I stood staring at the tampon packs that occupied the first slab, in the corner cupboard, of my walk in closet. It’s been ninety days since I inserted one into me. I had a dizzy feeling this morning, but I did not tell it to Prithvi.

Prithvi Kumar, my loving husband is a super celebrity photographer who had, all the top shot actors, kneeling at his beck and call. He’s a genius in profession and the main reason why I have a successful career as a model. But that was not the reason behind our marriage. We married out of love and he was everything a woman would ever want in a man. I was twenty six when we got married and he was five years older than me. I wanted to enjoy the world, to dress up in style, look every bit pretty, holding hands with my hot husband and flaunt my perfect figure and beauty at the grand gala nights. My husband had earthy needs, he wanted to settle down and have a happy family. He gave me two years of freedom to say no to a baby. All that began to change when we neared my 28th birthday. Prithvi has remarkable persuasion qualities and he talked me out of the idea of continuing my birth control pills. My birthday night was the first one we did it without any protection. I was apprehensive throughout and I wanted to back out in the last minute. But Prithvi has such an understanding of my body and hotspots, that the only word I ended up shouting in bed was ‘YES’. So, here I am missing the intimate touch of my tampons, having morning sickness and peeing for my pregnancy strip, praying to God that it should NOT be what I think it is. I closed the lid of my toilet cubicle and sat on it, staring at the two lines marked on the strip, my whole world whirling under my legs. I am pregnant. I am going to have a baby.

I took a deep breath, trying to calm my quaking nerves.

“Ok..ok …” I murmured to myself. “Let’s get our ass to a doctor and we will decide things later”

I wore my top notch white designer skirt and supported it with a tight brown belt around my hips. I donned it with a matching white shirt and a brown clutch. There! Am all ready, to meet the doctor. I grabbed my car keys and ran down the stairs, taking two at a time ,shouting rapid instructions to the maid and I was gone like a whirlwind.

Dr. Shinas smiled at me confirming my suspicions.

“Congrats! Sonali” she said. You have a beautiful creation in your tummy.”

I plastered a fake smile on my face.

“I can see that you are nervous” Dr.Shinas added, "wouldn’t it be better if you had your husband here?” she smiled kindly.

“Yes” I said. “I miss him badly.”

“Do you? My darling angel?” the husky tone made me, turn around with shock.

Prithvi stood there with a big smile and before I could react further, he scooped me up and started whirling me around.

“Prithvi” Dr.Shinas interceded. ”You have to stop doing all these things. She has a baby in her belly.”

“How did you?” I asked him as he settled me gently on the chair.

“I called him". Dr. Shinas said with a mischievous smile, winking at him.

“Both of you get back to business! I need to do the baby lecture”, Dr.shinas said, with a stern tone and a kind smile.

We were finished an hour later, with the signing lavishly across my medical report.

“And don’t wear tight belts like this” she said with a small smile. Prithvi walked out of the door whistling gently and I turned back to the good doctor.

“Is it possible to have the kid without considerable increase in my weight?” I asked, my tone betraying my nervousness.

“Giving birth to a child is a beautiful thing Sonali. There’ll be a lot of increase in weight, but you can lose it gradually. Don’t fret much about it and go with the flow”.

I didn’t know what to tell and moved away quietly.

Days became months and there were lot of changes in my body. My diet changed and I felt like I was eating all the time. My belly started protruding and my weight increased constantly. But something about Prithvi’s smile made me bear it all. He kept taking pictures of me, and every day he made me stand naked in front of the mirror, embraced me from the back and kissed my bare shoulders.

“Do you know how beautiful you look?” he asked me every day, with wonder in his eyes.

Meeting my friends became more awkward and every time I talked with them I started getting vexed. They told me stories about females, who lost their shape after child birth, stretch mark problems and predicted the glooming end of my unnaturally flourishing career.

“If you ever have the hopes of getting back to the industry, then don’t breastfeed your kid.” My colleague Salma said.

“Babies make your boobs saggy babe!” Anushka chorused.

I went to my designer with mixed emotions, only to witness Aishwarya Rai Bachhan flaunting her way too voluptuous, post baby figure at Cannes. I headed back home with tiredness I couldn’t explain, and flopped on to bed.

I woke up to Prithvi nuzzling my breasts, his hands softly caressing my hair. It was my eighth month and we had given a break to love making. However, we had some real hot make out sessions which made my adorable husband take cold showers at odd times.

“God! How much I wish, I could see my baby nuzzling your breasts like this“, Prithvi said,

“Just few more months and my biggest dream, my masterpiece photograph will come to life”. He jumped around, humming.

“Masterpiece photograph?” I asked as my interest piqued.

“I’ve always dreamt about a nude photograph of you, breast feeding our kid. I want to capture every emotion that would be reflected in this beautiful face.”

I paled a little but Prithvi didn’t notice. How I can I say to my husband that I don’t want to breastfeed my child? I don’t want to lose my career and I desperately wanted my figure back. I decided to breach the subject to my doctor in my next checkup.

“The baby is very healthy” the doctor said “I don’t think you’ll have any complications in your child birth", she said with a smile, “You‘ll deliver the baby in normal delivery”.

“I want a caesarean”, I blurted out to the doctor.” I don’t think I can bear that pain. Plus this may make my shape go bad. It’ll be the end of my career!” I started crying, wringing my hands in desperation.

“I don’t want to breast feed my baby, I’ll lose my career, please use lactating pumps, Doctor please do something, anything“, I cried without realizing that Prithvi was getting rigid behind me.

The doctor helped me up and took me outside to a ward. She asked me to lie down and rest and I did so. Couple of hours later, when we were in the sanctum of our cozy bedroom, Prithvi took me into his arms.

“You could have told me your fears, Sonu“, he said. “I talked to the doctor about elective caesarean, but she said no. Operation could give you a round belly that could never be flattened. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” I cuddled closer to him nodding my head negative.

“We would find an alternative darling!” Prithvi said, “You don’t have to feed the kid if you don’t want to“, I relaxed hearing those words and fell into a deep slumber.

Prithvi watched his sleeping wife, his mind repeating the encounter with the doctor. “This is a normal hormonal break down. Every woman goes through this during her pregnancy”, Dr. Shinas had said when Prithvi stood there with unshed tears.

“She will do it when the time comes” Dr.Shinas had said. “It is a gut instinct that every woman has and she would never give up that particular pleasure. It’s involuntary. She’ll breastfeed her baby. “

That comment had calmed Prithvi instantly, for he never saw the crossed fingers and sad smile of the good doctor.

19th September:

My water broke three days before my due date. I was surrounded by people in the sterile hospital room, but I had eyes only for my husband. He sat beside me for 11 straight hours, murmuring gentle words, trying to ease to ease my pain. I felt a lancing pain that ripped my entire lower half, but I struggled hard, trying to push that little cuddly muffin out of my system. The doctor said that she could see the head coming out and I gathered up every ounce of my courage, energy and prayer. With a shout that would put Conan (The Barbarian) to shame, I pushed the little one out and applause erupted everywhere. I saw a beautiful, bloody thing crying and wagging about, in the hands of a wonderful man, and I tell you people, that was one of the most beautiful things, my eyes had ever seen. I couldn't watch the rest as I finally let sleep conquer me, but I couldn't let him do it long, as something funny happened in my breasts.

I woke up with a need I couldn't explain. My breasts were heavy and felt like it would burst if I didn’t let something out. I did not understand what it was, but it was unbearable. I moved around restlessly searching for something, and finally a nurse materialized holding a fluffy towel that surrounded the amazing thing, that had been kicking inside me for the past ten months. I did not understand what I was doing and why I was doing that. I held out my hands and the nurse carefully placed my lovely little angel telling me I have a boy. Ha! As if I don’t know. I know I’ll get a Prithvi junior. I held the tiny one against my body, feeling the fragile softness, infusing my warmth to him. He started nuzzling around and I did not have second thoughts. I slowly lowered him to my breast, and (definitely, with some aid from the nurse) helped him find his quest. The moment that little mouth latched on to my nipple, I knew my resolves crumbled. All those fuss about maintaining figure, all that terror filled nights dreaming about breastfeeding, everything felt pointless and quite frankly stupid. I closed my eyes smiling at my folly and kissed the little wonder, while tears of joy welled up inside me.

4 months later:

I fell back on the soft bed, sated and thoroughly loved. Prithvi stretched beside me idly massaging my shoulders. I didn't have the energy to put on my robe, and I was content watching my husband slip on his PJ pants. Rohan started making sounds, his language to tell that he is hungry. “The little moron!” my husband pouted. “Baby stole mommy from daddy!” I laughed at Prithvi’s cute expression and kissed him gently, as he placed Rohan near me with immense care. The baby was naked and so was I, and we were both keen on what we were doing, that we forgot the daddy. There was a flash that dazed my eyes, and both of us turned to see Prithvi standing with his DSLR, a wide grin plastered on his face.

“My Masterpiece!” he smiled and jumped back to bed, gently dragging Rohan to his side. I watched them play, my two handsome men, marveling at the beauty of my splendid master piece, etching in mind, my precious Canon moment.