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What If?

The relationship between a mother and a child is that space where only transcendental purity exists. But that is something every woman who has given birth will know. Sheila knew the essence of it even before she had a little girl. But it was only after her baby was born that she began to comprehend the power she had – to create life. The miracle in front of her eyes moved her almost to the brink of insanity and pushed her over the edge. The love she felt weakened her and brought stinging tears to her eyes. She looked away and busied herself with the sunset outside her window.

Shekhar came home early one day and sprang a pleasant surprise on mother and daughter. This was a year after that sunset of joy and trepidation. A happy family went out for a warm evening of togetherness that evening – an evening almost full to the brim with joy and laughter. Sheila broached the subject coyly yet matter of factly … “So two more years right?” Shekhar looked up, a hint of the remnant smile from the last conversation still on his face. “Yes baby”, he said, “two more years”.

In two years they cautiously moved towards their planned life ahead - An adoption of a baby girl. This is where my story begins and with it myriad questions that keep haunting me…

Picture courtesy
Shekhar and Sheila well versed into parenthood now felt confident with the adoption and their capability of giving the best in life to the girl they would adopt. They knew that there would be complications but they were also aware of how best to ease the pain, both for themselves and the girl that they would bring into their lives. However, even before they treaded that path, there were questions to answer. A lot of “what ifs”.

One day a week before their appointment in the adoption agency – Shekhar, knowing his wife too well, asked, “Sheila, what if you were given a choice to adopt a healthy and hearty girl as opposed to one who had a hole in her heart? Which one would you choose?” Sheila was completely thrown aback with the question because she was now caught in a dilemma. She knew her answer but wasn’t sure if Shekhar would give in and for good reason too.

Just by the expression of his wife, Shekhar pleaded, “Don’t Sheila, please don’t – you will be bringing in far more misery than you signed for.”

“It’s not the girl’s fault you know…. Why should she be denied a chance to a better life?”

“What if she has only a few years to live?”

“I will then make those years worth living for her.”

“And then? What after?”

“I will celebrate her life in her passing away. I know it sounds way too idealistic, but Shekhar, maybe that’s why Providence will have shown me this girl and given me a choice. It’s not a matter of a gawdy purple bag versus a nude with chocolate lining you know…. 

It’s so much more… And anyway this is just a hypothesis – so why are we even talking about it?”

“Because I have to know what we are getting into.”

They retired that night without another word exchanged. Their wait to get a baby was long. For seven months that discussion loomed between them every time they were faced with the matter. It disrupted their lives and the peace they shared. They were days of silence, dinners were loaded with the heavy air in between. Then the agency called one day to say they had a baby girl for them. They rushed to where their daughter to be lay waiting for them.

Tears rolled down Sheila’s eyes at the sight of the bundle – completely unaware that she had been forsaken. She lay there innocent in the belief that she would be loved and confident that her cries would be translated to her needs of thirst, hunger and attention. She was fit as a fiddle and both sighed a relief!

At the face of the many “what ifs”, that did not happen, life became simpler and burdens lighter. The two children were inseparable and their parents doted on both. They had a more or less happy ending but I am left with their burdens.

What if it was the other way round? What if there was a sick baby as an option? Worse still – what if she was not adopted – would the baby still have a happy ending to her life? What should one do in the face of these monstrous dilemmas? Walk away or plunge in?   

23 comments so far..What are your thoughts?

  1. for me there is NO what if. if i love then it is all the way all the time all eternity. No what if's and i do love all. bad or good the same

  2. Very touching.

    I guess you deal with what you get in life so you find a way round the mountain.

  3. @ROy - hmmm I am tended to lean towards your decision
    @Debbie - so true - thanks for coming by...

  4. IN another life and career I knew people who made decisions like the one you posed. In most cases in was great for the child but the marriage suffered. A women told me " my husband see my daughter as what she is , I see her as what she could have been. It is never easy and always a personal decision. One that cannot be made for you or until the time on the clock tells you it is time!!!
    Another great post, as always

  5. Thanks Jim - that is so sad - i wish there was a formula for such things ... thanks a ton for dropping in...

  6. No what if! Live now and love now fully. What ifs are just ways to hinder the journey forward

  7. Kriti - I can't get the 'comment' box to work, but I would have to go with my heart and adopt the sick child and enjoy and appreciate what time we had together.

  8. Oh...and I was finally able to get the comment box to work. It was my internet connection...or lack there of!

  9. Yoga - that's what i think Sheila should have done too. thanks a ton for visiting...
    @Sherry - i know love rules - even if sorrow follows ...

  10. If i have to explain the post in just one word, I'd say,"Touching". :)

  11. @Sumit thanks but really a topic close to my heart...

  12. I never knew that situations like these would ever about in a topic which people, normally dont speak of..It's a sensitive one..:)

  13. have left me only thinking..and question myself..I am so happy to see you writing something so sensitive..but this has hit me..I will celebrate her life in her passing away..I will share this line with all..

  14. I say take the plunge and love with all your heart.
    Love never fails.

  15. Your post left me thinking and pondering the huge big question you's such a difficult choice, but I'm sure anyone with a heart in the right place, will not be able to walk away from a helpless innocent baby...enjoyed reading it!

  16. Mitr, My heart says that a sick baby needs more love and compassion but my practical mind says otherwise. Not that the baby shouldn't be adopted but once she becomes a part of your heart then losing her will be the death of the mother's soul. It's a very difficult choice to make and there cannot be a right answer or a wrong answer. Loved your story.

  17. It is a common dilemma for all adoption-willing families. Left to my choice I would go all the way to fill up the hole in the heart with all my love and care to make up her inevitable loss as far as possible. But if you believe that Providence has sprung a choice, then Providence will also take a decision for reasons best known to itself. Beautiful post.

  18. @Kiran - yes they do - all the time and it is so difficult to decide. @Alpana - thanks a ton! @Debra - yes I would plunge too @Swati I know you would do that : ) @Mitr - that's the dilemma I am stuck at @Tapas - you always give the best solutions : )

  19. There are so many children needing homes and instead of worrying about what if's, we need to just take them in and love them. For however long it is. A healthy child can turn suddenly ill as well that , should not be the deciding factor. : _)

  20. So very true Angel EYes : ) what if the healthy child was diagnosed with a fatal sickness later - that would be so ironic right???

  21. Some people despair of their natural born children if they come into the world with physical or mental handicaps. My son was born premature and there was some question whether he would be delayed in some way. The thought made me love him harder, if that was ever possible. He turned out to be perfectly fine but either way it wouldn't have mattered.

  22. Thanks Sweepy - I know what you mean. But when it comes to adoption - it invariably gives you a choice and hence the questions... I know what I would do now... I always knew - but just wanted to hear it from me friends : )

  23. This the issue my friends had to decide. In the endit comes down to what you really think you can handle. Some people can not emotionally cope with this type of tragidy and do not want to put themself in the situation to have to deal with it. It is not cruel it is just honest.


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