People are dying…babies are crying…

Back in school, there was this “black magic” chant we’d sing… “people are dying…babies are crying…” and we’d keep time on other people’s backs, pull invisible ropes and allow our young minds to be carried away into the realm of the mysterious… but that’s not what this post is about, this post is about babies… and dead ones.

For the past two weeks I’ve heard so many incidents of death: fatal crashes on the way to my house, my boyfriend’s friend’s brother, friend of a friend’s, boating accidents… far more instances than I’m used to hearing, but yesterday… my day was filled with death of newborns.

At work I browsed through work emails and found an e-mail with no text, but three pictures which showed a newborn, battered and sore, lying dead on the banks of the Bagmati. Flies dotted its body. Toes were curled, still pink, head discolored. Telling my man about in the evening, he told me about how as a kid, him and his friends would find babies wrapped in umbicle cords and tossed on the side of riverbanks. “We’d see something like that every two weeks,” he said, and I cringed.

Then I came across this article about a Nepali woman in New York who dumped her baby in a hospital trashcan.  Those who were compelled to comment seem to be sure of which side they stand on and their words of condemnation are clear. But to me, I’m not sure that anything in life is black and white anymore.

Everything used to be so obvious to me as a kid: pro-life, anti-abortion, but then I think about these abandoned babies left to their naked death and I cannot see things with such clarity.

It makes me wonder about the fear these women have – of society, of family, that they would sooner let a child die than face the repercussions of rearing a child alone.

I wonder about the months of missed periods and the growing fear and anticipation that they shared with no one.  I wonder about the confusion of water breaking, finding a hideout to deliver the child in solitude, and how her womb and heart must have torn as she dropped her baby into the swelling waves that carried her shame away.

In fits of passion, or victim to rape, women carried life within her for nine months, and instead of love, she must have been filled with torment. But in Nepal, for all it’s women’s activism, these fingers of patriarchy which blame the women are still so pointed … that babies are left in bins and cold rivers.

I find that I am relieved that abortion in legal in Nepal, that a woman has the choice not to have an extra mouth to feed when she lacks the support of a husband/boyfriend and where she can escape the leering eyes of neighbors and family.

Either ways, abortion or not, I cannot imagine the guilt and conflict that each woman must carry. Who is there to understand that? To unburden her of it?

I came home in the evening and checking, I came across this:

…and I felt sickened.

The strange part it, I don’t like children. Everyone says that’ll change when I have offspring of my own, but I’m not entirely sure if I even want any. And yet, looking at these images, reading these stories, I find myself turning serious and feeling filled with… I don’t know.

Sometimes, for all the beauty that’s around, the world is such a fucked up depressing place.

  1. i wish i had something uplifting/optimistic to say … but i don’t, all i have to offer are my sighs

  2. Padmini said:

    Some people aren’t meant to be parents and they are pressured and guilted into our out of being parents. I never could understand giving birth only to dump a baby in a trash can. I grew up in the US and heard these stories often growing up. They even have advertisements everywhere for “don’t shake the baby.” It was a joke when I was growing up. Like, “who would ever shake a baby.” But people do. After I became a parent I learned why this happens. It is terrible difficult to take care of a baby alone. In American culture its perfectly acceptable to leave one person to care for a new baby by themselves with no help. Its even considered somewhat of a privilege. The other option? Send your baby to a school where one person must care for a total of 4-6 other newborns alone. This is how American’s view parenthood.
    This is part of why I do support a right to have a safe abortion. Babies deserve devoted caregivers and this western society just doesn’t support babies rights or mother’s rights. I have heard so many stories of how mothers in Nepal are cared for and how grand parents play such an important role in childrearing. How I wish the US could realize how much it could learn from Nepal.

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