Six years. 

Sharing this post from the child loss support group, In our hearts forever.

***
How far have I come? Sharing some lessons learnt.

Did I expect this six years ago? 6th July it had rained for the first time. Tejaswee had declared she loved the Delhi monsoons. A month later I was willing the universe to conspire to save her life.

Six years later now, in many ways, I live a ‘normal’ life, at least outwardly. When one has been where I have been, every achievement is a milestone; and things like laughter and joy are achievements beyond all expectations.

Three things that keep me going:

1. In our hearts forever : The Support Group for mothers coping with child loss.

The current mental peace and stability would not have been possible without the support from the moms in this group. We know what we are for each other. Nobody and nothing else can do what this group can, and does – for those who need such support.

2. Brat Three – Brat Three is twelve, and my height now; and regularly raids my wardrobe. 🙂 Her confidence and happiness are our pride, hope, and delight; and she knows it: This sentence in her school notebook had me tearing up: “I am the apple of my parents’ eyes.”

Introducing a new family member.

And I am still marveling at this love, and at the joy and the healing that this love has brought into our lives.

I am grateful. Grateful that all four of us wanted the same thing (this adoption).

Immensely grateful that we listened to the voice inside us.

The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

 

3. The Saturday hiking group I joined two years ago:

Every Saturday I wake up at 3 30 am to reach the starting point for the hike on the outskirts of the city; because the hike must end before the day gets too hot, we must start before sunrise.

What drags some of us out of our beds at such hours, while the rest of the world sleeps?

For me, the group was at first just a safe space for getting out of the house and experiencing nature. I would have been content to just walk in the wilderness; that was an achievement in itself; but the walks surprised me with unexpected bonuses: Laughter and Joy. (Also, new friends; and improved health).

This was like rediscovering oneself. It’s a passion I did not even know existed within me. The walks changed almost everything else.

Passions tend to engulf us (along with our pain) and I allowed myself to be totally taken over by the experience: I have run through the wild grass into the sunrise, climbed trees with ants crawling on them, splashed in pools, and felt the rain on my face.

Why have these walks been so life altering, …so healing? I guess what’s healing is the letting go, and the following of one’s spirit.

As we trekked each weekend braving the thorny branches of vilayati keekar, I learnt that there are many kinds of griefs, each very painful to the person experiencing it.

Over a period of time, I met other survivors.

Some of them casually mention the challenges they are coping with and in the beginning, I compared their pain to mine, but now I see that their pain is the worst they have known.

I have found empathy in unexpected places. I have learnt that I connect with, amongst other survivors: single mothers. Divorce is said to be comparable to death and is a traumatic experience, including blatant judgment from random people. The trauma remains unacknowledged: and then there is judgment instead of support. Having experienced it occasionally, and having been outraged by it, I can relate to this.

One walker I met (age, personal life no idea, no need to know) wanted to ‘experience life’ because he has been through hell and survived. And what has he survived? Believe it or not: Alcoholism. His struggle against something he doesn’t have control over, I would probably not have understood in my earlier life.

With this group, I feel I have come a long, long way. Shared passions build strong bonds. And yet. One casual question or remark can still become a trigger for me.

Recently the group celebrated their sixth anniversary. I had attended the celebration last year, so I knew that I would be able to attend this year too. And all was fine and fun until I heard the DJ ask – “Hey people the next one for the person you love the most!” No idea what the context was. Maybe he was just talking too much. Maybe I was overwhelmed anyway, just waiting for a trigger. But suddenly I became an outsider. Wished there was one person I could have looked at and seen them understand.
(This morning I am wondering if I was really the only one. How do I know nobody else struggled in their own way like I did? )

But here’s the thing. I could, with some effort, put the thought away and continue to act like I was not screaming inside; like I was not dying to join the one person who meant everything to me. And after some pretense, it became a fact. I started enjoying again. I could feel Tejaswee with me – with all her protective love, warmth, and positivity. And I was wearing a neckpiece that was hers. (Like some other moms in In Our Hearts Forever, I too always have something of hers with me).

I couldn’t have imagined this six years ago, or even two years ago. This mind-control is what coping with grief is all about, I feel. It’s an unimaginably painful journey, but know that there is hope – it does get better. You emerge so much stronger that you look at your own self in awe. I accept this with gratitude – maybe no power could prevent this pain – but if one is given so much pain then one should also be given the strength to deal with that pain. I am grateful to have reached this point.

Sharing this here to record my journey and to give those newer in this journey an idea of what they might expect in the coming years.

Some more thoughts from someone who has walked through grief and come out stronger –

1. Value your health. Everything else becomes tougher to cope with if health is also an issue.

2. If something gives you a moment of peace – don’t care what anybody says; listen to this guiding voice inside. Moments of joy lead to healing. Grab every bit of healing.

3. Avoid people or situations that trigger pain. Again, listen to this guiding voice inside. You won’t walk into a fire, think before you walk into pain.

4. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, be guided by yourself. I have been advised social work and shopping as alternatives to hiking – both are fine, but are not for me. There is no way I would have benefitted from these, the way I have from hiking, Brat Three, the Support Group, and this blog.

Note: Please email me if you know of someone who might want to join ‘In Our Hearts Forever’.

Related Posts:

In our hearts forever.

She will live forever in our hearts.

On 19th Jan 2014.

When we surprise ourselves.

Do dreams have meanings?

Do you believe that each day promises a fresh beginning?

2011… and an unbelievable dream.

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

Neerja.

How can watching something painful actually help someone in pain?

I had no idea what to expect from Neerja – but it turned out to be a cathartic experience. I identified with the mother and wanted to cry – aloud, even before anything began. The way Shabana Azmi wakes the daughter up, hating to wake her when she seemed to so need that sleep; then gladly letting her sleep just a little longer, snuggling up beside her, watching her asleep, her head on the pillow. I wanted the moments to last forever.

Shabana Azmi seemed to have experienced the scene, or the love – or else she is just a fantastic actor. Reminded me of another similar scene in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. where she has lost her family in an accident and here too she was equally relatable.

Even the mundane – the daughter teasing the mother for the way she dances, the clowning and the camaraderie. The everyday life I was so complacently content with and expected to last a lifetime. I cried at the unfairness of it all, but along with sadness and exhaustion I also felt a lightness.

I could hear other viewers crying too. What were their thoughts? How would I have found this movie if it was not seeing myself on the screen?

The family learns about the hijack and while they wait for information, It was us outside the ICU again, reassuring ourselves, insistently, that all would be well. The desperate hope that buying a yellow outfit could influence what they would soon learn… I wanted to reach out and hold their hands – tell them I understood.

The way the mother looks afterwards. Stunned. Dishevelled. The little girls walking to school. A photo album on her lap. It was like meeting a mother in our Child Loss support group. I wish. .. really wish I could meet this mother. 

I shared all of this on our group – In Our Hearts Forever and realised not everybody felt the same way. My husband too refused to watch this movie. Affirms what I have said earlier – the only person who can decide what works for them is the person experiencing the loss. 

The Voice.
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

Related Posts:

Talaash: Lakh duniya kahe

In our hearts forever.

Why I liked ‘Rabbit Hole’.

“Grieving parents behave in a different manner. ”

The right way to grieve.

When we surprise ourselves.

 

“I realise that I do not actually want to have kids of my own. I just don’t feel the need to have children of my own.

Sharing an email.
Subject: Childless or childfree?
Hello IHM,
For many years, I have been a keen follower of your posts and the comments which follow. Many of the women who  write to you and the followers of your blog probably look for many things – validation, affirmation, consolation, strength, support or just maybe different opinions on the topic being discussed. And I too come to the IHM family looking for perspectives on a question that has started troubling me these days.
At the very beginning, I must say, I come from a privileged background. Liberal parents, a very good higher education, married the man of my choice (albeit with a bit of struggle convincing his parents!) and turns out he is a feminist, my in laws are fairly conservative but we live abroad so haven’t had any issues yet, I work full time doing the thing I love most, have ample financial independence too. My husband and I treat each other as the equals that we are and he is every bit the person I had always wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Having said that, now that it has been two years since we were married and are now both 30, we are dreading the inevitable turn the conversation takes at this stage in every Indian couple’s lives – “when will you share the good news?”
I want to clear something first – I absolutely love and adore children. Now that I am in a position where we have to decide if this is what we want to go ahead with, I realise that I do not actually want to have kids of my own. My husband, as of now, feels the same way. But he is still vacillating between “not now” or “not ever”. Our reasons are different, I just don’t feel the need to have children of my own. My husband, on the other hand, feels we are not financially ready since we are both still paying off education loans.
The issue is, I do not know how to broach this topic with either set of parents. My dad, no matter how liberal in other things, believes there is a circle of life and everything happens one after another, education -> marriage -> children. My mother, quietly, has told me it is our choice. I’m not really sure if she is ok with it or not but for the moment, she seems to be on my side. My in laws, I haven’t spoken to yet, will probably be apoplectic when they hear that I do not want children. I will keep that aside for now.
With this, I hope I have explained my background well. I love kids, have not been abused as a child (no trust issues, etc), am financially quite stable (not that we cannot afford to have children). I just do not feel the inherent need that some women do to have a child of my own. I have a couple of questions:
1. Have any of your readers experienced the same feelings as mine? How did they handle it personally? I know now that I do not want to have kids but at the same time, I am full of doubts and questions – what if I regret this decision when I am no longer able to have children naturally (I can always adopt of course), will I be missing out on something wonderful in life? Will this affect my relationship with my husband? What if we split up?
2. How did they deal with pressure, questions and rumours from family and friends? (For example – Maybe they are infertile, how selfish of them not to have children, maybe he/she is having an affair or is gay or is unable to “do it”, how are you going to live in your old age? what if one of you dies?  you will be bored of each other within a few years, what is the use of earning so much, this is what happens when you give your kids too much freedom)
3. How is having or not having children selfish? If you have children because you want them, is that not selfish since you are doing it for your own happiness? Are we being “selfish” and depriving our parents of grandchildren (a couple of friends actually told me this)? How is this relevant, especially since we are going to be primary caregivers for the children and not the grandparents who will barely see the kids once in a while.
4. Why should we consider children as a security deposit to be encashed later in life? My husband and I should be managing our finances properly and planning for our old age, irrespective of having children or not. We should be keeping ourselves busy with friends and hobbies, not having children to keep yourself occupied!
5. Are couple who are childfree (implying choice) or childless (could not have children for various reasons) any less men or women or not contributing to society solely because they do not have children? How much do couples actually think before they embark upon being parents? Most couples I know went ahead because it had been X years since they got married and it was the right thing to do next.
We have not yet made the final decision since my husband is still thinking of it but it would be good to know what other people think. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Regards,
CF
Related Post:
 More related posts:

Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj

Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj

Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj has once again stirred a hornet’s nest by saying all Hindu women must produce at least four children.

In Meerut on Tuesday to address a gathering on the occasion of Sant Samaagam Mahotsava, he said, “The concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion.”

Link: Every Hindu woman must produce at least 4 kids: Sakshi Maharaj

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“A Hindu woman derives immense pleasure in sacrifice for her husband. The white man will never ever understand this.”

What makes someone find the concept of ghunghat appreciable?

Sindoor, Tali and Mangalsutra.

‘Mother india.. Flawless women… My grand salute to this mother..’

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

Why are mothers ignored, asks SC

While we claim to ‘worship’ mothers ( well, atleast the mothers of male children) do we really respect mothers or motherhood? 

How does the society ensure that motherhood does not come in the way of self reliance and basic human rights for women? (Do we give this a thought?)

Instead, it seems, many of us expect some parents (only women) to look upon parenting as a sacrifice, social obligation and duty.

Rights? Few.

Responsibilities? 

But here is a small ray of hope. 

Why are mothers ignored, asks SC

Link shared by K

Mothers hardly match the authority a father commands in official documents necessary to prove a person’s identity. While the father’s name prominently figures in government documents, the mother is usually given the go-by.

 

The Supreme Court is all set to change that.

….

The petition, filed by journalist Madhav Kant Mishra from Allahabad, says ignoring the parenthood of the mother in government documents is in gross violation of the Fundamental Right to Equality under Article 14 of the Constitution. It sought an ordinance making the mother’s name compulsory in documents.

Do we really respect mothers? 

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Mommy Guilt: A Western Influence.

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking and motherhood) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

An email: “She is considering having an abortion without telling her husband about it.”

“…and every month if my periods get delayed I am given a weird look and it clearly shows that she is afraid i might get pregnant again.”

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

Would Indra Nooyi like to be the kind of mother to her daughters that her mother has been to her?

An update: “My friend is having the baby because her mother absolutely refused to support her decision to abort.”

Sometimes also used to control women’s freedom and choices:

New scare for urban women: Menopause in 20s

“I waited for maternal love to overcome me – it didn’t… After my baby was born, I didn’t feel anything…”

Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.

An email: Is it selfish to not want to be parents yet?

Woman you are not doing anybody a favour…

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

Some other points that SC has raised in the past:

Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court

Marry Or Live With Anyone Of Your Choice.

Plain-clothed police officers, warning signboards, cancellation of permits, helplines: SC directs States to take serious steps to curb Street Sexual Harassment.

Don’t let off rapists on flimsy grounds, SC tells courts.

Why does Gender Sensitivity in Legal Language matter.

‘This issue might sound very trivial, any stranger talking to him for few minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.’

Sharing an email.

What makes these issues appear trivial? Why is it that many of us don’t seem to see that each of these ‘trivial issues’ contributes towards male child preference?

Dear IHM,

I would like to share my friend’s problem here. She lives in a foreign
country with her husband, two kids and works full time. She and her
husband have their own differences about values of life. He is
materialistic, expecting from the girl’s family, expects the wife to
give her salary to him on first of every month, share all her online
credentials. Long story short – a typical yesteryear Indian male
husband. On the other hand, he doesn’t spend much, teetotaler, takes
good care of the kids in her absence, cooks occasionally, saves for
the future, plans vacations and any stranger talking to him for few
minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.

My friend doesn’t share her credentials instead spends for monthly
expenses and then gives him the remaining savings as a bulk transfer
when needed for common investments and manages his tactics as and when they surface. They have been married for almost ten years now.

This issue I am going to share might sound very trivial but it bothers
my friend’s daily life very much and would really appreciate your
readers suggestions.

Their second child is less than one year old and the husband is not
helping to put the baby back to sleep at midnight wake ups. He just
continues “pretend” to sleep and my friend has to wakeup at least two
times between 11pm-5am every single night to pat the baby back to
sleep. Sometimes the baby sleeps with a feed, sometimes she has to
walk around for a while which is challenging for her considering her
back pain and inability to carry weights for long time and sometimes
nothing works. The baby bawls and my friend struggles. As this
situation repeats, she gets more irritated with her husband resulting
in shouting at him, showing faces and going on a no talking strike for
few days. He also doesn’t change diapers, doesn’t bath or feed the
baby. All she is asking him to do is to carry the baby for few minutes
and walk around when the baby cries at night or take turns in handing
the baby at night. He simply says he is not comfortable with doing
them when she tried to have a conversion with him. But, the same man
carries the baby during daytime and plays with the baby. He definitely
loves his children and wishes the best for them. There is no doubt
about it.

How can my friend handle this situation? She can’t continue to wake up
many times every night as she starts to work early in the morning and
also have to take care of her elder one, pack dabbas and other sundry
works of the home. She can’t take a break from work as she feels that
the little bit self respect and personal space will be totally at a
toss. She has been working since the day she married him and even have
heard her husband’s relative referring her as a “golden goose” to him.

Thank you IHM and your readers.

Warm Regards

Related Posts:

I Want To Be A Dad. – Radhika Vaz

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

A good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

An email: “I find it very hard to forgive my husband for all that happened at the time of my delivery.”

Why Scandinavian women make the rest of the world jealous.

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

First name, Unwanted. Second name, Dad’s or Husband’s name.

‘How I am going to manage two toddlers, work, home, chores etc etc without any physical and moral support from my in laws?’

How can the society ensure that marriage (and homemaking) does not result in women becoming financially dependent on their husbands?

And if a woman demands equality, she should behave exactly like a male…

“My problem is my wife doesn’t like me hanging out with friends.”

Sharing a comment from A Reader. What do you think?

I have been married to my wife for a year and a half, and we have an infant child. I work while my wife stays home. My problem is she doesn’t like me hanging out with friends.

When I get home she gives me the silent treatment. I barely see my friends anymore — and when I do, they come here. If they stay any longer than 30 minutes, it causes a problem and my wife again won’t talk to me for the rest of the night.

I have tried to compromise, but she feels as though any time I spend away from her and the baby is a no-no. Am I wrong?

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

What do you think of this mother? How do you think would the ‘social order’ be impacted with this kind of parenting? Have you ever met mothers or parents or families like this?

Link shared by Gk from tears&dreams, with the message: “Felt like sharing the article with you. Its funny and sweet and talks about family in a way that would be hard to imagine for most Indians. I can’t think of anyone else who’d understand why I loved it.”

Can you think of two people who would love this story?

MODERN LOVE

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War

The day my daughter arrived home from her first year in college, her boyfriend moved in. They didn’t consult me.

One day I was happily living alone in my two-bedroom Seattle apartment, and the next I had two teenage roommates, one of whom I hardly knew. The boyfriend, who was still a high school senior, had been my daughter’s summer fling before she left for college last September.

With my last child gone, I thought I’d be terribly sad and lonely. And I was — for about 10 minutes. After I had spent a brief stint lying on her bed mourning her childhood, I did what my own mother had done: I gathered the stuff she had left behind and moved it to the basement storage unit.

Then I took over the office nook she had claimed (but hardly ever used) and made it my own.

I installed shelves and filled them with my reference books. I stocked the refrigerator and cupboards with gluten-free, low-fat food. I bought soap in scents that pleased me and shampoo that suited my hair type. I rearranged the furniture and cleaned the house from top to bottom.

With each pass of the vacuum, I found myself becoming cheerier. My husband had moved to our farm on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington with our two dogs to pursue his dream of being a homesteader, changing our marriage into a long-distance arrangement with occasional weekend visits. I found myself, for the first time in 35 years, living alone in a perfectly tidy apartment. I loved it.

….

When I asked if the boyfriend might help out a little by doing dishes or taking out the compost, my daughter said, “He’s phobic about getting his hands dirty.”

“I’m sure that works well for him,” I replied.

Weeks passed as the lovebirds languished in my apartment. I’d leave for work at 10:30 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. to find them exactly where I had left them: sprawled on the couch watching reruns of “Monk.” The only way I could tell they had even moved was that the food I had bought for dinner was gone and the kitchen was a mess.

The boyfriend’s mother, upset that her 18-year-old son hardly came home anymore…

Please do read the entire story at – 

The Messy-Kitchen, Parking-Spot War

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The Powers of the Protectors.

If she was born somewhere else.

How many parents in India will do this instead of hushing it up if the case didn’t come into the lime light?

Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

“A clandestine, and irresponsible, affair may prove dangerous. A city girl learnt it the hard way,”

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Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

Irresponsible girls who throw away their lives while in throes of lust for the completely wrong person…

No second chances for an Indian daughter.

Who defines the ‘limits’ of your freedom?

Who benefits from criminalizing consensual teenage sex?

Teenage Pregnancies – not our culture…

Teenagers!

“Here’s what I would tell my future/potential daughter, if I ever have one.”

“I need suggestions – these girls are ruining their lives with their stupid ideas about love.”

BJP and Trinamool are objecting to a lower age of consent on the ground that this is in conflict with “conservative norms” of Indian society.

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Why is abuse by parents taken so lightly by Indians?

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

Pregnant at fifteen? No moral issues. Unmarried and pregnant at fifteen. Degeneration of society.

Introducing a new family member.

An eight year old, spirited, determined, smart and sensitive little girl joined our family on 21st July 2012. On this blog I am going to call her Brat Three. [Blogged about Brat One and Brat Two, here, here , here, here, here ….]

We had not planned to adopt an eight year old, all along we were sure a new born or at the most a three or four, or even a five year old would be easier for us to raise. One of the reasons I want to blog about raising Brat Three is to share the surprises that older child adoption brought for us.

The challenges too, but we seem to hear about the challenges all the time. I also feel some of these challenges apply to all parent-child relationships.

We had expected to work at helping an eight year old adjust to a new environment, school, family, food and life, while teaching her new languages. The first surprises were her determination to work at all of the above, and our own lack of unrealistic (or any) expectations. We were just happy to have her as our daughter.

And the first challenge was reassuring her that she didn’t really have to try so hard, that most of it would happen over time and that we were a family, no matter how long she took.

Although all our doubts about adopting an older child vanished once we met Brat 3, I still wanted to be sure we were not romanticising adoption. We wanted to have realistic expectations. So, what could go wrong with something that felt so right to us? We asked friends and family what to expect and what to be prepared for. 

Were we ready, after all these years, to once again deal with home work, tiffin boxes, PTMs and waking up early or missing the school bus? We actually looked forward to most of these.

Were we ready to replace the freedom of watching news hour debates night after night with reading bed time stories?  We quite looked forward to that too.

At first I had planned to home-school her for one year, to bring her to the level of other children her age, but was glad to find the two schools I approached (via friends) willing to work with her, at her pace.

2012-09-04 19.20.19 - Me Mamma, Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

Since our expectations were almost nil, it was difficult to understand, even for me, why it was something we so eagerly looked forward to. Why did we think taking on  the responsibility of raising an eight year old child was going to make us happy? One of my biggest concerns was, being able to raise a happy child, when we knew even our happiest moments were never going to be free from pain. But then, along with happiness, the way we see disappointments has changed too. 

I am grateful to whoever shared this link sometime after August 2010 –  Pain of loss eases with adoption. Reading how Tamara Thomas felt about her loss was like reading my own thoughts; but when I first read this post, I wasn’t sure about adopting a nine year old. There were no doubts about wanting to adopt, only we had a smaller child in mind. After Brat 3 joined us, I spent hours on the internet trying to find Tamara Thomas’ blog, I had forgotten her name, all I remembered was ‘adoption after death of daughter’. When I finally found it, it felt like she was talking about my relationship with Brat three, this strong willed little girl who changed our lives, made us busier, changed our focus, made us happier than we ever hoped to feel.

My mother, who had been unwilling to say anything earlier, pointed out, “Your voice has changed again, it had changed when…  (She never says Tejaswee died, and I still have to keep saying it to believe it.) …but now you sound almost like your old self.”  

So did we adopt because we expected this little girl to make us feel better? All we knew was that we were very sure that we wanted to adopt a child. Once she came home, it felt like she had always been here. I keep marvelling at the wonder of adoption, how it connects total strangers to make happy families.

Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

Also, I do believe that anything one does, one does (and must do) because one expects to feel better. If we didn’t expect to feel good about it why would we have adopted? And yet, I have no idea why it helped so much, it has helped more than I would have ever dared to hope. And it helped each one of us.

It helped Brat Three too. Once when a friend in the orphanage handed her a fallen eye lash to make a wish, she said she had wished for her adoptive family to come soon. Now that that wish has been granted she says, she is waiting to find another fallen eye lash so that she can make a wish to meet Santa. 🙂 (She does suspect it wasn’t Santa but dad who got her a gift hamper on Christmas eve, but wants to keep an open mind 😉 )

Brat 3 and Santa, Brat Three, Older Child Adoption, Eight year old

 Sneaked in some pictures of Brat Three in these posts:

Some action shots direct from a recent battle field!!

Guess which one of these Rangoli Portraits is me?

This afternoon.

[Read about Brat One and Two, here, here , here, here, and here]

Links: Older Child Adoption

Pain of loss eases with adoption – Tamara Thomas

Adopting an older child: Is fear holding you back?

Take a Chance on Me

Some adoption parenting resources

An email:The whole world is telling me that my time has come to finally do what all women are supposed to : have babies!!!

Sharing an email.

Dear IHM,

I have recently resigned and am planning to take a break from  my hectic and quite high profile job to do things I always wanted. Read, write, travel in trains across India, volunteer, play with my dog, stare at ceiling and ponder about meaning of life!! All those things which I dreamt of and couldn’t really do to satisfaction. I made decent money. My partner had taken a break 8 years ago and now is earning well enough for both of us to have a decent life till I decide to spring back, after which he might take a break again.

The point I am writing to you is, I noticed that the moment I announced my break, everybody I know started speculating about BABY!!!! Was I pregnant, was I planning to be pregnant, why wasn’t I planning to be pregnant now that my career was not a barrier? Did I think my dog was a lifelong substitute for my own baby? Was I not worried that the clock was ticking away and we would be left with a lonely life without kids? My god. I was  aware of these assumptions but they never felt so intrusive till they were made about me. It was as if taking a break to do these things was not good enough use of my time:):)

Anyway, so I started thinking about how in our culture women are always assumed to want to become mothers. We have never wanted children and feel very satisfied in our choices. That’s not to say that we never feel dissatisfied or worried or unhappy. Like everyone else, with kids or not: we also feel the modern urban blues. But never ever have we thought/ felt that children would be the answer for us. We always felt that a child is a tremendous responsibility and unless we really were ready to take it on, we would rather not do something just because our culture dictates that we are incomplete without one.

But increasingly as I approach the mid thirties, I have noticed that people associate baby with everything 🙂 🙂 I was quite down and out last year : Bang. my mother started telling me how not having baby makes women sad!! We got a dog. Bang : My friend told me how a dog could never be a substitute for a baby. (I didn’t have a heart of telling her, a new mother, that I infinitely preferred dogs over babies. I am crazy about dogs since I was a kid and could finally manage to get one: it never entered my head that I was somehow compensating for a baaabbbbyy). I am taking a break. Bang. The whole world is telling me that my time has come to finally do what all women are supposed to : have babies!!!

And this is quite liberal set of people I am talking about. I just shrug and forget since this is quite an irrelevant topic in our lives.  but this has led me to be interested in this whole phenomenon of child free.  I surf child free forums a lot and its great fun to see how people across cultures feel that having children is seen as a default in society. But they are primarily based out of US/ Europe.

I would be interested to know apna Indian thoughts on why do you think people always assume that women have to have babies to be complete? Or if they don’t there is something medically wrong with them? Or that they are too childish/ selfish/ irresponsible? (I mean people have children because they want to. So how not having children because one wants to be termed selfish)?  Do you think that women are somehow judged if they don’t want to be mothers? Unique Indian take by Unique Indian feminist blogger IHM please 🙂 🙂

Cheers
Happily child free

Related Posts:

An email: Is it selfish to not want to be parents yet?

New scare for urban women: Menopause in 20s

“I waited for maternal love to overcome me – it didn’t… After my baby was born, I didn’t feel anything…”

Society benefits immensely from childbearing, childrearing, and caregiving work that currently goes unpaid.

How are mothers treated in Indian culture?

All women want to be mothers.

Woman you are not doing anybody a favour…

An update: “My friend is having the baby because her mother absolutely refused to support her decision to abort.”

Whose Life Is It Anyway?