Stories of single mothers fighting strong to save their children from poverty and sickness, is a great example of the beauty in a mother’s love. I recently met one such a mother, who was doing all that she could by herself to save her daughter despite having a husband.
Abirami's struggle began when her first daughter Srimati was diagnosed with Thalassemia. She is not divorced, widowed or separated from her husband. She and her daughters wake up to the father and in-laws every day and live within the ‘family’. Yet, the father of these two daughters believes it isn’t worth spending and saving the life of a ‘girl’ child.
“Better to let it die young than watch it grow up and then die” the mother tearfully recalls the words of her husband and in-laws.
She gets no support from the family. So, all by herself, every month Abirami commutes over six hours from her village to the hospital in the city with her daughters to get the blood transfusions for Srimati. She works as domestic help, and treats her daughter with the help of Voluntary Health Services. Now, Srimati requires a bone-marrow transplant to get better, a procedure estimated to cost over seven lakhs.
She battles the family's dissaproval and is staggered by the huge amount. Srimati is still unwavering in her pursuit to save the child. “I’d rather die with my daughter than not give her a chance to live” she says brushing aside the tears on her face.
The mother, elder sister (stem-cell donor) and Srimati are in this battle alone with no support whatsoever from the family.
Unlike the father who gave up even before trying, Abirami has risked taking on everyone around her to give her daughter the chance to live. To her, no amount of reasoning from her husband will justify his actions.
For a person without any education or means or support, Abirami owns her strength and agency because of her love for her child. This could be why motherhood is celebrated the way it is all over the world. It gives women a legitimate ground and reason where they can fight for fairness.
Like Abirami and Srimati, there are many women fighting their battles simply because they were born ‘female’. Women like them in everyday walks of life fight their own fight against gender biases and they are the reasons why feminism will never die.