Friday, March 18, 2011
no gifts, neither a picture
Its been exactly 4 months today since my baby was born. He passed away on the 29th. In feb this year, I realized that this day was missing. A thousand things, weird or legible, crosses the mind of a mommy who has lost. I bet I can imagine what things go on inside the heads of all mommies like me.
I cruise through the internet and check out blogs of baby loss mommies. I have not crossed a similar blog from anyone from my part of the world yet. There could be many reasons to this. In a country with a billion people, a mass of educated internet users, its strange. Am pretty sure there are many mommies like me who have lost babies.
So what could be the reason?
Death doesn't care about culture, race or geography. Death is death.
But cultures behave differently with death. In my culture, what follows after a death is a hush-hushed procedure. There is absolutely no protocol to deal with a child's death. Everyone makes frantic efforts to sweep the baby's death under the carpets. Everyone tries to condition their mind that this thing never happened. The evidence that a baby ever lived is just hidden away. You accept that this is fate, this is your karma (whatever that means), and you carry on. The family, neighbours..after a while no one actually remembers there was this baby.
The only person who remembers she gave birth to a baby who had to be buried is just the mother. She thinks of it subconsciously every moment and consciously during most part of the day. When she's getting dressed to go to someone's wedding party or baby shower party, when she has a shower silently, when she eats - she thinks of the baby. What if he were here today. How entirely different things would have been. It would be heaven with him around. But its actually hell now with him gone. Never to return. She experiences the difference between hell and heaven every living moment. She doesn't have to refer to any scriptures to know where these two entities are. They are paraded right in front of her eyes here. Of course, the father remembers a lot. He's in a different hell altogether.
I was brought up in such a culture. So am not immune to it. To add to it, I had my own set of stupid beliefs. I didn't buy a thing for my baby when he was inside. We are supposed to wait for the baby to be out and safe, then shop for him. We name him during the cradling ceremony, 11th day after his birth. I and my dh did think of a name for our son but we wouldn't disclose it to anyone. We will wait for the cradling ceremony for that. I do want to buy a lot of stuff for him but I have to wait until he's out.
But when time came and he was born what really we bought for him was a horde of medicines, injections. In a short life of eleven days, my son took so much. I remember one day my dh getting ten injections from the pharmacy, which needed to be administered, one in each hour. My baby put up such a fight. For a chicken of a mother like me, he was too brave.
My baby was born unexpectedly. When he was in the nicu alive, so many times, I thought let me take a picture of him. But something told me it would be bad luck. My baby will come to my arms minus the tubes. That's when I will take a picture. In any case, just a picture is the last thing I wanted when my baby was in nicu. I wanted my boy. Flashy. Full of life. In my arms. I'd give my life for that.
My baby goes away unexpectedly. There is no chance for a picture. I have a mental picture. I remember that nose, little lips, the beautiful skin, the eyes. But I don't have a tangible piece of paper in my hands that I can call a photograph and kiss.
But I do kiss him. I cup my hands. His face was the size of the hollow, I know. I imagine eyes, nose, lips in that cup and kiss everywhere. I kiss my baby.