Not being a mother is bad, sometimes being a mother also turns bad

“Always you are a bad mother!”

Sanjay screamed at Harini and left the house banging on the door. Frozen in tears Harini saw her eighteen-year-old son walk away in anger.

The heaviness of the words shattered her balance and she fell on the couch. Her mind recollected the starting days of her motherhood.

“Congratulations! You are pregnant!” The doctor informed.

Harini couldn’t enjoy those words. It was just two weeks back she had lost her husband Prathap in a cruel road accident. Whosoever fault it was, the loss was to her.

Harini and Prathap were married for three years. She worked in an accountancy firm. They led a happy-go life like any other couple. Unfortunately in a moment, Harini stood all alone.

The pregnancy news brought cheers to Harini’s family. Her parents were overwhelmed with joy. Harini’s in-laws severed their ties with her after their son’s demise. They felt she might be a burden.

Harini was confused if she should really go ahead with the pregnancy. It was just not to run life being single. Here the question was being a single parent that came with all the responsibilities. The sudden turn of events did not give her the confidence for yet another battle.

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“Ma, I don’t want the baby,” she informed her decision.

“Are you crazy Harini? God took away Prathap from you only to give you another relationship. Motherhood is a boon. Don’t ever talk such nonsense again.”

“Akka, we are always with you. Please don’t think you are alone.” Her younger brother and sister said together.
The consoling words and the concern from her family made her step into motherhood. She returned to her parent’s home. After nine months, Sanjay was born. The entire family celebrated and welcomed him.

Harini had to get back to work. In her absence, her mother took care of the baby. Her sister got married and flew to the US.

When Sanjay was three, her father fell down the stairs and hurt himself, which led to her mother taking care of her father all the time.

“Let us keep a nanny for Sanjay. I need to look after your father also,” her mother insisted.

Harini nodded. She cannot stay at home all the time. Sometimes she needed to work double shifts as well.
Sanjay fell sick often. So after school hours, Harini decided that he would stay in the daycare facility provided on the school premises. In the evening she picked him up while returning home. If she was late she requested her brother to pick him up.

After returning home Harini also assisted with the household chores. In a year her brother got married and moved out. Many a time she felt tired and wanted a hand to help. But it seemed it was always only her. She had to run to school and hospital for Sanjay and herself. When she was ill, she had to look after herself.
Her sister wanted their parents to stay with her. They were excited to live in a foreign land.

“We are there for you”
Those words faded away.

Harini and ten-year-old Sanjay were all alone. With no other option, Harini put Sanjay in a boarding school. He cried initially but then got accustomed soon.

It was Harini who cried every day unable to balance her situation. She visited him every time possible and encouraged him to study well.

Years rolled by and Sanjay completed his schooling. She prepared a feast for him every day. All her sadness seemed to vanish with his presence.

Harini enrolled him in an engineering college.

“I will stay in the hostel.”

“Why Sanjay? You have the college bus to pick up and drop you off.”

“It will be tiring. Everyday travel won’t suit me.”

“Sanjay, we are going to be together after a long time. You know how I waited for this day to arrive?”

“Then why did you send me to boarding school? You could have kept me with you.”

Harini knew this conversation was taking a different direction.

“Sanjay. Remember we were alone? I couldn’t manage work and sending you off school. Leaving you alone at home was even more scary. Do you think I wanted to be alone? My life is you, Sanjay. I wanted to earn for you, protect you. It was always You Sanjay.” Harini burst into tears.

“You were never there when I needed you. I am going to the hostel. After college don’t expect me to stay with you. I will move out from here. Always you are a bad mother.”

Where did she fail? Tears clouded her vision. Did she take all the pain and struggle in life to get this name? She couldn’t count the number of times she consoled herself that everything would be fine someday and she had to keep moving on.

Was motherhood forced into her? What if she had chosen to terminate her pregnancy? Due to societal pressure, she had to take it up, otherwise, she would have been termed a bad woman. Now after several years, she only had to gain the same name.



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