Giving Birth to Happiness


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Millions of babies are born every year in all parts of the world. Most of these are in Africa, Asia Latin America where people in so-called Third World or developing countries live. Women in rich European, American, Australian or Japanese countries do not give birth to many babies and countries often suffer from an absence of demographic dividend. Absence of enough young people results in their having to depend on young immigrants from the developing countries to be able to carry on with their daily needs of manpower.

As indicated, relatively poor countries of the world are giving birth to many children and it is estimated that on an average a woman gives birth to four or even five children. Many women give birth in hospitals, maternity homes or clinics but it is not uncommon to hear that some poor women give birth to their babies on the street because the hospitals deny them admission due to overcrowding or because they do not have the required amount of money.

When a region is flooded or suffers some disaster, women are often forced to give birth on the streets or in some unhygienic regions. This has recently happened in the southern state of Kerala in India which has suffered unusually large amounts of rainfall in the past few weeks. Meteorologists say that Kerala has not suffered this deluge of rainfall for the last one hundred years. Obviously thousands of people have been marooned and many people have died in this deluge. But occasionally a few pregnant women have been airlifted and taken to hospitals where they have delivered their tiny bundles of happiness.

An example of women travelling large distances to deliver their babies has happened in Mexico. Pregnant women have somehow crossed over into USA for this purpose for the reason that a child born in USA automatically becomes its citizen and the mother can also stay there to take care of the little one. It is said that the Trump administration has become aware of this unusual method of immigration and is thinking of building a long wall to stop this practice which they consider to be illegal.

There have also been instances where women travelling on trains or even in air have suffered labour pains and delivered their babies in transit. This has been possible because some doctor or nurse has been travelling with them and helped in this delicate task

Recently, I read about two unusual births in the small country New Zealand. Some time ago the prime minister of New Zealand gave birth to a baby and setting up a sort of record by being the second prime minister in the world to give birth while in office. (I wonder who the first was).

Now comes the news from NYT that Julie Anne Genter, a minister in the same country, has cycled to a nearby hospital to give birth along with her husband Peter. When people wondered why she cycled, she smiled and said that the Auckland City Hospital was mainly downhill from her home and she did not have to exert too much to deliver the tiny bundle of joy. She intends to take three months’ maternity leave to take care of the baby and enjoy her happiness.

Let us wish her and her baby health, joy and happiness.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 Aug 2018.

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