On the occasion of mother’s day, we are celebrating brave and courageous moms who fought like a hero to give their kids a life of dignity, love, and respect. And, one such brave story is of Koushumi Chakraborti.
In a country where women are judged for every aspect of their lives, it needs a real brave heart to be a single mother.
And, if you are an unmarried woman in your early 30s who decides to adopt a child, then you definitely one of the few courageous women, who are strong enough to live life on your own terms.
One such brave-heart is Bangalore-based Koushumi Chakraborti!
Recalling her struggle to be a single mother at 40, Koushumi, who works with Infosys, shared with News18:
“At the age of 40, if you are a single working woman, motherhood can be quite challenging. But I knew I wanted to be a mother and for me, procreating was not a necessity.”
But what makes her story even more inspiring is the fact that she gave a home to someone special, who was being rejected by society because of the way he was born.
When Koushumi first spotted Shanaya on the listing of ‘special needs children‘ up for adoption, she read the description which said – He is ‘transgender’.
Knowing about the challenges of raising Shanaya, Koushumi’s mother didn’t agree with her idea.
“She was quite worried, she said I will not be able to cope with the child’s needs emotionally”
Although her brother encouraged her, he also warned her of the emotional toll it might take on her.
But, Chakraborti made up her mind and adopted Shanaya, who was born with reproductive and sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of male or female. She shared:
“The strange part is even the adoption centre called her transgender, instead of intersex”
Recalling how she finally met Shanaya and immediately fell in love, she shared:
“We bonded as soon as we met”
For two years Shanaya was listed on the site but no one gathered the courage to adopt him. Koushumi knew being a mother to a ‘special needs child’ is not going to be easy. And, she was ready to prepare herself for the challenge.
“I researched so much but there was absolutely no literature on parenting an intersex child in India”
With limited books to fall back on, she found her support in several online communities that helped her in understanding the needs of an intersex child. She shared how she is raising her kid in a gender-neutral way:
“I treat her in a gender neutral way”
“I let him wear frocks, or shirts, whatever he wants to. For my child, I don’t have to stick to a gender”
Even she let the four-year-old to pick a name that the child finds more relatable.
When doctors pushed her to chose the gender of Shanaya, she took a stand that many parents are not able to take for their kids:
“They wanted to do a gender normalization/assignment surgery on her. The doctors wanted her to surgically look like a girl if I want to raise her as a girl”
The 40-year-old added that doctors across the world use this procedure to get rid of any sort of confusion, so the child is able to socialize normally. But Koushumi was convinced that she wants her child to hit puberty and then decide.
“Intersex people don’t want to go through this surgery”
“I can’t decide her gender, she will”
After hearing Koushumi’s story, many people call her brave and heroic. But she believes these titles are heavy:
“These accolades are very heavy. Why call me brave? I am just being a mother. It’s difficult to be a single mother, but I don’t think there’s bravery in being a mother to an intersex child. We should call biological mothers brave too if I am brave.”
It’s been four months since Koushumi became a mother.
And like every mother she faces her everyday challenges. There are days when the four-year-old becomes inconsolable, but there are also days when she is overjoyed.
“My child has gone through a lot of institutionalised trauma, so it’s sometimes hard for her. As for me, I am a new mother and a working, single woman. This is a big challenge and it was a sudden transition. But we are learning from each other every day,”
As Koushumi is now preparing Shanaya for school, she knows her kid would suffer when society would treat the child unfairly. But, Koushumi is sure that she would raise a courageous child who won’t be bogged down easily.
“I know she will face a lot of battles, but I want to teach her how not to get bogged down by it and respond the right way,” she said.
The path chosen by Koushumi is definitely not an easy one.