Author : Amulya Malladi
Release date : June, 2016
Version : Kindle
Genre : Literary fiction, Social, Women’s fiction
Source : Netgalley.com
Surrogacy is a boon for many people who are childless to have a child of their own. And we have heard about parents desperate to have a child. In fact, these parents are willing to try out many treatments even if some are beyond their means to have a child. Surrogacy in India is not a new term or recent phenomenon. But, it is being handled like a supply chain network. The lack of clear laws surrounding surrogacy also enables to vent the circuitous and often stringent laws in the parents’ countries. As a result, India is one of the hubs for surrogacy. Needless to say, like the kidney and organ rackets, this is being exploited. There are not enough laws to protect the interests of the surrogate mother like what if she has a miscarriage, is she still compensated? What if she dies during childbirth? What if the child has a mental or physical handicap? For more details, read this – <We pray that this clinic stays open> to understand the real life situation for the surrogates.
The book is very similar to the link I shared above.
Priya and Madhu, a childless US couple, with roots in India are opting to have a surrogate baby. Priya has suffered multiple miscarriages, IVF has failed and now she is looking at surrogacy.
Asha is selected from among a group of ladies who are offering their services to be the surrogate. Asha is a housewife having 2 children aged 5 and 2. Her husband is a painter and they can scrape through their lives. Asha’s sister-in-law, Kaveri, underwent a surrogacy and purchased a flat with the money she earned from it. And she recommends Asha to do the same. Kaveri is also planning to become a surrogate again, this time to save money for her daughter’s wedding while Asha wonders will it ever stop after the first time.
The book is quite an emotional ride. The anxiety and excitement of the new parents whose baby is growing so far away in India. The utter despair and emotions of the pregnant surrogate, Asha. She tries to be emotionally detached with the baby growing within her. She feels it is not fair that she gets more attention to carry someone else’s child while her own children were deprived of the same. She sometimes hates the child, sometimes the parents of the child and at times, her own poverty which has led her to this. She is sure, this may not be her last pregnancy.
All the surrogate mothers live in a place arranged by the hospital called as ‘Happy Mothers’. The name cannot be more contradictory. All the mothers are there waiting to deliver other’s babies while missing their own children. The constant fights, comparisons and boredom of the mothers makes you feel their pain.
It was a good, easy read, a bit emotional at times. The author has brought out Priya and Asha’s characters very well. Their emotional states at different times and stages of the pregnancy hits you hard. She has also briefly touched upon social stigma for the surrogate mother and also the real mother. In a culture where getting married and having a child is the highlight of one’s life, what happens when it doesn’t happen. Priya is still better off living in the US. The scenario would have been quite different if Priya was living in India.
Its highlighting a social issue and also the commercialisation of surrogacy. The language is clear and simple. The book is a quick read and I could complete within 2 days.