither could I leave Hitesh. We rented a place close to the hospital. My mother couldn’t help because she had to stay back to take care of my dad who was recovering from surgery. Shekar’s mom stayed with us to manage the cooking and housekeeping, but her health was also bad. Shekar took two months off from work to help bring some sanity into our life. We kept going back and forth to be with the two babies. We barely saw other. When I was with Hitesh, he was with Umang, and vice versa. One day, during one of the exchanges, as I walked into the house and Shekar was walking out, he placed a box in my hand and planted a kiss on my cheek and rushed out. I opened the box to find beautiful little love notes from him. Some were touching, some were funny, some spoke about the cute little things that our boys were doing (like a little smile, like a huge poop, like a massive poop etc), some spoke about how we were the world’s best couple. That moment made me realize how parenthood had taught us some wonderful things about each other that we had failed to see before. And from that day on, we both decided that we will strengthen our bond even more. Children should be the reason for us to fall in love with each other all over again. They should never be the reason for us to drift apart. In the rish of raising our kids, we lose touch with the strong passion and love we share. Today, Shekar and I have 2 lovely healthy 8-year-olds. Our journey was not easy. But, we did everything together in our journey. We did have disagreements, yes! But we sure found a middle ground. We had our areas of expertise, but we didn’t claim one kid each. It helped us solve problems together and grow together as a family”.

As Payal concluded, Kiran’s eyes were glistening with tears. She smiled at her friend, picked up the box of photographs and called her boss and took the rest of the day off. She went home and added a letter to the box and repacked it.

She picked Ria up from the daycare, sang to her, played with her, smiled and danced with her and put some food on the plate in front of her. To her surprise, Ria, who usually is forced to eat, by Kiran or by the caretaker at the daycare, picked up some rice in one hand and carrots in the other and started feeding herself. Kiran messaged Ankit telling that she will pick Rishabh up today. She called her mother-in-law who lived about 20 miles away and said, “Ma, can you watch Rishabh and Ria today?” Her MIL was pleasantly surprised. She always wanted to help Kiran and Ankit, but they were this new age couple who preferred doing everything on their own. Plus, she was suffering from hypertension and diabetes, which made it difficult for her to provide full time care for the kids. But that evening, she was more than happy to have her grandchildren. She hadn’t seen them in a long time. Kiran dropped the kids at the in-laws’ place and returned home at 7 PM. She quickly got dressed in her favourite clothes and waited for Ankit. Ankit came home at 7:45 PM. Kiran opened the door with a big smile on her face. Ankit was pleasantly surprised. He realized how beautiful his wife was. She gave him the box and said, “Happy Anniversary, darling”. He swooped her up and gave her a kiss. “Where are the kids?” , he asked. “They are safe at your mom’s place. Don’t worry”, she laughed, “I think it’s time for us to talk about ourselves for a change. Should we head out for dinner?” Ankit said, “No, let’s order in. What place is cozier than home!”

As Ankit opened the box and saw the photos, he also started realizing how distant they had become. As he read the letter, Ankit realized the changes they needed to bring their lives. They realized that with both Rishabh and Ria, they had just been living with the problems together as a couple. They had forgotten to work together to reach a middle ground, and had been strongly sticking to their opinions. They had been arguing in front of the kids, without realizing the impact they were creating, They had forgotten to realize that they had 2 kids and were a family together. They realized that they had forgotten to support each other and were drowning in their own anxiety. As they spoke, they promised each other that they will work together. They promised that they will stay in love. They promised each other that they will stay in love. They promised each other they will set aside time just for each other. As weeks passed and as months passed, they realized that as they stayed in love, it reflected beautifully on their little family.

Fall in love, stay in love, fall in love all over again and then let the happiness cycle repeat itself.

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