by Deepshikha for Twisted Tiara
To my Unborn Child,
I’m not sure how to begin this letter; there is so much I want to say to you. The world is an interesting place, but it can also be dark and full of terrors. I want to protect you, but I also want to give you a life full of experiences, adventures and love. I’m both excited and nervous about bringing you into this world. This imperfect world seems more messed up than the group of friends in Gossip Girl at times, and it’s my job to prepare you for that. Also, you may have to Google some of the references I make in this letter to you. I want you to know that you will be loved and cherished by many, but that does not mean life will be without it’s fair share of problems.
As a baby, you will instantly become the center of attention wherever you go, and rightly so. Your first few days here may seem confusing: staying at the hospital and meeting new people. You will eventually be brought ‘Home’ with us, where we cannot wait to see you grow up. You will meet a sea of people you may not remember initially, but none of them are strangers. This is your family: your grandparents, your father, and of course, me. They say motherhood is a precious experience, and I for one cannot wait to meet you.
People are already full of advice and opinions for me, the expectant mother. Everyone loves the finished product, but find the manufacturing process tedious. They care for you so much, that I’m being told to eat and avoid certain foods so that you get the best nutrition, even if it makes me gag. I’m sure by the time you read this, you are able to discern your own likes and dislikes in food and in life. I hope however, that you respect the food you get, not waste food, or for that matter, any resources. One of my worries is every day we are told, the world is ending because of scarcity of food and resources. I hope to raise you so that you are mindful of your decisions, and the extent to which they can impact your family and the world at large.
If your Father and I seem strict to you, please know that we derive no pleasure in denying you things, but just worry about you in this world. Delhi, the capital of India, the city you will come to call home, has many charms, but also, many dangers. I don’t know whether I would stop you from leaving the house, or install a curfew. Maybe Delhi would have changed in the few years between now, when I am writing this letter, and then, when you read this letter. Or maybe I will learn to let go of my ever-protective instincts and let you make your own mistakes.
It is my task to make you aware of all the factors and let you make your own decisions. But my dear child, as a mother, I worry. If you are a daughter, I will stay up the nights you are out with your friends because the world is not a safe place. If you are a son, I will stay up the nights worrying and wondering if the world is a safer place for some women because of you. But let that go for now, I will not tell you tales of doom and gloom (I’ll just let you ‘Google’ Delhi in 2000’s).
There are some things I would want you to know, and that’s why this letter came into being. Firstly, people can be deceptive, and every single one of them is different. You will make mistakes and misread some people before being able to gauze their true character. Do not run after people who treat you like an option, whether you are a girl or a boy. Eventually, it will be your company that defines you. Did you know that you become the average of the five people you surround yourself with the most? I would recommend that you surround yourself with sound company, people who help you grow in the most essential ways.
My darling, I also want to take pride in your heritage and grow up a proud Indian. I have already planned field trips around Delhi, where history has been made and written on several occasions. We are however a flawed society, not immune to our own breed of problems. Increasingly I worry you will be brought up in a caste aware generation, when I had hoped that caste would fade away as a human descriptor in my era.
You will also face societal pressure to succeed. You will hear well-meaning advice from people close to you, and strangers alike, to succeed in life. You must remember that you cannot and should not aim please everyone; your family will love you no matter what. I promise you that we will go on endless runs for admissions to guarantee you a good quality education but the learning is up to you. Sometimes school and maybe life will seem like too much, but never give up and keep working hard. Also remember, that marks do not define you completely and even if you do not do well, you will still be loved.
To me, it is immaterial whether you study science, commerce or humanities. Society and even family will put unsurmountable pressure on you to succeed, but science is not the way to do that! Look at me, I’m a published poet, and that has nothing to do with science. Choose any field you are passionate about and excel in that. Your life is your canvas and your career is but one colour; live it completely and without regrets.
Now for something very important: it does not matter to me whether you are attracted to someone of the opposite sex, or the same sex. In my time, India still does not give same sex relationships as much respect and rights as they should. I hope and pray that they teach you about the civil rights movement for the LGBTQIA community in school by this point. I am also sure that if you do get into a relationship, you will feel that you may have to hide it from us initially. Our society is such that it might be difficult for you to be frank with me, but I will always try honesty with you so you can do the same.
To you my words may seem obvious, but believe me little one, in our society today, my dream for you would be considered unorthodox at the least. I want you to know that the world can be a beautiful place and I want you to grow up with love. We all sometimes say and do things that may hurt others, intentionally or not, and we also end up getting hurt ourselves. Mistakes are a way of life, but if you don’t learn from those mistakes, they are of no consequence at all.
I have covered everything important for now, I’ll leave the rest for when you’re actually here. Lastly, I would like to share a nugget of wisdom that my parents had shared with me when I was growing up “What you are is God’s gift to you, but what you become is your gift to God.” I hope this letter helps navigate your life, even if it is a few years before you can read it.
Like you forever, love you for always,
Your Loving Mother