I was not very maternal at the start. It took one cuddle with my just born baby, seconds after her birth (she wasn’t even cleaned then) to make my heart sing maternal melodies. There she was, all covered with muck, bawling away madly; frightened out of wits in the funny world in whichshe had just landed. The sound of my heart-beat seemed to calm her a bit. (A familiar beat in a vastly unfamiliar world?)
Exhausted with the complicated C-section, I was only too glad to gaze at her in wonder, her tiny bay arousing all my maternal instincts instantaneously. So life converts many a hard core fundamentalist.
That was my first born. Thereafter we tried for another, faced some medical roadblocks and panicked. The doctors assured me that science has progressed hugely and this was a little complication, nothing that they couldn’t sort out. A year later I was tired of the medical pricking and prodding in the name of trying to conceive. It exhausted me mentally as well as physically. Seeing God’s will clearly enunciated in the nth negative pregnancy test, we decided to bid artificial conception a goodbye and count our blessings – namely my first born.
Perhaps god was tired of the continuous population explosion.
So I decided to focus on what I had and train all my energies on bringing her up. It would have been marvellous to have had a boy as well. Don’t get me wrong-not for the traditional Indian reasons like carrying forward the name of the family or “who will light my pyre when I die?”.
Do I know the name of any of my ancestors beyond my granddaddy? Nope! So there. As for the pyre business the much touted advances in science will surely do the needful.
No, it would have been nice and different to bring up a boy. Lord knows boys are different from girls, never mind what the feminists say about gender equality, etc.
Ever the optimist, I counted my blessings. Another round of nappy changing, bottle feeding nights would surely kill me. I can concentrate on my job now. Then there were finances, etc. For me the decision was wrested out of my hands. But for couples who are lucky to be able to procreate at will should pause before err… jumping in.
Before starting a family, it is wise to sit down and plan a bit. The key questions would be:-
- How many kids do you BOTH want?
- How many kids can you support in your current financial scenario?
- Do you have the infrastructure and support system for multiple kids?
- How demanding is your job?
- Does your health permit multiple pregnancies?
It would surely be criminal to give birth to a child and let it languish because you don’t have time, energy or the will to care for it.