Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Mother’s Day Prayer for women that long to be a Mother

First things first: earlier today, I wished my mother, my mother-in-law and my wife.  I am completely respectful of all of the love and affection that they shower upon me and my son.  But here’s the thing - this post is not about them.  I have wished them personally today.  I have prayed for their well-being, in private.  But I will have to write about them later in a separate post.  This post is about those women that I know (and frankly, even for those women that I don’t know personally; after all, this is meant to be a prayer) that have not been blessed with a child of their own and yearn for one.  Amidst all the pink balloons, greeting cards, twitter messages and facebook posts that have been flying thick and fast today, I’d like to spare a moment to think about some of the wonderful women that I have known that have gone through deep anguish, feelings of hurt, moments of loneliness and even the feeling of being let down by the Almighty as they continue to long for a child of their own.  It’s just not fair.  Without exception, these are wonderful people, blessed with the kindness of heart, generosity of spirit and I dare say, a truly, deeply maternal attitude that they extend to those that may have not been their biological children but nevertheless...The very least I can do is to be acknowledging of a vacuum that they may have experienced in their lives and pray to God to not let them down any more. 

(Three quick notes before I proceed any further– (1) Since today is ‘Mother’s Day,’ I am writing about women, though I have also seen men go through equal amount of suffering.  (2) This post is not about women who have chosen not to have children.  I am absolutely respectful of their choices.  This is just about women that have longed for a child but haven’t been blessed with one yet.  (3) I am taking the topic of adoption off the table.  It is an extremely personal topic for the people concerned that I don’t feel right to include it in this post which is more of a lament and a dirge.)

When I was in my teens, following my grandpa’s death, I went through a rather long, painful phase when I began questioning the existence of God.  I just could never fathom his sudden passing away.  As a kid, it felt totally unfair that my grandma went to the Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Mylapore every goddamn day (pun intended for sure) and yet God felt the need to take away my grandpa one fine day in a freak accident when he was only 61.  Many people tried to ‘explain’ things to me.   I got some well-meaning advice from people who either spouted clichés (“Mysterious are the ways of the Lord”) or said things that felt downright inane (“Maybe your grandpa would have suffered from health issues later in life and God didn’t want that.”  Yeah right, I thought!).  None of that swayed me the right way towards comfort or closure until I had a thought that gave me a reasonable amount of closure years later, when I was in my mid 20s.  And that thought was, I don't have to believe that God is perfect.  The moment I started taking the perfection element out of God from my mind, the better fleshed out my spirituality and piety became.  And that is because my response to any suffering experienced by my near and dear is, “Dear God, you have let person X down.  Could you please fix it?”  Actor Parthiban once wrote a wonderful line, “Uruvam Thavirthu Unara Thodangu…Kaadhalo…Kadavulo.”  Of course, if my prayers were so potent, I would not be writing a post like this where I continue to see people suffer.  But that ‘unarvu’ part that Parthiban writes about is what I experience deeply, intensely.  That form of a silent prayer is the only way that I can feel less indignant and more hopeful.  Any discourse or defense of the Lord as a 'perfect' superpower drives me up the wall.  I may be right, I may be wrong.  But as paradoxically as it may sound, the lack of deifying the Lord is the only way I get comfort out of an unknown force when I see my fellow human beings suffer in myriad ways, one of which is prolonged longing for a child of their own.

Since this is an extremely sensitive topic, I don’t want to mention names or even define any characteristics of specific people.  But there’s one person I know in a professional setting, who has always been a fantastic leader.  She has always cared for her team deeply, made sure that they felt a sense of belonging and that she did everything she could to back them and make them maximize their potential.  She does not have any children of her own.  Truth to be told, I have never heard her speak much about this.  But on multiple occasions, I had seen deep hurt in her eyes when someone asked if she had children.  It used to amaze me the enthusiasm with which she organized baby showers at work for her team members before they would go on maternity leave.  It will be no exaggeration to state that she treated her team members with an almost maternal attitude.  During any of her team members’ personal crises, she was a rock solid pillar of support…like a mother.  Since this is an extremely delicate topic, I have never and would never be able to say out loud to her that she can consider me a son that she never had.  But I have tried my best to be as nice to her as possible and as reciprocal of her generosity as I can.  So, in a way, I don’t need to say it out loud to her; I can possibly try to speak louder with sincere actions and thoughtful gestures the way she has always interacted with her team members

It is when I think of people like these that I feel like beseeching the Almighty: if we mortals are HIS children, should HE not give his children – that want to be blessed with children of their own – the joys of creation that HE experiences when we enter this world?  I fully realize that this is a loaded question, the answer to which I will never receive from any trusted source!  But as I wrote earlier, instead of searching for answers, I will continue to pray to the unknown force above me to not let his children down.  And, I will continue to place the women, like my former colleague, on an even loftier pedestal than I place the unknown force above me.  I don’t mean to sound sacrilegious.  It’s simple logic – I am sorry to say but I have seen more perfection in these children of the Lord than I have seen in the Lord HIMSELF.

9 comments:

Kousi Murali said...

That is so true-I know several people who are genuinely happy when their friends expect children although they are longing one for themselves. I have always been praying for specific people but you have opened my eyes on the needs of unknown women as well. Will surely pray for them

ravishanker sunderam said...

Ram Murali : I'm really out of my depth here. Trust you to dig deep and write on not just one but other taboo topics as well in this one article. The very questioning of faith. As opposed to yesteryear I do see women who dont seem to have the need to be made "whole" by the experience of child bearing.

While on the subject of faith in the "Almighty" which you've explored so well I remember talking to one of my instructors in a public speaking class that I attended. This lady had lost her husband recently and this was the first time I was interacting one on one with her and she had no qualms about opening up to a stranger and telling me she'd totally lost faith in God. So many questions No answers.....

Ram Murali said...

Ravishanker - thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I must be thankful to my family (by the way, the commenter above, Kousi Murali is my Amma!) for giving me the permission to think and the license to make my own choices even when their views are diametrically opposite - for instance, my parents' faith is complete, watertight and unquestioning :)

As opposed to yesteryear I do see women who dont seem to have the need to be made "whole" by the experience of child bearing
--> Absolutely right, Ravishanker. This is why I mentioned as one of my 3 disclaimers in the 2nd para that this post is just a dirge dedicated to those that want to and yearn to become a mother. Of course, it behooves us to completely respect people's choices.

So many questions No answers.....
--> Unfortunate but true, right? :(

Ram Murali said...

Thanks, Amma, for your comment. Yes, your prayers have no boundaries anyway :)

ravishanker sunderam said...

Ram Murali : My namaskarams to your Amma for raising such a fine and upright young man.

Ram Murali said...

Many thanks, Ravishanker, for all your kind support and encouragement.

newmomontheblock said...

This is a very thought provoking post. Just yesterday my husband and I were having conversation regaring why some people have to suffer so much in life. I lost my mom when she I was 21 and she was only 48. But life goes on. I know of a relative who passed away during child birth and there are other family members who are suffering so much due to old age issues that honestly death might be a gift to them.

Completely off topic but I think yeah God is not perfect and it is just how we deal with the cards we are dealt with

newmomontheblock said...

This is a very thought provoking post. Just yesterday my husband and I were having conversation regaring why some people have to suffer so much in life. I lost my mom when she I was 21 and she was only 48. But life goes on. I know of a relative who passed away during child birth and there are other family members who are suffering so much due to old age issues that honestly death might be a gift to them.

Completely off topic but I think yeah God is not perfect and it is just how we deal with the cards we are dealt with

Ram Murali said...

newmomontheblock - Thank you so much for your post. I am sorry to hear about the health related travails in your family. I will pray much better things beckon all of you. We, in our family, have also gone through much health related sufferings but I have noticed that things invariably go up after we hit a trough.

I loved the fact that you wrote, "...it is just how we deal with the cards we are dealt with." Randy Pausch is one my life's major heroes. His story was such a good example of the quote, "You cannot change the cards you're dealt; just how you play the hand."
Thank you, once again, for your comment.