The word just popped into my head today, and had me thinking if I have ever enjoyed or experienced something vicariously. And, as if in answer, my nephew, P, came bounding down his room, waving his storybook, shouting excitedly “Ma, you promised me you would read the rest of the story today! Come, let’s go and read!”
Yes, my nephew calls me, Ma. That’s short for Mami (aunt) in Marathi. It also means mother. And, because he is my sis-in-law’s son, people find it odd why he calls his aunt, Ma. Well, he calls me so because of a request I made my sis-in-law the day he was born. I asked her if she could teach him to call me Ma, as Chikoo won’t be able to call me so. The overwhelming sense of happiness, contentment on being called, “Mother”, is incomparable to anything, ever. That is what I realised when he began calling me, Ma. That is what I realise today, when he demands I leave all work aside and tell him a story, or cook his favourite meals, or play with him, in short, do all the things his mother does for him. Through him, I am experiencing motherhood. Through him, I am experiencing a blessing bestowed upon women by our Creator.
I also experienced pregnancy vicariously. My dear sis in law took me through this journey: morning sickness, food cravings, mood swings, the baby’s movements, everything. She would tell me what she was experiencing at any time of the day, and how it felt. The baby kicking and moving within her womb, kicked and moved within my heart. It was such a gratifying experience, which would not have been possible without her. And, for that, I will remain ever so grateful to her. I may not know the intricate details about the physiological changes that a woman undergoes during pregnancy. I may not know anything about the pain that she goes through during labour. But, I do know how it feels to be a mother.
I am glad we humans have this ability to learn about things from others that we can’t experience ourselves. I could experience a miracle that is childbirth. I am sure there are countless people out there, who have experienced many such joys vicariously. Isn’t that a blessing?