The Question of Birth

“A child gives birth to a mother”, read a striking mural in Mumbai that set me thinking. It is a beautiful statement of profound sensitivity yet biological contradiction. And the depth of the contradiction struck me. A woman gives birth to a child but it is the child who gives birth to a mother. The ability to bring forth life is the most sacred privilege of a woman. However, the pain undergone in this creation is also one of the greatest known. Nevertheless, the kindling of the spirit of motherhood and its experience is the justice of the child.

Innumerable paeans and prose have captured the glory of a mother. Yet ever wondered what makes her so strong, so giving and so forgiving? Are these qualities innate in a woman? Yes, but only to a small extent. There is an extreme emotional transition at the birth of a child. This new surge of emotions is the result of conception of a new relationship and the consequent hormonal changes. The unremitting waves of love, incessant warmth of care and the spirit of nurturing define a mother. The little angel cocooned inside her is both the benefactor and the beneficiary of these feelings. The presence of this well of love in a mother is not a rule but usually the norm.

Yet, a conundrum comes to mind, is a loving mother also an equally loving person? Does the personification of sacrifice and unconditional love retain itself in other relationships also? We know the answer to this is not affirmative, or else we would have Goddesses all around. A mother’s love is centered most protectively around her own child. She smilingly sleeps in the wetness of her child, happily gives her share of the bread to him and wakes up readily at the slightest moan of her baby. Her love, if not confined, is concentrated on her own offspring.

A child is biologically his parents’ extension. Whether born of love or lust, he is physically a part of the mother, which adds immensely to the mother-child bonding. Does it imply that a mother’s love is evoked for the fact that the child is her creation? It is not totally a baseless assumption. A writer falls in love with his characters, an artist falls in love with his canvas, and a musician falls in love with his notes. Similarly, it is not unthinkable that a mother falls in love with her own ‘created’ child, who unlike other creations is rather alive and kicking, and mirror of her aspirations.

Another facet to this love is, does an adopted child also give birth to a similar mother? When a woman is unable to conceive a child that she so desires, a growing anguish and sadness engulfs her. The grief accentuates looking at other parents blissfully involved with their kids. In such times, the adopted child is then lavished with all the pent up affection and mollycoddled even more so, for he fills the noiseless void in his parents’ lives.

However, what happens when you have your own child and an adopted orphan as well? Though this practice is quite uncommon, it is catching up with celebrities. Nevertheless, it is of interest to ponder over the implications of such hypothetical families over a broader and general spectrum. This is the iron test of motherhood. Is a mother’s heart large enough to look beyond her own progeny? It is almost effortless for a mother to love and forgive her child but can she show similar feelings of effortless love for the other child as well. Why have we most often than not presented a stepmother in, even if flimsy, but a garb of wickedness. Yes, there is certainly an exaggeration in fiction, but fiction is also inspired by reality. A stepmother is also a loving mother but does the stepchild find the same place in her heart as her own child?

The question is open ended without any conclusion for it will be unjust to be judgmental about such a sensitive emotion. Motherhood is a very different avatar of the same woman. A child gives birth to a new set of emotions and feelings. Every mother loves his child irrespective of his physical and mental abilities or disabilities. However, it is for every mother and every woman to see if the gifted experience of motherhood can enrich her with even more love to spread beyond the question of birth.

02 comments on “The Question of Birth

  • Poonam , Direct link to comment

    the earlier comment was by me also… I was logged in by A's id so put it as anonymous :). Nice post…

  • Anonymous , Direct link to comment

    When it comes to adopted child and the child whom you gave birth, it really comes down to how the relationship has grown between the three. A mother is responsible to treat both the child equally, but sometimes she ends up being a little more affectionate to her child… which sometimes also happens in cases when a mother has two kids and she gets biased to one of them because of some reason. If the woman has grown into mother loving a child, she will love him/her all her life, irrespective of if he/she is her own or someone else's, I think…

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