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August 30, 2010

Shouldn't Loving Your Child Be The Easiest Thing in The World...?

When Arissa wakes up in the middle of the night, I am there to comfort her, to nurse her, to love her. When she falls asleep, I lay beside her, stroking her hair, covering her with a blanket, making sure she is warm and cozy. When she had colic, and cried for hours at a time, I held her in my tired, sore arms to try to soothe her however I could. Whenever I find Arissa watching me or looking up at me, I make it a point to look into her eyes and give her a smile, no matter what mood I might be in at the time. These are things that I do to show her that she is cared for and to say – Don’t ever worry…you are and will always be loved.

Just going for a short drive or to a nearby store tugs at my 'mother's heart' these days. I am currently living in Bangladesh and millions and millions of children here live below the poverty line. So every trip out of the house means looking out of the car window and watching countless children begging on the streets and numerous babies sitting on the curbs naked. Few nights ago, while I sat in traffic, I watched one such child. She seemed like she was almost 1, although quite small in size, and she was sitting by the side of the road wailing and crying. I have seen numerous children, crying and alone, on my previous visits to Bangladesh. Usually sorrow would wash over me, however, it would never linger to long or too hard. But this time I was a mother. I had a whole new set of physiological and psychological reactions. It was much much harder to bear to listen or watch a baby or even a child in distress. On that night, as I watched this little girl, I had this feeling of my 'heart-strings' being yanked and twisted. Suddenly, this child had morphed in my mind and taken the shape of my Arissa. I saw her, sitting there naked, filthy and crying as she searched for me. It broke my heart. I sat there with tears streaming down my face thinking about this baby's despair. What had she done, that she had deserved to be born into poverty? She was a baby too, like my baby; beautiful and innocent. When I wiped my tears and looked back at the child, she was no longer there. I leaned closer to the window and peered both ways when I finally saw her. Her mother had come! The mother wiped her baby's tears; the little baby tilted her head onto her mother's shoulders and was carried away.

As we drove home, I thought about all the children of the world. How does God choose? Which ones will be poor? Which ones will become orphans? The more I thought, the more hopeless it all felt. The babies of the world continued to float around in my mind as I lay in bed that night. Then my heart had a sinking realization, one I’m sure I knew but had never allowed into my conscious mind in order to protect that ‘mother’s heart’ of mine. What about all the children who were being neglected, or worse, being abused? An image of a baby, with Arissa's face yet representing all the innocent babies of the world, hurled into my head. The baby was crying, in desolation, on a bed somewhere in a dark room, hungry and scared. But this time, there was no mother. No one was concerned for this baby and this baby would eventually fall asleep, from exhaustion and sadness, after hours of squalling with no one bothering to respond. I tried shaking the picture out of my head, as I unfortunately must do whenever I picture a child in misery because it is too much to stand. But I couldn’t escape it this time. No matter, how hard I shut my eyes or how vigorously I shook my head, a new baby would shimmer in and twist my insides in to knots; abandoned babies, neglected babies, abused babies. I wanted to just shut down my brain; just stop living for a few seconds and start afresh, without these babies haunting me. Suddenly, my sorrow turned into maddening rage. Rage directed towards those people, those mothers or fathers who were responsible for those childrens’ fates.

Usually when a child is born into poverty, or war, it is out of their parents’ control. Sure, the parents could have chosen not to have children (let's put birth control knowledge out of this discussion), but that may mean a lonely, meaningless life for most of these couples who have usually no career or exciting fast paced lifestyles to keep themselves busy and fulfilled. Most of these destitute parents are still capable of love and provide it in their own ways to the little miracles they get. These babies may still experience being rocked to sleep in their mother’s arms and the support of their father’s hands when they first learn to walk. However, when a child is born to a parent/parents who are not prepared or willing to put that child’s needs first, to set aside their lifestyles, addictions and selfishness, that child is really unfairly getting the short end of the stick. Love, for a baby, is just as important a need as nourishment. Why is it that some people forget the preciousness of a new life, the helplessness of a tiny being? What makes a parent, a mother, think she has the right to neglect her baby, night after night? What about the mother, who chooses to continue smoking while a vulnerable little life grows inside her? Is her selfish addiction for a smoke (which I’m sure she knows is bad for the baby) greater than the well-being of that child? What about the baby abandoned in a trash bin on a cold night? Did that little human not deserve at least the respect and courtesy of being discarded somewhere safer and warmer? Along the way, have so many mothers lost the basic instincts of motherhood? Remember those physiological and psychological reactions I was talking about? When those questions form in my head with an image of a crying 'Arissa', a hungry 'Arissa', it hurts (like when I think of my father - the love and sadness actually physically hurts). Psychologically I feel crazy and powerless and I feel like these children are sitting on my heart, heavy and cramped; then like their crap parents are clouting that very same heart.

The children born in to war or poverty are victims of circumstances, as are their parents. The children born into neglect, selfishness and abuse are victims of those who inflict such suffering on them. These children who may live in a society with wealth and education but grow up in a home where their souls are torn apart bit by bit until these once innocent, pure-minded children become hollow and broken. These children will lose their humanity and possibly one day fracture and damage another clean-slate of a child. When a mother has a baby, she gets a pure piece of heaven; so why can't ALL babies get a mother/father who will love that baby with every ounce of their being? Is it too much for that sweet bundle to ask for, to expect, to deserve, to hope for? NEVER...If I could, I would creep into each new mother's room and whisper threats into their ears - that no matter what her circumstance, she must promise to always be there for that child and if she broke that promise...I was..well, going to 'get her'. I also wish, that every new life this world welcomes, goes home in loving arms and with a mother who will whisper softly in their ears - Don't ever are and will always be loved.

That Pure Innocence I was talking about...can you see it?
This Quote by Charlotte Gray touched me soo deeply, I needed to share it with all the other mothers who might read this: "Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on, each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering m others of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate."


Yusra.K said...

it means alot that you wrote this bubu, i love how caring you are <3

Afsana K said...

aww bubu this is so sweet and touchin..bought tears to my eyes

Anonymous said...

:s Sorry about the HaHa, it was meant for the post below

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