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She had given up her lucrative career right after Tanvi's diagnosis and immersed herself in bringing her up. But it was a tough job with more thorns strewn in the way than roses.
“Yellow! Look. This is yellow colour.”
Harsha held up a big cube of bright yellow with both her hands. But four year old Tanvi was not interested in colours. She fidgeted, her gaze darting back and forth between the wall and the ceiling fan.
Harsha felt frustrated. Alongside the daunting task of teaching her autistic child, what irritated her more was the squeals of laughter emerging from the other room.
It was her mother in law’s monthly kitty party. All her friends had come and they were playing cards, giggling and gossiping over hot cups of chai and some lip smacking snacks.
“Tanvi!” Harsha yelled. “Pay attention. Why don’t you?” She slapped her tightly across the face.
Tanvi’s loud cries brought her grandmother rushing into the room.
“What’s the matter with you Harsha? Want to perform a nice drama in front of my friends?”
“I am not doing any drama here Mummyji,” replied Harsha agitatedly. “While you are busy partying, I am trying to teach my daughter here!”
“Are you by any chance jealous of me?”
Harsha shut her mouth.
Her mother in law sighed painfully. “That’s really sad. I didn’t expect this from you. Jealousy is a very mean emotion.”
Harsha waited for her to exit the room. Only then did she allow herself to come terms with her own turbulent emotions. She covered her face in shame.
Shame for hitting at an innocent child as well as for feeling the way she did about her mother in law. Her kid was her responsibility and not her mil’s. The older had done her share in raising her own children. Now if at her age she wanted to have some good times with her friends then Harsha didn’t have any say in it now, did she?
But what about me? My dreams, my aspirations, my wishes? Harsha wanted to scream.
She had given up her lucrative career right after Tanvi’s diagnosis and immersed herself in bringing her up. But it was a tough job with more thorns strewn in the way than roses.
Harsha persevered but there were times especially such as these when she longed for some respite. A gateway to the so called ‘normal life’ where she too could breath in some fresh air and not constantly worry and fret about her daughter’s future.
Harsha looked at her daughter and felt a growing sense of resentment towards her. What had she done to deserve a ‘special child’? Why didn’t she have it like the other mothers, the ‘normal mothers’? Why was she forced to do only ‘motherly duties’?
Didn’t she too deserve a life of her own choice?!
We talk and write about so many motherhood issues. But we hardly give any consideration to mothers of special needs children. They too are women with their own dreams and aspirations. But most of them are forced to curtail it because of the requirements of their kids.
On this Mother’s Day let’s not judge. Instead give them some love, understanding and compassion.
Image source: shylendrahoode from Getty Image Signature Free for Canva Pro
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