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3:30 am. It was the eighth time Swati woke up to attend her crying baby. It's been a month since she gave birth to the little one and now she is exhausted beyond measure from her new routine of feed-clean-sooth-rocking the baby to sleep. She picked up the baby, changed his nappy, fed him and started to rock him to sleep but this time her baby simply wouldn't comply. She cried with all her might and what seemed like forever, junior finally fell asleep.
4:15 am. Now it's raining outside. The summer heat finally gave way to the cool monsoon winds and the whole atmosphere woke up to the fresh scent of wet earth. On a normal day Swati would have been happy like a peacock but the new responsibilities of motherhood now redefined happiness. To her, happiness meant seeing junior awake and not crying. And get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. To eat one meal without having to get up from the table. Swati was falling apart..
She often envied Radha, her newly appointed domestic help. She joined a couple of days back to help Swati with household works like laundry and doing the dishes. She also had a company. It was her one month old baby girl. She was born the same day as junior. Radha looked like the luckiest woman on earth. Neighborhood gossip was that she married the guy she was in love with for few years now. And their baby girl was the cutest thing ever. She would often place the baby on a rag spread over the floor and go about doing her work. The little one would stare at the walls, furniture, occasionally coo when there is noise. And gently swayed her little limbs in the air which appeared to be her play.
Junior was quite the opposite. He preferred to sleep during the day and party at night. Even a needle drop was loud enough to wake him up. And when he did, it was hurricane. Swati lived in a typical household where managing the baby and home were considered the sole responsibility of the woman. And even having the help Radha, Swati found motherhood overwhelming.
How on earth some women sail through life like a breeze and others break into a million little pieces ?
Then one day Radha did not come to work. It was nightmare for Swati. Sleep deprived, exhausted, angry, Swati cursed her fate. Why her ? Why ?
After two weeks, one afternoon the doorbell rang. Swati answered to see Radha standing in front. And like any other mistress Swati started yelling at Radha. But Radha stood in silence. When Swati was finished, Radha said something that shook the inner core of Swati.
"My child is dead, didi.." Tears were pooling in her eyes but she continued " my baby couldn't cry didi. She fell from the swing and didn't wake up".
Radha's baby suffered from Asphyxia neonatorum during her birth. Asphyxia neonatorum is a condition that occurs when a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen during the birth process. In worst cases it could be fatal. In this case radha's baby suffered severe brain and muscle damage. She couldn't see or hear properly. She couldn't cry.
That night Swati held junior a little tighter. She sang to him all night. She smiled at him, tried to tickle him. And for the first time, junior flashed his toothless grin at her. She gathered the broken pieces and promised to herself that she will not let herself fall apart ever again. And She will cherish every moment with junior.
She learned her biggest lesson.
Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.
Sometimes we get so busy keeping track of our afflictions that we forget to see our blessings. Life is the name of turning our wonds into wisdom. Sometimes when things seem to be falling apart they may actually be falling in place.
(Based on true incidents).