3.3.11 | Post by Kriti Mukherjee
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 www.adoptionnetworklawcenter.org|
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?
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- 2012 (22)
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