28 May 2012

Wombs for Rent

The title is not mine, but thought it was brilliant. Apparently there is a growing industry in India of paid surrogate mothers and "baby factories" (again not my words). You can find the article here . The surrogate mother issue, along with IVF, frozen ovaries etc is a huge and complex one psychologically, ethically and legally and not one I will delve into in this short post I am attempting to write. What I found interesting in this article was not that the "customers" were gay couples - one can understand the reasons here (though I do have my opinion on this). The most interesting part was that surrogacy was preferred by some women in order to retain their figure and not go through pregnancy/childbirth. I have a deep respect for a woman's right to have or not to have children. But really? "Hiring" a womb so you don't get the extra pounds or the morning sickness? That is a recipe for motherhood disaster based on an extremely immature personality structure that can do more harm than good to the self and most importantly to the child.
What is disturbing me though in this article is the unregulated nature of these "rentals". No laws, no precautions, no suitability of the parties involved, no nothing. O.K the most cynical between us may argue that at least some money is flowing towards India from the west. But my concern here is... who are the mothers for rent? What happens to them afterwards? No one can guarantee that these women are not forced to have their bodies used this way. Are they "women" even? Or girls just getting their period? And what happens to the babies? Do they actually go to "loving western families" or are "used" for other purposes?
Forgive me for being "paranoid" but the google alerts I get everyday on motherhood show me a world where motherhood, women's bodies, babies and the trajectory that links all those together is not that "natural" any more. There is an increased perversion on how all these issues are approached and ,that, as a mother, a woman and a human being, worries me and disturbs me.

25 May 2012


I am on the bus, having opted for a complete two-hour freedom. Freedom from parking, freedom from my daily mum routine. Just enjoying the rare british sun. I am relaxed, carefree holding my two new bottles of nail polish. I open them and get absorbed by the colour and the characteristic smell. The bus stops opposite a church. I love being on a double decker if I am not in a rush. I have all the time to observe and get lost in my thoughts. I turn to my right and see a lot of people gathered outside the church. They are wearing formal clothes and a few of them are crying. A funeral. I look at the faces of the people, certain that the lost one is a beloved grandparent. I look at a woman my age crying in desperation, wearing a formal hat which I find an odd thing to wear at a funeral. But then again I come from a different country I think to myself. I look inside the black vehicle parked on the side and see the coffin. It is unusual. There is a sea and a boat painted, some travelling theme. Then I realise. The coffin is not very big. My brain is fighting for me not to understand what is happening. I read "farewell from mummy and daddy". My brain can no longer trick me. I scan the crowd again. I see her. The mother. It is the mother wearing the odd hat. It is the mother crying tears of desperation. Her child is in that coffin. A part of her buried for ever. I now feel myself, a corporeal loss.The image is so gripping that I stop breathing normally and tears well up in my eyes. I was not prepared for this. I was not prepared to share in a random moment the crumbling life of another woman, another mother. She was burying her child and I was preparing to go pick up mine from the nursery.
I got off at the next bus stop to walk home, I needed to be outside. I started crying. I felt her loss. This small moment of realisation that all we love, all we have, all that we take for granted, we can lose.
I thought about motherhood and about my concept of Deconstructing Mummy. I had just experienced a literal deconstruction of a mother. I imagined her years later somehow moving on with her life. Maybe one day she will smile again. I know that most people do eventually handle their grief even if they are not the same again. There and then, just walking home on a sunny day having been shaken to my core, I decided to write on this blog more frequently and to tell short stories of motherhood. Motherhood happens everyday and its instants are priceless.