A Mother and her Daughter


Nanhi opened her eyes and looked around herself. Her mouth felt like cotton wool- remnants of the effects of anesthesia. The sluggishness and exhaustion- were overwhelming.


The nurse was by her bedside, smiling at her. She continued, “How are you?”

Nanhi nodded, not quite able to formulate words yet.

The nurse laughed, “Rest. The social worker will be here in a while.”

Social worker? Nanhi felt rising uncertainty in her mind when her mother entered the room, “How are you feeling?”

Nanhi shook her head.

“Having a baby takes a significant toll on your body, but you recover.”

Nanhi attempted to speak, croaking, “The…nurse…”

Her mother looked up at her questioningly.

Nanhi lifted her hand, swollen from the IV line, “Social worker?”

Her mother nodded, “Yes, the social worker should be here soon. They must have notified her you are awake.”

Nanhi swallowed- nervously this time, “Maa! I …want…my…baby…girl.”

The social worker and the nurse were about to enter the room when they heard Nanhi’s proclamation.

“She just gave birth. It is natural to have doubts,” the nurse stated.

The social worker touched the nurse’s arm, compassion in her eyes, “Yes, I know”

“Perhaps give her a little time before talking to her,” said the nurse.

The social worker nodded and smiled, “Yes, good idea. I’ll wait in the reception area?”

The nurse nodded.

Nanhi’s eyes begged for her mother’s approval.

Her mother sighed, “Nanhi…”

This time Nanhi’s eyes filled as she sensed the disapproval, “My baby, Maa!”

“Yes, she is,” her mother sighed again, “But we discussed this Nanhi.”

Nanhi looked away, knowing she was going to burst out crying. Her mother touched her hair and that pushed her over the edge. She caressed Nanhi’s hair gently till she had calmed down.

“Nanhi, you are just 16. This is probably the hardest thing you will ever have to do but it is also the best thing you will do as a mother for her.”

Nanhi continued looking at the door, too overwhelmed to respond.

Her mother continued, “Besides, you are helping another family that really wants her and has yearned for her for years. She will be well loved and cared for Nanhi.”

Her mother took another deep breath, “You are not abandoning her. You are taking care of her future and giving so much happiness to another family.”

Slowly, Nanhi nodded. She wiped her eyes, “I know Maa. I guess I just felt selfish.”

Her mother held her close, “Not selfish, that is motherhood. But what you are about to do is also motherhood.”

The nurse peeked into the room and found the duo huddled in. The adoptive parents were here too, and the social worker was with them but looking at the rich emotion in the room, she hesitated.

Everyone’s life was set to change in the next few minutes. Some more waiting would not hurt at all.

She closed the door softly.

Akshata A. Hegde

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