from the Heart
first laid eyes on my daughter, exactly thirty months ago.
She looked so small, wrapped in a yellow towel, sleeping
peacefully. Feathery eye lashes resting on soft little cheeks,
the colour of warm milk and cinnamon. As I took her in my
arms, she pursed her lips in slight annoyance at being disturbed
in her dreams.
two tiny dimples appeared and went in a split of a second.
No bigger than pin pricks, but enough for me to notice.
I lifted the towel a few inches and touched her hair, soft
as a duckling's down. I gingerly moved the towel a little
further and looked at her fingers and toes. All twenty and
perfect! I heaved a sigh of relief. I had gone through this
ordeal twice before, at the birth of my two sons. I somehow
dreaded these moments, maybe all mothers do.
daughter looked beautiful. My husband softly said to me,"
She will grow even more beautiful with your loving care."
baby was just twenty days old. We were told that she had
been born premature. Just a little over five pounds. I gently
handed her back to Dr. Dilruba. There were legal formalities
to be completed before we could take her home. It would
take another week. To me it seemed like an eternity!
next week was busy. We had to buy all necessary (as well
as some unnecessary, but too pretty to resist) baby stuff
and accessories. It was fun.
on the third week of September 2001, our daughter came home.
and mother-in-law accompanied me to CTRDW (Center for Training
and Rehabilitation of Destitute Women, House 2, Road 11,
Pisciculture Housing Society, Mohammadpur, Dhaka) to collect
her. Her (biological) mother was most probably still there
but we were not allowed to meet her. We agreed it was best
that way. Dr. Dilruba told us that the files containing
her mother's history, were for our daughter's eyes only.
It meant that when she grew up, she could go to their offices
to learn about the woman who gave birth to her. We just
knew that her mother was a young girl, abandoned by her
husband and turned away by her stepmother, while she was
carrying our child in her womb.
the main person behind this child care and foster placement
agency says that, prospective foster parents often ask her
whether or not the child was born out of wedlock. She greets
such queries with a wan smile and explains; "Child
bearing is not affected by marriage. The birth of a child
is a biological function and marriage is a social entity.
Caregivers play a much more important role than heredity
in a child's development. Most of the time psychological
factors override the genetic factor. It's the caring, discipline
and love of a parent or care giver that leads a child into
happy and successful adulthood."
we have had our fair share of sleepless nights, the anguish
of helplessly trying to rock and sing away our daughter's
colic pain, suddenly waking up in the middle of the night
anxiously, to check if she was breathing properly, arguing
on whose turn it was to change the nappies, trying in vain
to somehow take away her teething pains and so on. The bittersweet
pangs of parenthood, that flee by too quickly, long before
we realise their worth.
has always been an early starter. She was born a month early,
teethed at six months, took her first step at nine months
and could express herself clearly before she reached two.
Each stage of her growing up is like opening up a precious
beautifully wrapped, surprise gift. The patter of soft little
feet all over the house has somewhat helped fill the emptiness
I felt, when my elder son left for the UK after his 'O'
Levels. Even at this moment as I sit at the computer writing
this article, my daughter is sitting on my lap and trying
her best to distract me. The house is warm with the sounds
of my two year old daughter and twelve year old son fighting
fiercely and just as suddenly making up with hugs and kisses.
Both my sons think the world of her; in their eyes she can
do no wrong. Her grandparents spoil her rotten and she enjoys
every minute of it!
when I come across a small child selling flowers or sweets
on the road, my heart constricts with pain. Our little girl,
who loves French fries and chocolates, could have been standing
there with wide beseeching eyes, tapping on my car window.
life cell, created out of a mindless, loveless physical
act. The desire burns out in a few seconds; a legacy of
a lifetime is left behind. The burden of a thoughtless mistake
to be borne on innocent little shoulders.
and I have decided never to lie to our daughter about her
birth. When she grows up we will tell her that she is special
because God granted us the opportunity of choosing her.
Now, when I say to my daughter, "Do you know where
you came from?" She puts her hand over my chest and
says "Ammu'r ar Baba'r Heart thekey".