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The newborn is important, yes, but the new mother who has just gone through labour is just as important. Why do we take her for granted?
My morning newspaper reading sessions often evoke varied emotions. Sometimes I am elated with the news, at others seriously disgusted, and at yet others, totally frustrated! Today – unfortunately – I am feeling totally frustrated! The newspaper screamed (I am sure with glee!) – “Baby born on board: Woman gives birth on plane, newborn gets free tickets!” For a minute, I was flushed with irritation at the choice of the ‘claimant’ to the freebie.
Can anyone please explain as to how it was the baby’s achievement in ‘getting delivered’? Can anyone please justify what was the amazing feat performed by that tiny newborn who has no clue as to how he even got into this world?
Because according to me, if there was anyone who deserved the free lifetime tickets, it was the mother! The mother who endured the labour pains at that unearthly hour. The mother who braved the process of giving birth in an apparently peculiar high altitude external environment. The mother who exhibited immense emotional and physical strength and did what she had to do at that time. The mother who successfully delivered the child bringing immense joy to the family! Isn’t this but obvious?
I have not an ounce of doubt in asserting that when a woman delivers in a hospital, she goes through an excruciatingly intense activity that cannot be matched up to any other, whether physically or psychologically. And hence, when she goes through the same mid-air…well it is nothing short of a miracle!
Then why is it so difficult for an airline to see the pain and sweat of the mother and shower her with a gift akin to free air tickets for the rest of her life? I have no qualms with the newborn getting a share in the goodies too…but how can one absurdly leave the mother out?
To my mind, the root cause for this prima facie insensitivity is our society’s deep seated tendency to always somehow sideline the mother from all opportunities of accolades and recognition. Since forever, a mother has been glorified for being all sacrificing…akin to a big fat sponge that can effortlessly soak in all the pain, cheerfully meet never ending requirements and patiently deal with the silliest of tantrums (mind you – of the child and the husband both!). She is judged on the basis of what she does keeping in mind good for ‘others’ and never for what she consciously does for herself.
And that is why, it is so simple for institutions in the society to unassumingly and nonchalantly overlook the mother’s apparent role in the successful delivery and instead, raise a toast solely to the newborn!
People say that times have changed. Yes they have. From being a housewife, the society now calls her a homemaker. And if she is working outside home as well as playing the ‘mother role’, it is an obvious expectation (almost an unwritten rule actually!) that she has to make her career moves in consonance with ‘the family’s interests’. In other words, over time, society has allowed a mother the grand liberty of being deeply contented with the status of being a ‘shadow achiever’.
In this state of affairs, dear mothers, I have one ardent heartfelt request to you all. Please give yourself more credit than what you currently do. You are a far more amazing human being than you think you are! While fathers, brothers and husbands will take their own time to mature, your self-worth need not be dependent on their coming of age, because no one owns you. Because before anyone else can lay claim on anything that is a part of you – your heart…your mind…your time, please remember – You are your own master…your own person…your own lover…and your own best friend!
So whether you are already a mother, or whether motherhood beckons you in the next nine months – be sure of one thing – the hero in the flight or the hospital or the ambulance or wherever – is only one – YOU!
Image source: pixabay
Anusha Singh is a writer, public speaker and lawyer. Master of Laws from Delhi University
Great thinking and hit the nail on the head. Phew, happy that someone is talking about it and not succumbing to ‘talking about one’s need is selfishness’. This is all the more so in the case of a woman. But I doubt how many will realise this as they would rather fall prey to stereotyped responses than thinking in this way.
Thank you very much for you kind words! Agreed that many may fall prey to stereotyped responses…however..I believe that many will not too…:-) I firmly believe that the percentage of women with liberated thinking is definitely on the rise! 🙂
True. There is more to the story. When new born is first seen by others, people ask, “Aww, s/he looks like dad/mom”, “cho chweet”, “how cute”, “what should be his/her name”, “nose is like mom/eyes are like dad”, etc etc. No one asks the mom, “are you ok”, “how long was the labor”, “how was the experience”, “how do you feel”, “where are your vitamins/calcium”, “when is the doctor removing the stitch”. Everyone seems to focus only on the newborn, and the poor mom is completely sidelined. People are still in too high awe of childbirth to ask normal human questions to the mother. And the older/experienced women are as hush-hush about it as menstrual periods. How many women (let alone men) have bothered to know the childbirth process through Youtube videos?
Absolutely Nabanita! I have myself witnessed many similar instances…well..it will take a while men to not just know but actually ‘appreciate’ the psychological, emotional and physical dynamics of a woman pre and post maternity. Thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂
In agreement. The passion and sensitivity with which the topic has been dealt with,evokes admiration. Womanhood should be celebrated as it’s the woman who has taken the society ahead.Calm,peaceful and compassionate, She should become an individual rather than a mere shadow. Hats off to Anusha for expressing so boldly.
Yes…an individual in her own right…and not a mere shadow. Thank you for the thought 🙂
Personally, I disagree. The mother chose to have the baby in the first place, so she’s simply getting what she wants. She (and the father) chose to have children for their own reasons, not as some selfless sacrifice. So I don’t think the mother needs to be praised for doing anything fantastic here.
The baby on the other hand, never asked to be born. Because of the parents, he or she will be forced to live for the next 70-80 years with all of life’s problems, and difficulties. For this, a couple of free plane tickets is poor compensation 🙂
A little thought need to go into the question. Do most women have a choice to not become pregnant, if they don’t want to?
I ask this because I find many families don’t even bother to ask their young adults whether they want to marry or if they are ready to take up such responsibility. The parents assume they fail in their duty if they don’t get them married. And after marriage it is the pressure of having little feet running in the house (for many it has to be that of a male). Though what I write may not really help the topic directly, your comment made me wonder-‘HOW MANY WOMEN(or parents) really WANT CHILDREN? Or are they pressurised to go for them?
Let us know your views on this….
@Chintu . There are two types of women in India who submit to parents/society. The first are those who are genuinely powerless. They have no money, no career, and no skills. They have nowhere to go, and are essentially chained to their family. These women have no choice but to give in to expectations.
The second type are those who choose to give in. They work. They have money. They have a home they can go to (maybe even their parents). These are women who despite having the ability to say “no”, give in to emotional blackmail.
So the answer to your question depends on whether or not we’re talking about the first or the second type of woman. If the first, I would say they have little to no choice. They are pressurized and must fall in line.
The second type is completely responsible for her actions and decisions. If she chooses to give in to emotional blackmail, she has no one to blame but herself. She has the means and the ability to break away and say “no”.
Thanks for the detailed response. True there are these two types of women. Just wanted to bring this discussion into this topic as it is imperative that we empower everyone not just financially but also as a person.
I had observed that subservience and lack of assertiveness is prevalent even in the so-called developed countries. Even there, we can find a lot of women who are financially quite able, who take a lot of time to walk out of abusive partners. It always leaves me clueless why they do so!! I don’t have much idea about their say on pregnancy.
Thanks for your inputs
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