We met them when we were looking for a place to live. They were recommended to us by our previous flat owner. They were very warm and pleasant, very friendly, and we liked them right away. The flat was huge and spacious. It looks like home. They greeted us like we were old friends. We really felt welcome to stay in their place and my husband and I instantly felt at home.
This couple has a child. They waited years before they finally got one. The child was born normally. But due to some reasons, the child had to stay in the NICU. The child had cerebral palsy. They didn’t elaborate how it happened. They were devastated but they accepted the child and its fate.
The wife decided to quit her job to be able to care for her child at home. They dedicated their lives and vowed to care for this child. They have decided not to have another child anymore in order to focus their love, care and attention in rearing this child.
Everyday became a routine. The wife will be home all day being a mother to her child until her husband gets home. Then she will become a house wife. She will cook for her husband, (or her husband will cook), they will eat together, watch TV, and then sleep.
They cannot go out together. It’s either the husband will stay at home to care for their child so that the wife can go out, or vice versa. I asked them if they ever bring their child outside and they said no, for fear of the child getting sick. They have been this way for 7 years.
I see this situation as something like a bondage. Like they were forced to live in a cage where life outside is something that is nonexistent. That the only life they have is contained within this space where rearing this child is the most important thing. They were deprived of a life in order for their sick child to have a life that he was deprived of. They sacrificed so much for the child to grow up healthy despite of having a different life.
I want them to go outside and enjoy a day as husband and wife. I wonder how they both feel. I wonder what the wife is thinking every morning when she wakes up, as I see her on the table staring into space, while stirring the child’s milk. Then in the evening before going to bed, how she watches TV, but her mind is some place else. They were deprived of a lot of things. Most especially, they were deprived of being husband and wife.
This made me change my perspective on a lot of things. People, married or not, have different burdens that they carry. In our case, we, as a married couple, were deprived of having a child. I get depressed every month when my period arrives, that I forget to appreciate how lucky I am to have a loving husband, who is so understanding and patient and never fails to show how much he loves me. I tend to ignore the fact that we can freely do whatever we wish, or go wherever we want to. My mind was focused too much on myself for not being able to bear a child, and being jealous of others who seem to be able to bear a child effortlessly. I forget how happy my life is despite of not having a child.
I am not alone in this, I know. There are also married couples like us, who are struggling to have a baby, in order to be seen by the society, as a complete family. Marriage should not be focused on having children alone, for being childless feels like a flaw in a marriage. Marriage should be about how well you live your life together whether you have a child or not.
I truly admire the couple, with whom we are living with right now. They had their marriage, the child they were waiting for, and accepted whatever was given to them wholeheartedly. It is very rare to see a kind of love like that. It is beyond boundaries.
Whenever I see this couple, with their child having cerebral palsy, laughing together, praying together, staying strong together, and being happy together, I see a family, a perfect family in a not-so-perfect world, unaffected and unbridled. Yes, they were given a child, and that child is the luckiest child on earth for having the best parents.
Life is how you choose it to be. It’s how you see things that will make you happy.
I choose to be happy. Therefore, I need to change the way I see things.