Sunday, June 1, 2014

Umbilical Cord

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Today I got a rather surprising visit from someone I never expected. I had seen her working in the children’s block. And she seemed to always have this cheerful aura around her. Guess that is why they wanted her to work with the little ones.  I know I am not supposed to discuss a client details even if I am just writing it down in my journal, it is still considered wrong. But then this particular story is something even I was baffled at.
She came to me saying that she was depressed. Though I was taken aback by her blunt introduction I did not show it out. Then she began narrating her story. Her theory of why she feels so sad.
She started talking about the one year old baby girl who was diagnosed with early onset of autism. No one was sure if it actually was autism. But her lack of eye contact and no sense of touch went well with the other symptoms parents had observed in their kids when they were babies. She was claimed to be one year old. There was no development in her body. She just lay on her bed. One could easily tell that she was a child with special needs.
I remembered being asked to counsel the child’s mother. But the strong lady refused and we left it at that. It was the usual reaction from a parent when they brought their child to us. They thought they were strong. But at one point most parents will decide that they need some help as well. So I thought this child’s mother will also eventually understand that. Nothing felt strange about her denial for me.
But then the physiotherapist told me how they were seeing improvement in the baby’s condition. That the baby started kicking her legs into the air, cry when she got hungry and so on. Even now I remember the chief doctor proudly boasting over it. This therapist had to give massages to the baby on every alternate day. One can just assume that she got way too attached to the little one and started visiting them (the mother and the child) every day.
So with all the happy stuff happening why would one get depressed? Right before I could finish thinking of this question the therapist narrated the twist in the story. She had been observing how the mother didn’t seem to care much when the baby started crying. Even when she had tried teaching the mother how to do the massage, the mother showed no interest. “It was as if she had no part in her child’s welfare.” Though it worried her she never expressed her concern to any of the doctors.
What gave her more than just a shock was when the baby started suckling on her nipple through her shirt when she was trying to calm the crying baby.
So our dear therapist finally concludes that the mother is not even feeding the child and reports it to the doctor. Turns out that even the doctors were having this particular doubt and they all confronted the mother.
That is when the mother threw a tantrum that she was making a big sacrifice by bringing her child for treatment. She had said that she was doing a big favour for her one year old daughter by giving her the medical attention she deserved.
Like that was not enough she had went on saying that the physiotherapist was stealing her child from her. At this point the therapist girl started crying.
She said “The baby smiled its first ever smile when I was giving her the usual massage. I did not know that it was her first smile. While any parent would have felt good to see their child smiling, this female made it sound as if her baby is not supposed to smile. I could understand that she was upset that she was not the reason for her daughter’s first smile. Then again she should have participated more in her daughter’s welfare. She usually left the room when I was with the baby. She was always talking over the phone to her husband. And then she blamed it all on me.”
I could only pity this young girl’s feelings. The first thing they should teach in any medical school is that you should not get attached to any patient. That won’t allow you to think logically. While the patient deserves care and attention, we should be careful not to get emotionally connected with them.
Turns out the mother then left the facility saying that her child was better off without the treatment. A selfish mother, I would say. And then there was the “almost” mother character, the therapist. She did not feel bad that she was separated from the baby. Although that hurt her, she was not concentrating on that part. She was more concerned that the baby would have stunted growth without this treatment. There was no other facility that showed such promising results in the treatment of autism. That was a known truth.
Now her major thoughts were about how and where this baby is. That makes her lose concentration in work. Although the doctors understand her concern they are in no position to even check on the child.
Well I helped in whatever way I could. Have asked her to meet me again in a week!
I just don’t understand parenting at times. A lot of parents think that the presence of similar genetic material is what defines their relationship. And I have also seen parents who view any child as their own and accept them. But there is this group of people that think they are god just because they brought the baby into this world. Everything they do for that kid is like a favor and not from love. Oh I wish such kids were never born.

It’s not the umbilical cord that signifies a mother-child relationship. It is always the love and care you provide to a child. Sadly not many understand this small thing and the worst part is this small thing makes the biggest of differences.

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Sadly this is a true story. The girl child is still with her stupid mother who is trying to do something with the baby and the stunted growth is already very much seen. 
I just wish people put their child before themselves when deciding something on behalf of the child. 

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