Motherhood is the most beautiful emotion in this world. Unconditional, unearthed and supremely human. Can this feeling be compromised?
On the day of child birth, we visited Martha in hospital. Martha has been the caretaker of our home and the most exquisite cook we have ever seen, for the last 7 years.
Martha has just given birth to a baby girl and it was a moment of great relief for all of us. Elated, yes. The usual happiness of welcoming a baby in the family was a precursor for all households. We are no different, with smiles and sweets all over the place.
But Martha was not happy. I would say, her face quite dead as a pan and she preferred not looking at the baby.
We were perturbed and equally curious. Why would a mother not look at her baby? Where is the usual epitome of love and sacrifice?
We decided to wait for couple of days as we wanted her to get some rest.
A week gone by, we sat beside her and with a sense of judgment and sensitivity, popped up the all important question to her.
‘What went wrong’?
Martha did not answer for few minutes. Then she looked up at us with a grim and hesitation. What she finally uttered shook us hard.
‘This is not my child’. ‘This baby is not mine’. – exclaimed an unassuming and nonchalant Martha. She had tears in her eyes but her words were not fake. She emoted naturally.
We spent a couple of minutes gathering ourselves before popping up yet another inevitable question.
‘What do you mean’? How is this possible?
The spate of questions obviously meant we wanted Martha to elaborate on this shocking revelation. The understanding was mutual as Martha started to narrate what has gone through in the last 18 months of her life.
Martha is a surrogate mother. Couple of years back, she was visited by a Columbia couple through the local agent in Martha’s area. They were desperate for a child, Martha was in need of money. She had a paralysed husband with no income and her tiny little brick house went down in last year’s torrential rain. It was difficult making ends meet with 3 children and an almost ineffective husband. Thus, began a process by mutual consent and shared affection.
‘I will not have sex with this man’, Martha was curt when she informed the agent. The agent then explained that sexual intercourse is not required for her to carry a child in her womb.
“We have progressed”, the agent told Martha with a smile.
Though Martha was consciously in agreement to this, she never felt motherhood all through the 9 months of her disputed pregnancy period.
“I have just rented my womb for another person in exchange of money. This baby inside me is not to identify me as a Mother, I see myself as a business woman who is selling babies for cash”.
Martha’s tone was all guilt and conscience.
A week later, the Columbian couple and technically Martha’s customer, took the baby with them after paying the sum of money, as agreed.
Motherhood was redefined, but not sure where and who is the ‘Mother’ here?
Surrogacy is bringing cheer to many such families across the world but we also sense that this introduction has perhaps murdered the purity of Motherhood. Consent or no consent, Motherhood is a woman’s right to her identify and integrity. Surrogacy, by all its noble intent, has manufactured a new and spurious Mother.