[A real story straight out of a mom’s heart. It stands as a true inspiration to me. Read the story to get to know & acknowledge her emotions.]
When I met her : She was so beautiful!
I met Prerna at the acupuncture centre that I used to take my son to, for muscle strengthening. She used to come in with her mother. She was 14 and my son was 3. It was quite evident that Prerna was nothing like what a 14-year old girl should be. I would say, she was around 6-7 years, still cuddling to her toys. She could speak, although it was not clear but was understandable enough.
Acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles at special points in the body to stimulate the nerve cells. My son used to initially take out needles all the time. Thats when Prerna would always say “Babu bahut badmaash hai”[He is a naughty boy]. She wore heavy glasses on her eyes. She could walk but her hands and legs were bent. What ever was her stature, her smile was really infectious. She looked so curious & always wore a broad smile showing off all her innocence.
I used to take colourful story books to engage my son and distract him from the needles. And there was Prerna, sitting besides him. She was so fascinated by these books that she would often ask me if she could take a look at them. Of course I always obliged and even sang nursery rhymes to her:). And why not, she seemed to be such a beautiful soul to me. Full of life & charm, with no grudges towards anyone. She enjoyed our time to the fullest & and clapped at the end of every rhyme or song. It was so fascinating for me and truly very emotional moment to witness with my son & Prerna.
I had an inquisitive mind!
But, most of the times, I had a curious question. I saw her mother only at the beginning and end of the session. The rest of the session, Prerna was alone in her bed. I always wondered where her mother went. To me challenged kids ought to be in the presence of their moms for all the love & warmth at least during such therapies.
One day, I saw a lady sitting besides one more boy getting therapy. As I got talking to the mother I got to know the boy was Prerna’s brother. I shook from inside, had goosebumps all over my body. He was 11 and could barely sit. She had two children and both were physically and mentally challenged. My heart weeped out but I was not ready for, what I was to hear next.
She was always smiling but looked quite distressed today and even had a slight altercation with the doctor. She was a little over my age & was not very educated. Somehow that pain triggered her to share up her emotions with me that day.
“She had a joint family & lived with husband, her in-laws, husband’s brother and his wife. They ran a small family business in a nearby town. When Prerna was born, the family was for sure not happy. First of all a girl and that too challenged. Their community still had love for boys and wanted her to give birth to a baby boy. But she and her husband somehow stood together & took her to therapies and some other remedies, with which she progressed day by day. But the progress was indeed not a days affair or a magic, and she knew of it. It had to be a continuous effort. The improvement was slow but yes she could vuch on every small development.
Many people suggested a second baby would not only bring joy to the family but also help Prerna learn things much faster. Yes, it seemed to be true & they planned for a second baby. But God was not happy with their decision, it seemed so. Destiny was being very harsh to her. When they learnt about their son, who was also challenged, they felt as if the earth had drifted. They were devastated. She being a mother, tried to acknowledge the fact with the vows to help her children out.
When you lose support during crisis!
But her husband was not strong enough to face and accept the truth. It was just a sentence for him which broke her life forever. He said “he had nothing to do with these children”. If there was anything Prerna’s mother needed at that time, was her husband’s support. Since then, she has been fighting not only the society but also her own family to get her children the support they required. Every month she travelled from her town to this clinic for 7 days and get her children the therapies, consultation, and medicines that they needed. It was her perseverance & love for her children through the years that Prerna could at least talk, walk and manage her routine needs herself. And today, her father-in-law had given her six months. Six months to prove that this therapy was doing her children good. If she failed to convince, he was not willing to support her further with any more finances.”
Destiny was better to me!
I looked at my son – at 3 he could walk, he had not started speaking yet but I was sure he soon would. I am an educated earning lady. Even if the world goes against my son, I can myself afford his therapies and education. I am blessed with a loving family. Never has my son faced any rejection from within the family. In fact, it was my father-in-law who found out about this acupuncture centre and suggested that it would benefit him. If I was busy with something else, my husband or my mother-in-law took him for therapies. My husband was always there for me when I felt a little lost, depressed. My son has a loving and encouraging atmosphere at home and the results are quite evident with his significant growth.
She was a true inspiration!
I really wish Prerna’s father was a little stronger. But my heart goes out to his wife. Struggling with two children, facing rejection from own husband and a family who thinks she is wasting their hard-earned money on her children. It has been 3 years since I met her, as I stopped my son’s therapy after a year. But even today, whenever I feel God has been unkind or unjust to me, I think about her and ask myself, “What’s your excuse?” She gives me inspiration to go. Probably that’s why she kept her daughter’s name Prerna – An Inspiration.
[Thanks Ritu for sharing this post. What a true inspiration. Our society is yet to acknowledge the fate of these kids. It is only love & optimism which can help them lead a worthy life. They deserve everything right from family’s love to schooling. To see them grow better should be the only motto of the family & society.
And yes, Prerna’s mother is indeed a true inspiration, to all brave mother’s who have been defying the world to prove themselves. We bow to you & every Mother, this mother’s day! Your efforts will not go waste for sure, pure love can never desolate. There isn’t a word in the dictionary to describe how I feel about inspiring Mothers!]
Get to know Ritu in her words : Juggling between being an IT professional and mother to a boy with Downs Syndrome. Besides being a wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, I am here trying to rekindle my passion for writing and use it primarily to create awareness and acceptance for Downs Syndrome in our society. Besides, I am also passionate about raising my voice for the place of women in Indian society and in the Indian corporate world.