Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Mother’s Plea

Baby is crying so much that I think her pain is unbearable. We are alone. I think we would feel better if we were not, but I tell myself that even if anyone was present, pain would not lessen. Not knowing what to do, her cry splitting my heart, I cry with her. At that moment I think of all the mothers in the world, about their pain, their sacrifices, and their loneliness. This also makes me think of how not so useful fathers are. Their role ends more or less with a kiss, or a how-are-things-going queries. They don’t know that it is beyond money. They never see the painful cry, the heart wrenching pleads, nor do they see the sweet addictive malice-less smiles.

The 24 hours time I dedicate to my baby is filled with miracles. Every time I tend to do some of my work, I tell myself that I’m home right now for her; the government has given me three months maternity leave so that I can be with her day and night, every second of the time to fend for her, to care for her, to love her. I’m so grateful that I have this privilege. I’m grateful to the government that they give the mothers this leave of three months (with pay). Knowing how important this time is for the babies in their formative stage, I thought that it was even nicer when the National Assembly was about to discuss about extending it. I even began to become so hopeful. I thought I might be lucky to have four months maternity leave, but disheartened to hear the parliament decide that they will need more discussion on it and push it off for later.

If private offices are not giving three months maternity leave, I think they must re-think on their decision. I’m sure the CEOs of the private companies are fathers and mothers too. And while they think that not giving their employees who are mothers a maternity leave of three months is healthier for their companies, I think they are in fact losing more. An employee whose heart and will is not in place isn’t a productive one. But of course if we want them to work mechanically without being creative, I think that is fine.

Imagine the pain you feel when you see your baby cry. What fault does a one month old baby have that she should be deprived of the milk that she needs? Isn’t every grown up talking about the basic human rights? And I think the basic of the basic right of a human being is the right to eat, to livelihood. And imagine how many of us must be playing a cruel role in depriving that very right to so many children in Bhutan.

I know that it is only right on the part of the employers to think that it is wrong to permit their employers when they seek permission to go to the hospital to attend to their sick babies. But the fathers and mothers of those babies become right by the nature of human beings being not clairvoyant and not knowing beforehand when the sickness would befall. 

It could be your employee today who had to call in sick because she had to take her one month old baby to the hospital. You may bang your hand hard on your well polished table and curse that she had called in sick so often lately. But then, you will know what it is to be a mother when you become one. You will then know how your heart aches when you see your one month old baby cry in pain that splits your heart. It is more painful because you don’t really know what is wrong and all you can do is watch her cry.

What kind of citizens we breed is for us to decide, for, a child well cared is a man well groomed.

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This is Bhutan

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