MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan – As rescue efforts gave way to aid relief, a strong aftershock shook Pakistan early Thursday morning, five days after an earthquake killed tens of thousands and left millions homeless. Still, miracles emerged amid the misery: A Russian team rescued a 5-year-old girl trapped for nearly 100 hours under the rubble of her family home…

This morning, I was called to the O.T.(O.R. in Ameri-speak) to assist a Lower Segment Caesarian Section (w/Post-Partum Sterilization). Since they already had an intern to do the suction and retract the incision, I was delegated to monitor vitals with the resident anesthesiologist.

After the delivery, the baby, a healthy girl(Alhamdulillah), was brought to the conscious mother as the attending obstetrician closed up. I was anxious to see the look on the expectant mother’s face, and when I did, I registered something in her eyes which I never thought I’d see.

Disdain. Disappointment. Disgust.

The new mother turned her head and wept silently to herself. Immediately I felt rage swell inside me. My fellow Pediatric Intern brought the baby around after the necessary OP suction, so I could get a look.

“It’s a Girl. Isn’t she cute?”, she said.

“Yes”, I replied, and swallowed down red, hot anger. There she was. The unwanted princess. Crinkly, soft, pink, and lovely, with eyes and fists shut as tight as the blanket she was wrapped with. Here, she was an intruder. An uninvited guest.

“She’s a Cutie Pie”, I said.

As a new father (My daughter’s only 6 months old), to understate, I was disturbed. Alhamdulillah, my fast reminded me to control myself, and I did. The lady is a patient of mine and I’ll have to write her orders tomorrow. Professionalism at all times, you know. But I couldn’t help but reflect on that new soul, brought into this world, blameless and beautiful and how I wouldn’t wish the reception she recieved on my worst enemies. And I couldn’t help but be reminded of all those childless parents who would give their right arm for an opportunity to hold and call a baby their own.

Then I read the news story from above. And the Miracle of Life was re-echoed into the chambers of my heart much as it was when I had my daughter, and, for my part, as it was when I heard the first cry from the baby this morning. Alhamdulillah.

There’s a lot I don’t know. Maybe it’s her husband who wanted the boy, and will now make their home atmosphere a living hell for this woman because she “failed to deliver”. But as shown in Muzaffarabad, sometimes it takes merely the prospect of loss to reaffirm the value of life. Why it must come to that is beyond me. All I know is, I hope that neither the mother nor the father ever has to learn this the hard way. But then again, maybe they need to. Then maybe they’ll never again take Allah’s mercies for granted.

“Then which of the Favors of your Lord will you deny? ”

(Surah Rahman)

P.S. – I must thank Umm Zaid, and others for adding me as a link. Jazak’Allah khair.

4 thoughts on “Aftershocks

  1. i’d love to know your thoughts on post-partum depression.. sounds like you don’t think it exists.
    if you had a question of social context in your mind why didn’t you explore it. Especially if you believe it could be detrimental to the child. It seems like you passed judgement more than helped change the situation.

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