Monday, March 14, 2005

Aman and other treacherous thoughts

In the context of women's day (belatedly, I know... but like I said, I'm going to claim the whole damn calendar) I can't help thinking of the motherhood instinct. And how complicated we've managed to make something as simple as birth.

I'll admit I feel like a traitor to the cause of woman-ism and all that, but I do find this fuss surrounding childbirth very annoying.

The only child I've seen who's been born without any fuss, as the proliferation of a species should be, is Aman.

She was born at home, by candlelight, the birth attended by her father, Dr Sunil Kaul, who runs this NGO called The Ant, along with his wife, Jenny. Based in a remote-ish corner of Assam, there were few facilities available to the couple at any rate.

Jenny laughed as she told me of the one time she did visit a gynac in her final month of pregnancy, just in case there were complications. "The gynac? That woman first scolded me for not having come before. Then she ran a stethoscope on my stomach and then she told me everything was alright. Just like that!. Sunil and I laughed our heads off."

So, they decided to have Aman at home.

Sunil is an MBBS doctor, incidentally, though not a practising one.
Jenny told me that half-way through her labour, there was a power cut. It was very early in the morning. And very dark. Sunil began scrambling for candles and that's how Aman was born - in candlelight.

She's adored by the whole bunch of activists there, is never fussed over, is pretty, very chirpy, eats most things...

Every healthy female creature manages to give birth in the wild. And look at us: Women!

With all our check-ups and sonographies (and now, sex determination tests, too) and baby-books and pain-relief, we can't do without doctors and half a dozen nurses attending us... and then we want hospitalization and convenient c-sections....

And I thought, motherhood was an 'instinct'?

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