Open UP: #126 – Bargavi, the Super Mom

Once in a year, we celebrate Mother’s Day. I agree that we don’t need to do that only on one day and every day is a Mother’s Day. I still would love to use this opportunity to introduce to you all a special mother – Bargavi, who withstood the test of life and won! Bargavi might look like your next-door girl but is a super mom! She and her daughter Ladoo are are examples of inspiration, dedication, love, patience and care like no other. I was looking for a special post for Mother’s day and Sara insisted we talk to her. This is what happened when Bargavi talked to Tiger.

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Tell me about yourself. Who you are and what you do now?
I am from Kanchipuram. I have done my Diploma in hotel management & catering technology. Right now I am a single mom (homemaker) taking care of my 8 yr old daughter who is a special child (can’t walk or talk).

What was your childhood like, college? First job?
My childhood was as normal as anyone, full of fun and laughter, no worries and years just flew by. My college life was equally good as it was related to hospitality sector, we had so much to work with on assignments, training, food festivals and so on.

Bhargavi talk to tiger

My first job? I started with The Trident, Oberoi group of hotels at Meenambakkam, as a Commis and got promoted as DCDP (Demi-chef-de-partie) within a year. We were catering for Lufthansa and British Airways. My work-life was totally, totally awesome. The timings were from 8 AM to 10 PM, long hours, but I loved doing it and miss that life very much now.

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Tell me about your marriage, Ladoo and what were your initial thoughts?
It was love cum arranged marriage, but had many flaws. He and his parents were not supportive that too after Ladoo was born they were totally horrible. I never had any problems in having a special child and all I wanted to do was to bring her up in a good way.

How did you come to recognize that there is a change in the child?
Ladoo didn’t cry even after 5 minutes of her birth. The moment Ladoo was born, she didn’t cry for 5 minutes and that time itself our doctor said this child will be a problematic one. She didn’t pass her meconium, so they had to rush her to Child Trust Hospital at Egmore (I delivered at Kanchipuram). After the doctor examined, she passed her urine and motion. On the 3rd day she got jaundice and her Bilirubin level was 18%, so they had to keep her on double phototherapy for 3 days and from that one after the other health related issues started for her. For the first 3 years, it was very bad. Once in every 3 months we were admitting her in Child Trust and they took all possible tests, she in fact was used as a research material. The most painful test out of all was the bone marrow test which almost took my breath away, she suffered like hell with the pain. Lastly, we did Karyotype – there we found that she has got chromosome problem with a satellite on her 15th chromosome. We parents were asked to take up the same test and found that her father’s 15th Chromosome has the same satellite.

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She needs to undergo 2 surgeries.

  1. She doesn’t have a separation with her urinary and motion tract (though she does separately). We are waiting for the tissue to grow.
  2. She has mild hydrocephalus on her brain, once operated they will send a tube via either spinal cord to urinary tract or via stomach, but then doctor said she is a kid she won’t be able to cope with the surgery and 99% she will die. So they have asked us to put her on medication and keep her as long she can live.There is a gap in between her nerves n every time she gets the pain, she will bang her head with both her hands, towards the wall or on the ground involuntarily.

What do you do to help Ladoo?
We were asked to give physiotherapy and Neurotherapy. While physiotherapy is to loosen her muscles and to make her walk, Neurotherapy helps to improve her brain cells’ functioning.

How do you cope with the diagnosis?
As she can not  walk, it is very difficult. I have two ligament tears, one on my left knee and the other in my right shoulder. This is because I delivered through a C-Section, I had to take an injection on my spine which hurts a lot while carrying Ladoo ( she weighs 32 kgs). I have been running from the day 3 after she was born to till this moment.

I have put her in a special school and giving her physiotherapy and occupational therapy, she has improved a lot now. Her sleep pattern is very different and she sleeps only one day in a week and not daily.

That is very tough. As a mother what emotions do you go through every day?
As a mother my emotions have no limits. My heart just breaks every time I see her banging her head with pain and every time she gets her fits. Whenever I see kids playing and going out as family it’s terrible. Neighbours don’t even let their kids cum near Ladoo and when we pass by they just grab their kids and move away. I even tried taking her to park but the public didn’t like us come there, the moment I placed her on the swing with another kid, his mom came running from nowhere and took him away and within few minutes I walked away from that place. Those are the times I felt why we both should live and cried like hell.

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I am sorry that this happened to you. It is a tough world and some people are callous but you both are fighters! Describe your day.

My day starts with waking Ladoo up, bathing her, feeding her (all I must do as she can’t even drink water on her own), put her on the wheelchair and go to the school by walk, as she needs to get sunlight to improve her immune system. We attend the prayer and be at school for her physiotherapy. After the therapy by 12 PM, I give her a drink, put her on her CP chair, come back home (buy daily needs on the way as I cannot do it when she is there on wheelchair), clean the house (sweep, mop, wash clothes), prepare lunch and head back to school by 1.45 PM as her lunch time is at 2.

Then give her lunch and come back home by 3, rest for a while then start the evening by giving her tea. Then I put her on standing frame and on splinters, give her exercise, prepare dinner, feed her, give her medicine and try to put her on sleep. Usually after half an hour of her sleep she will get her fits and wakes up (She gets fit at least 3 times in the nights). She is lucky on the day she gets to sleep, but 99% she won’t, so I need to be alert the whole night. That is when I have time to go online.

As a child what does Ladoo mean to you?
Oh! She means the world to me. I can’t even imagine a single minute without her. I am holding on to all my pains and living my life only because of her. She is my heartbeat and the one making me stronger day by day to face this world.

Tell me about what kind of expenses do you have (if you are not comfortable skip this).
I have normal day to day expenses which are a bit high, like her diapers alone I am spending nearly 2000 every week and her medication.

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How does family and friends help you?
I have no friends to help me financially other than supporting me mentally. My dad is helping me a bit with my expenses.

What does the word ‘mother’ mean to you?
I feel the truest, purest meaning of unconditional love, trust, care, sacrifices can only be found in mother’s love, as her love is unlimited and will never fade away.

My in-laws asked me to put her in some home. I said I can’t. They were torturing me a lot before Ladoo was born too as I was not able to go to work it was even worse. Only because of my parent’s support, I could live my life then and now too. It is very stressful and I even tried committing suicide twice in my weak moments but looks like my destination hadn’t come yet. My parents shouted at me and said what will happen to Ladoo, so I decided to get back and fight for our rights (which is not happening).

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You are very brave Bargavi. Never give up your life! Tell us more.
I am a single mom now. My hubby left us long time back. I am fighting everything alone.

Tell me what are your aspirations.
All I am praying for is Ladoo to walk and talk, my divorce case should end. I must start my sandwich cafe (my dream project) and take care of my elderly parents as well. I often wonder what would happen to her in case I go away first from this world. I get my strength from lots of darling people like you all and your wishes. Your prayers are making to go on and live my life and fight.

Bargavi and Ladoo win every day, every moment as they battle against the troubles life has thrown at them and face them with gusto. They cheer is and encourage us to look at life in a different way – One with lot of beauty. Every mother is a precious gift from God and you need to acknowledge that.

Thank you Bargavi, for sharing your personal story with us. We wish you and Ladoo a very happy Mother’s day and we leave inspired, changed, motivated and more caring. I take this opportunity to appeal all parents, children to be more empathetic towards other parents and special children. All they need is a friendly smile and a warm hug.

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Read more such stories of positive psychology by clicking here.

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