There was a sudden gush of tears in Mita’s eyes. People were whispering and looking at her with pity. She tried to put up a brave face and gave a weak smile. Her mind was trying to escape but her feet were rooted to the ground. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder and found that her best friend Asha was trying to comfort her.
Mita had come for the baby shower of her cousin. She wanted to share her cousin’s happiness but as always her presence was not appreciated on such a happy occasion.
Her Maushi (Maternal Aunt): “Mita you need not have come, after all what you will do here?”
A cousin Aaji (Grandma): “It is inauspicious for a barren woman to attend such a ceremony. It is not good for the unborn child. How can you be so selfish?”
Another Kaku (Aunt): Beta, It is better that you leave early. I hope you understand.
Mita just nodded her head. She was not able to breathe and wanted to rush back home. Her friend Asha quickly took charge and took her home.
Asha and Mita were best friends since school. Over the years they became more like sisters. Sharing their dreams, feelings and fears had brought them still closer. Asha understood the pain her friend was going through. She was also angry at the society for treating her friend with such cruelty. She wanted to lash out at those people and at the same time protect her friend. Asha and her husband Ravi and their two daughters were like a family to Mita and Girish.
Mita had faced this situation on number of occasions but lately, it was getting harder and harder to ignore such pointed comments from her own family. Every time she saw mothers with little children, her arms ached to hold her own child. When her own sister spoke about her children she secretly became jealous of her sister.
Mita and her husband Girish were college sweethearts and were happily married for nearly a decade. When they were newly married Mita was teased by relatives and friends about when they planned to have a child. She always responded by a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. Three years after their marriage they decided to start a family. They consulted a fertility expert after trying to conceive for more than a year. Both were healthy and thought these were just initial hiccups and that things will soon fall in place. The doctor did not find anything wrong with their medical reports and termed it as unexplained infertility. He asked them to try IVF.
Mita was a little hesitant at first but she soon agreed to it. The IVF failed. They tried two more times and the result was still negative. The emotional stress and the medicines were taking a toll on her sanity. The waiting, praying and hoping for a little life to kick in her useless womb nearly drove both of them over the edge. They decided not to do it anymore. Mita finally resigned to her fate, but every time she looked at small kids her heart dropped like a rock. She was destined to be childless and she accepted it.
Mita realised she had been lost in thoughts and was brought back to the present when she found a small bundle in her hands. She looked at the bundle and tears started pouring down her eyes. The sweet sound of the whimpering baby in her hands was music to her ears. Her heart was overcome with emotions.
She looked at her best friend Asha smiling at her from the hospital bed. Their bond of friendship had transcended boundaries. Asha and Ravi had given them the gift of life. The baby girl was going to be a part of Mita and Girish. They decided to name her ‘Mytri’ (Friendship).
P.S: This post is a work of fiction. I have used some background from a true story as narrated by a friend. The stigma related to being childless still resides in the Indian community. It is time people accepted it and stopped harassing childless couples.