Being Women

Is Motherhood All About Sacrifices and Compromises?

A short story that describes a woman's painful journey as she tries her best to be a mother.

Akshita was preparing her evening tea when she glanced at the kitchen calendar. Mother’s Day was approaching, and she was not going to mess it up like last year. She had forgotten to wish her mother-in-law last time, and she would never dare to repeat it again.

She was willing to give it all up to experience motherhood

As Akshita poured her tea, she realized how lonely she had been lately. Back when she was working, teatime meant a hot topic to discuss. Now, all she had was an occasional chat with her neighbour by the balcony, listening to the latter’s complaints. It always amused her how moms blamed their kids for all their life’s problems, be it their weight, lifestyle, work-life balance, or lack of personal space. Yet she was willing to give it all up to experience motherhood.

Tea was unfavourable for her ‘Vata Dosha’….

Staring at the thin film forming on the tea, Akshita sighed, she just couldn’t bring herself to drink it. “You should give up on tea.” She remembered her aunt’s suggestion. She always had advice gathered from women’s magazines or social media and she was never shy to share them. This morning, it was the tea, which was unfavourable for her ‘Vata dosha’. And so, she drained her evening cup of pure bliss down the drain.

She looked back at all that she had left behind

First, she gave up her job to reduce stress, then stopped eating outside in favour of home-cooked meals, and then her evening snacks. But no number of lifestyle changes, fasts, meditation, or religious ornaments had borne her a child. Yet she blindly followed them. While she had slowly sacrificed her life’s small pleasures, no such advice was given to her husband, Rohan. He continued to have late-night meetings and business dinners.

Akshita entertained herself, looking at the park from the balcony. The little kids were playing at the park while their nannies chatted by the bench. Few moms and grandparents were also around, but in the last few years, this task has been delegated to household help.

She quit her job to try to have kids

She had never imagined her life as a working mom, even as a child. She had known forever that she would one day leave the job to care for her kids, but little did she know she would have to quit to have a chance to have kids. She was impressed with how well the women around her juggled their jobs and motherhood. Maybe that was the reason why her friends at work opposed her decision to quit her job.

The names that she was called for not having a child

Akshita had just returned from a family reunion at Rohan’s house, and everyone had the same concern for the couple. Someone cited an article from a women’s magazine about modern couples and ‘DINK (Double Income, No Kid) culture’. Rohan’s aunt called her ‘ Career Lady’ and the name caught on. “The commute to the office is adding to my stress”, explained Akshita, but her friends insisted that she might end up regretting her decision. They could not comprehend her constant yearning for validation.

The choices she never made…

Akshita wanted to study music, but she graduated in science to make a better impression on society. She never left her city for education because that was expected of the girls in her family. She fell in love once but never responded to the boy’s advances out of fear for her family’s image. She never had any aspirations to earn a living or climb the corporate ladder. She took a job only after getting approval from her in-laws.

Akshita was lost in the memories when she noticed Rohan hurrying inside the apartment gate. Perplexed, she picked up her phone, only to find a barrage of missed calls and messages on him. “Not checking your phone today?” complained Rohan. “Take a look at the messages.” He continued impatiently. Akshita hardly received any calls. All the phone calls were dutifully made by her to family and friends.

She then noticed it. A message that mattered to her.

“Saanvi!” She muttered.

Finally, luck smiles at her

Akshita had finalised the baby’s name long before she started the adoption journey. Exhausted from the painful fertility treatments that always started filled with hope and ended in dismay, the couple had started considering adoption. They were always on board with the idea, but convincing Rohan’s family was a roller coaster of emotional drama. After a lot of convincing, they got acceptance from the family and went through the tedious process of getting acceptance from the adoption agency. “It’s a pity!  We are miserable here, yet there are so many families killing their baby girls.” Rohan had complained when he realised how long the waitlist could be. 

“She is Sanvi. She is our Sanvi. I know she is!” cried Akshita, opening the door for Rohan. “Hold on!” said Rohan. “Don’t let your hopes up; there is still a lot to do.” That night, they scanned through the forms and documents, prepared lists of medical tests for the baby and baby items, and finalised the itinerary. 

When Akshita saw her innocent face, she fell in love with Sanvi. Just a few months ago, she was left at the altar of a temple, and the priests had helped her meet the social worker. They had done this many times for girls born into families that only wanted sons. The adoption process took a couple of days, and each passing minute of the day brought new anxiety to the couple’s minds.

Finally, on a hot Sunday afternoon, Saanvi was officially their daughter. Holding the little girl’s tiny fingers, Rohan stared at Akshita and murmured, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Unable to take her eyes off her beautiful daughter, Akshita said, “Thank you”, not knowing whom she was thanking.

Just then, she remembered something important. “You know what? I don’t have a reason to forget this year. Call your mom before we get a howler again!”


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