Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Something new for 2007...

After a long break I looked through a few posts randomly...and I signed into my own and saw Tharini's message...Thanks Tharini, sweet of you! I especially think of you now and I actually read one your old posts again a few weeks back - the one about how if you think of parenting as something spritual it makes a lot of difference in being able to cope with the challenges that come with it...and you can guess now why I might have read that post again. I am pregnant with the second child due end of June.
Unlike madmomma who very much wanted a second (and I assume you too) and is very very excited about it from day one, I actually found this to be a difficult decision for me. I was very happy with just one child. I did not desire to have a second child nor did I look forward to going through pregnancy all over again. I had planned to join a program (with a fellowship that is awarded to very few students each year) but having a child meant giving up both the admission and the fellowship. I knew that if I did have a second I would have to postpone getting back to the work/study world for that much longer. This was not the only reason but everything put together I really hesistated to even think about having a second child. I feel there is so much pain and suffering in this world, why bring one more child into this world. I feel/felt guilty even about wanting to have our own child when there are so many in need of a home. Yet the desire to have our own was strong and I also did not want to adopt - I was ready to just support a lot of children (I am involved with a home for children) rather than adopting one - I feared how it would be if I regretted the adoption - the guilt would kill me. Illogical as it may seem, I felt more at liberty to feel anger during difficult moments with my own child than with an adopted one.
The first child, I was looking forward to it. Everything was novel and I felt completely at peace. For the second, I wanted my child to have a sibling (and the two of them for each other) and that was the only driving force behind my decision. I could not imagine my life without my siblings and I wanted my child to also have that joy. One of my brothers was totally not in favor of having a second (he has only one) and the other one (who also has only one son) was always trying to convince me not to make the mistake of having just one child! My mother ofcourse was all in favor of it and I suppose she thinks I make this decision too - she wanted me to badly have a girl! My husband was sure we should have two children. If he had had any doubts about it, we would not have gone for it since I was so unsure of it myself. Anyway - with a lot of trepidation I did make the decision that I would give it a few months and if within that time I did get pregnant, we would indeed have a second child. I found out I was pregnant just a day before my mother-in-law passed away. I did not even get around to telling her about it - she would have been so happy to know about it. I went to India for her funeral and came back in two weeks. I had to deal with 10 days of jetlag with my son along with my first trimester nausea - not so much throwing up - but just a total lack of appetite and hence a constant feeling of hunger. It was also getting dark very early since it is winter and my husband was working late hours each day and weekends to catch up on the two weeks of work that had piled up when he was away in India. Those were depressing 10 days. At that moment I reminded myself of Tharini's post - sometimes it does feel like it is something you give of yourself to raise children. Even if it is difficult and painful at times. Ofcourse the joys too are endless but you really earn the joy with a lot of hardwork. And I do feel that while working mothers have to face a different set of challenges, sahm's have to deal with a lot of mental drain - you don't get a break to just do something for yourself - not even read something in total peace for an hour - it is a a difficult thing to get used to. It is a choice you make no doubt, but that doesn't make it easier. Well, I have got through the first trimester and I am able to eat a lot better though I have not gained any weight at all. I am looking forward to knowing the gender of the baby - just like madmomma - I too am all for knowing the gender as soon as possible! My friend who is also pregnant is trying hard to convince me not to find out and I am trying hard to convince her to find out the gender! Anyway - that's the news from my end. Hoping for a healthy child for all of us who are pregnant now...and a healthy girl esp for madmomma since she so badly wants a girl! I am ok with either one really - with the first one I was so eager and was so sure it would be a girl - it took me a day to mentally readjust when the ultrasound technician casually told me "oh by the way it's a boy!". Now I am ok with a boy or a girl - just praying for a healthy child! Taking it by the day now...hopefully everything will go well and we will have a healthy child. I cannot imagine what it will be like to deal with two children at the same time. My son is a good natured child but he does give me a difficult time when it comes to eating - it drains me out to feed him his meals three times a day - I do hope that changes for the better so I have the energy to cope with feeding two children at the same time! Plenty of changes and new things to look forward to in 2007!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I read this article in the NYT and I found it quite astounding. I hardly come across news items that are totally shocking or where I am just not able to understand the other person's perspective. If the news is about some horrific act commited by someone, it will be so horrific that you can surely conclude that the person is not a normal person otherwise. And there are so many weird things you read about in the news that you hardly even find those news items shocking. But this was something I could not understand. This is the gist of what my rant is about:

The article reviews the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or P.G.D., a process in which embryos are created in a test tube and their DNA is analyzed before being transferred to a woman’s uterus. In this manner, embryos destined to have, for example, cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease can be excluded, and only healthy embryos implanted.
Yet Susannah A. Baruch and colleagues at the Genetics and Public Policy Center at
Johns Hopkins University recently surveyed 190 American P.G.D. clinics, and found that 3 percent reported having intentionally used P.G.D. “to select an embryo for the presence of a disability.”
In other words, some parents had the painful and expensive fertility procedure for the express purpose of having children with a defective gene. It turns out that some mothers and fathers don’t view certain genetic conditions as disabilities but as a way to enter into a rich, shared culture.

I absolutely cannot understand this. One of the commenters (if you read the comments section) has expressed anger that people have spewed so much venom against people with defects - I think she has completely misunderstood those comments - it is not that people are expressing anger towards people who are born with defects and have learnt to live with it - I do think in fact at least the people who have commented here are all possibly people with compassion for those who endure and overcome such difficulties - the anger is towards parents who would intentionally choose to have children with defects. It is like saying "I was abused, I learnt to deal with it and learnt so much from overcoming it and am so much the richer for it, hence I plan to abuse my child too". Extreme as it sounds that's how I feel . How can you intentionally choose to have a baby with cystic fibrosis? It is not about your (the parents) choice, your ego but it is about what the child has to endure for life without ever having had a choice about it. When a CF child is not able to breathe freely and is enduring so much pain, is the parent going to think, well I made the right choice for my child?! This is tantamount to abuse even before birth in my opinion. Even if you take dwarfism, which one may argue is just about height and society just has to learn to deal with the difference - it is not just that - there is much more to it - people with dwarfism may also be affected by a lot of other health problems related to it. I feel if parents want to live in a shared culture where their child too has a similar defect they could adopt such a child. I can understand wanting your own child but why would you decide to control the child's health - it is not just about what soceity accepts as normal - but there is a very perceptible thing called pain that any person with any health defect has to endure. Both physically and emotionally. The comments from readers are varied and very interesting because you find a lot of people with health problems who feel offended by any opposition to this. But there are also quite a few people who have been born with genetic defects who have written that they would definitely not intentionally do that to their child. What I found really unbelievable was that there are doctors who are willing to do this and that it is legal to do this. But then again when I think about abortion - which is actually killing a fetus - which is worse? It is very hard to say. If I think of a life time of suffering for a child I suppose I would find abortion acceptable - depending on the nature of the illness. Some are really painful and debilitating and some are just a matter of teaching the child to cope with the difference. Either way I am not able to understand an intentional choice to create a child who would be born with a genetic defect.