Last time we took up the issue of loss of social status for a widow through the case of Kamya. Let us look at the possible interventions and their outcomes.
She has to take on the responsibility of being a single parent. It is almost impossible physically as well as psychologically to be a father as well as a mother. Children have a considerable amount of intuitive cross-knowledge about the sexes, learned by identification with the parent of the opposite sex in childhood. So she should not worry about trying to be a father to her son. She has much more important contributions to make. For Kamya, the outcome of her single parenting will depend on her ability to find satisfaction in her work, in a new social life, and to be a mother towards Rohit despite an impulse towards resentfulness and guilt. She should start treating him as a mature person and not refrain from explaining her financial situation to him. She should chat freely with him. She should encourage him to cultivate his own interests and friendships; at the same time keep up her own activities. She should not be anxious about making him perfect because she may try to manage too much and produce either rebellion or submission. If things are working out right, he will follow his boyish instincts without constant guidance from her. She should not be worried about hidden troubles if there are no signs of it. She should try to treat him as she would have done otherwise. If he senses that she is feeling guilty for his condition, it may weaken his image of her as a loving and caring mother and in rebellion may make him more demanding and aggressive. Apart from being extra-sensitive to his special emotional needs arising from the loss of a father, coping with his more demanding and less attractive behavior, she could pay more attention to his social and love needs. A good job and adequate management of Rohit would provide her with self-assurance and pride that she had lost.
A distorted sense of loyalty bars some women from feeling that the second marriage would never come up to their first love and that it would desecrate their pure devotion. What made a woman a wonderful wife to one man should make her equally successful with another, if after her sorrow has diminished, she finds just the right man. A problem may however arise if she is too anxious to prove to herself and the world that she is still desirable. If this knowledge is conscious it can be worked out; it is dangerous if it is not in her awareness.
Scene 1: July 15, 2001. In response to the advertisement given by Kamya, she found a suitable match in Chirag – a 38-year-old divorcee with one son. Kamya believed that marriage with Chirag would provide stability to Rohit and herself. It would provide him with a father whom he misses. She spent a 4-month courtship period after which they married.
Scene 2: Feb 14, 2002. The psychiatrist of the general hospital is interviewing Kamya. She had attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping tablets. Tears streamed down Kamya’s cheeks as she described the wreckage of dreams that she had seen prior to her second marriage.
Remarriage is not always a pleasant experience. Kamya had lot of hopes of being able to salvage her life through the new relationship. But things started to go wrong even before her wedding. Her husband felt that since it was the second marriage for both of them, it should be without any celebrations and many fanfares. She never had the chance to feel that she was going to a new life. From the first day itself her husband started complaining that she was spending far too much money. She had to live in the house and look after his parents and child. She had to sacrifice her own wishes for the wishes of the family. Chirag’s son Mitesh was always preferred over her son, Rohit. She was watched resentfully for everything she did to Mitesh and the worst interpretation was put on everything concerning him. All his needs were catered to while the slightest expense on Rohit was frowned over. The problem compounded because even Rohit now became resentful towards Chirag. He often threw tantrums. Kamya also started taking out her frustration on Rohit. The day that she had attempted suicide – for the first time in her life she had beaten Rohit for spoiling his clothes when he accidentally fell into a ditch. Later on her guilt and frustration propelled her to attempt taking her life. Chirag also accused Kamya of comparing him to her former husband. She felt that she was only a glorified caretaker for Chirag’s family. Kamya was now in a pathetic position. To her, her former in-laws appeared to be gods compared to her present position. But, she could not even go to them. She also could not go to her parents’ house. Her parents felt that that once she is married, she has to handle the situation herself. Also her husband was not at all supportive. He was only occupied with his work and with pointing out Kamya’s faults. She tried talking to him about the problems that she was facing but she it is was all useless. Left with no recourse, she resorted to the only option left which was to take her own life and end the misery. She took an overdose of medications, but was saved by the servant of the house and is now in the hospital. It has been difficult for people to see the pain and suffering behind the whole suicidal attempt. It will be dismissed as a case of marital discord. She had married primarily to provide a father for her son, her happiness was incidental. She had married without the confidence of deep love behind her and that is why the marriage is on the rocks.