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The love of a mother for her child. Does it matter how the child gets to her arms? If she has been been born of her womb or an adopted child? A short story.
Swetha waited and prayed fervently. Each moment seemed like an hour. “Oh God please hear my prayers this time, I will forever be grateful to you.” Finally after a few minutes, still chanting God’s name, she checked the test result and hoped that she would see the 2 pink lines.
Those 2 pink lines.
She had been hoping to see them since the past 3 years, month after month she had waited, tried, waited again, got disappointed, prayed, tried again, but they kept eluding her.
It had been 5 years since Sameer and Swetha had tied the knot. They took their own time to understand each other and savour those initial years of married life. Sameer was busy building his career and did not want to have a baby soon. Swetha was very fond of kids but she understood her husband’s situation and cooperated with him.
After 2 years of marriage, the questions started popping from all around. Any wedding, family function or even a visit to parents/in laws house was not complete without the “When’s the good news?” question. They laughed it off, but after 3 years of marriage Swetha decided that it had been long and they should seriously consider planning for a child now. She shared her wish with Sameer and he too agreed, it made sense not to delay it further.
They kept trying but the ‘pink line’ did not show up. A visit to a gynecologist assured them that all was fine. “Nowadays couples took longer to conceive. Sedentary lifestyles and mounting stress levels were taking a toll on people’s ability to conceive.” She asked them to try for 6 more months and they would then take the next steps if nothing happened. A year passed by. They had undergone multiple tests at renowned clinics and the results showed there was nothing wrong with any of them. Its only a matter of time, the doctors said.
Swetha was growing impatient day by day. Her anxiety levels mounted. Sex was no longer a pleasure to her, she wanted to get done with it as fast as possible and her only concern was that it is done in a way that would result in her conceiving. Every time they made love, her mind kept thinking of a baby and she prayed, let it happen now. Let this be the time.
But it never happened. The questions from people became more prodding and harsh now, many secretly blamed Swetha for it and some openly admonished her saying that she was the one who delayed having a baby because she wanted to enjoy her life. She wondered-“why is it always the woman’s fault?” Here it was Sameer who had not wanted a child early, not her. She was not a career oriented woman – if it was supposed to be her career which stopped her from having a child. She would be only too happy to leave the teaching job to bring up her child if necessary. She wanted to relive her childhood, treasure each moment.
The result was negative again. She couldn’t control her tears. She messaged Sameer the news.
That evening as she sat pensively looking out of the window, Sameer came and sat beside her. He held her hand. The distance between them had grown. They were near yet miles apart. The baby matter was taking a toll on their relationship. He loved her as passionately as ever; their not being able to conceive had not diluted his love for her, but he knew Swetha secretly blamed him for delaying a baby. Maybe if they had started early, she would have been a mother today.
He spoke softly, “My dear I know its been really tough on you. I know how much you adore kids and how badly you want one of your own. The past 3 years, trying to conceive month after month, visiting the clinic, undergoing tests, taking pills, keeping on trying and not succeeding has taken an immense strain on our relationship. I see a different person here today, not the one I fell in love with. This may sound out of the way to your- but do take time and think of this – why don’t we adopt a child? Would that make us love the child any less just because he is not born from your womb? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to love the child as your own? Or are you afraid about what people will say? Would they think we are impotent? How does it matter what people think? What matters is our happiness. I am not saying we may not be able to have our own baby, maybe some day we may. It may take a year. Maybe 5 or even 10 years, or it may never happen. Do you want to spend the next 10 years like the way we are spending it today? Honey, I don’t think you or I can’t last that long.”
“And think of this- a hypothetical situation, you get pregnant and deliver a sweet little baby girl, our life is picture perfect with our baby. After a few months we get to know its not our baby. The hospital goofed up and our baby got exchanged with someone else. So -would you stop loving the child in your arms just because she is not our blood? The memories we created with her and the emotions that bind us- would they mean nothing any longer? I am open to adoption. I have given it a lot of thought and it is the right thing for us, this is my belief. But I need you to be ready for it, to be aware of what we are getting into and wholeheartedly embrace it. Do give it a thought.”
Swetha spent the whole night thinking about it. A baby in her arms- her dream come true, would it really matter if she had not given birth? Would she love it any less? She was surprised to hear this from Sameer, what he said made a lot of sense to her. She felt a new-found respect for her husband. She made her decision the next morning. She had never felt so light in a long time.
Little Meera, all wrapped in a blanket, cosy and tight, came home after 3 months. Conveying their decision to their family, looking for a adoption home and completing the formalities took time. The moment Swetha laid eyes on the baby, it was love at first sight. Not once for a moment she thought- someone else gave birth to this child. For her, it was her own baby. Her heartbeat. Every time the baby cried, she would rush to calm her down, the creases on her forehead were apparent. She could not see the baby in any sort of discomfort or pain. She now understood – it’s nothing to do with giving birth. The love of a mother for a child is no less just because she did not bear the child, it transcends it. It is a deep and sacred bond where love and only love is the binding factor. She hugged Sameer with tears of joy. Her wish was fulfilled. She did not long for the pink lines any more. The pink bundle of joy in her hands had given her a new lease of life.
Image source: mother and child by Shutterstock.
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