Today morning I got a call for attending to a delivery. She was brought to her hospital by her husband, who thought she was suffering from gastritis. And he hadn’t the slightest inkling to the fact that she was pregnant. Why would he suspect? In fact, he had just come back home from abroad about a month back.
This lady, a staff nurse, had been in working in a hospital in Bangalore where she says she had been raped. Though she told someone in Bangalore, they advised her to hush the whole thing up. Though she missed her period and knew she had conceived, she kept quiet about it. And when she came back home, with her tummy distended, she told everyone that it was “gas”.
She would keep to herself in a room, hardly coming out or talking to anyone. She even contemplated taking her own life, but she admitted that she was too scared to do it. But how long could she keep everyone including herself in the dark? The baby chose to come out into the world today.
She delivered a baby boy, who was slightly underweight, but perfectly fine otherwise.
The mother-in-law came in to see the baby. I told her, it’s a baby boy. She had a look at the baby, but how could she be happy? She was trying to recover from the shock that her daughter in law just had a baby. She said, that the mother had been called and was on her way.
The mother-in-law herself had lost her daughter a few months back. Her daughter had committed suicide because of a failed love affair.
This turn of events has made me feel very restless. I am in no position to judge this woman, my duty is only to provide her my service. I don’t know what the truth is, or even if the truth really matters. All that I feel is sympathy for her, who even though educated, was not able to get the care and support of the society. She was so afraid of the society and of being judged by her close ones that she couldn’t think of turning to them for support. She couldn’t think of approaching someone to help her out of the deep mess she had got into. And what about this little baby boy, whose entry into this world is unwelcome and unwanted? Who will shower love and care on him? Will he be punished for coming into this world when there is no fault of his? What about this baby’s father? Does he even have an idea about all this? He is nowhere in the picture at all. Why does the woman have to suffer always, and the men can just go scot-free? What has gone wrong in our system? Where have we failed as a society?

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Divya Pai

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