Monday, May 16, 2005

The baby who had no mother

Just how important is maternal love in the life of a baby? What happens when a baby misses it?

Our last born brother grew up without a mother. I have learnt a lot of things from this young man's life. But most of all I can see the damage done on his life by not having a mother's love.

Early on doctors feared that he was too vulnerable and would probably not make it without the love that he could only receive from his departed mother. But the young guy was tough. He beat the odds and survived. But he did not escape the consequences of not having a mother.

But maybe I should start at the beginning. My mother passed away giving birh to our last born brother. She was probably expecting and hoping for a girl. We ended up four boys and one girl. My sister was actually the last born before our last born brother was born and our dear mother departed from this world.

I was very young then (about 6 years old) but I could still tell that my mother was delighted when she had my sister and she probbly felt that having another girl after her would guarantee that my sister would not grow up too spoilt. Alas it was never to be.

But my point here is that I have observed just how important a mother’s love is to the growth and development of any baby.

Not that the devoted lady who brough him up (bless her soul) did not love him. She loved and still loves him to bits. More so because despite visiting every specialist, she never had a child of her own. But that love, as devoted as it was, is definitely not the same thing as real maternal love.

Maybe the most telling attribute that I have seen in this baby who never knew motherly love is the obvious way in which he has looked for a mother in every romantic relationship he has been involved in. I have known and noted this because the guy stayed with me for quite a long time. Through his school days and part of his university life.

He seems to have finally found this in his current steady girl friend. At least I hope so because any break-up, especially if the initiative for such a break-up comes from the side of the girl, can prove to be quite traumatic. I guess it will be like his mother abandoning him all over again. hat sounds devastating does it not?

I went to school with a guy who had a very similar background to my kid brother. His girl dumped him and he attemp[ted to commit suicide. Only that being in medical school, he swallowed about two pills less the lethal dose. Meaning that he wanted to send a message but live to benefit from the consequences of his message being understood.

My brother, with all his degrees, has never been to medical school and I have heard him say to his girl friend, when he was quite drunk, that he will kill himself if she ever leaves him. I do not doubt the seriousness of that statement, hence my anxiety sometimes.

But don’t get me wrong. The man is not soft - far from it. In fact he is best described as a very cold-blooded math intellectual. One always gets the impression that he is always coldly calculating something.

But rather than dislike him, I often feel great pity for him. He missed something that is very important in making the life of anybody complete. And that is maternal love. Many of us take it for granted without realizing how impotant it is or was, if we are talking about our own lives.

Of course there is the other extreme of maternal love where it goes too far. I once had a neighbor whose divorce was caused by his mother or rather his mother feeling that this other woman was taking her son away from her. But that is another story for anther day.

For now, next time you see that baby being pampered by the mother, stop to think of the impact on life that seemingly innocent and ordinary occurence has.

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