The baby is afraid to be born through mermaid, for it fears of a form that wouldn’t be beautiful or functional” and someone who was aware of my dilemma quipped “…the baby can choose another womb where it feels safe and give the hell to this mother (for not making it feel safe)…”
Most reactions wished for a healthy child being born without any harm to the mermaid, like one saidThe passion of the mermaid, the love of the man and the faith of the midwife will win and influence baby's evolution”. The moot point being, just like a bollywood movie, most people wanted a “happy fairytale ending”, resembling my dear friend Vidya’s comment on the blogpost that reads “The story will end most gloriously… man's deep desire…, the woman's will …mid-wife's unflinching faith willdeliver a golden baby”.
What do these convey about our psyche? In these responses I find guiding beliefs and obsessions of parenting. During the past several years, I have observed across the country - from remote parts of Telangana to industrialized patches of West Bengal; even in distinctly different cultures - working mothers in Nigeria to women entrepreneurs in London – most assume an obsessive & onerous duty of bringing up their progeny. Underlying their disposition of ‘try harder for my child’ appears to be a belief that these women are solely responsible for the evolution and well-being of their children. Often, in this belief, they sacrifice everything. Recently, a Nielson report pointed out that about 87% of the women in India are most pressured for time; embedded in that report is the dominant cause of it (pressure for time) - that has to do with the children.It’s not as if only the women are obsessed parents; even men when obsessed with the idea of a perfect/ most glorious future for their children, more often than not end up being the most significant stumbling block in their child’s ability to realize his/ her true potential. The visible characteristics of such parents appear to be
- Continuing to wear kid-gloves even in a child’s adolescent years
- Self-sacrifice & pampering
- Yearning to control the child in her/ his teenage and
- Continuing to be preoccupied with affairs (no pun intended) of grown up children
Mostly, these parents have never recognized the ability and willingness of their child to explore and embrace the world at her/ his terms. A flawed idea of love at the root of their behavior leads to excessive interventions, regulations and an overwhelming presence till the child suffocates. Every time I was able to let go of my obsession as a parent, my children delighted; but have I truly got over my preoccupation – perhaps not. However, whenever I meet a parent who truly treats their child as an equal and rejoices in her/ his explorations, I get inspired.
And those of us parents who do not recognize this spirit, continue to keep our child in the half-born state even though the child demonstrates her/ his ability and willingness to take the biggest risk known to humankind just as an unborn child that decided to step outside the womb and embrace all the uncertainty and ambiguity.Amidst the scenario where, with every passing generation, the degree of obsessed parenting seems to increase, there’s a need to recognize the downside of such parenting orientations. We may not be conscious of the lopsided mental model, notwithstanding the purest of intention we carry. This triggered behavior causes immense damage to our children by denting their ability to realize their own true potential. I do hope parents are able to see the delusional attitude they carry– whether it lies in role-modeling they imbibed as a child themselves or with the fact that they are fixated with giving the very best to their children or whether it emanates from their flawed understanding of love.