Overwhelmed with emotions, Manu Bala cradled her newborn daughter in her arms as tears streamed down her face. The young mother had just given birth in a rundown government hospital, and little did she know that her child was one of the over 67,000 babies born in India on that special day. It was the same day that the UN announced India’s celebration of surpassing China as the world’s most populous nation.
Filled with joy and relief, Manu held her yet-to-be-named baby close to her chest, feeling grateful and proud to become a mother on such an auspicious occasion.
“I want my baby to have a bright future, a good education , and I will do everything I can to give her a comfortable life,” the 22-year-old housewife expressed from her hospital bed.
Her laborious experience was one shared by many mothers in India’s overcrowded maternity ward, where nurses clad in green and white overalls tended to expectant mothers. Lying on a bare bed, the first-time mother’s face flushed as she listened to the doctor’s push instructions to With sweat running down her forehead, Manu wrote in pain, holding tightly onto the sides of the bed before ultimately hearing the cheers from the triumphant staff.
Manu’s husband, Rohit, was relieved to hear that his wife and newborn daughter were safe and healthy, but he couldn’t help but worry about the future. As a state government employee, he understood the harsh reality of living in a country bursting at the seams with its ever-growing population.
With millions of young people entering the workforce each year and struggling to find employment opportunities, Rohit felt there were too many challenges to overcome in their already water-scarce, air-polluted, and housing-limited environment. “I believe that having one child is enough in today’s times,” Rohit shared, echoing the sentiments of many parents in India.
Despite the challenges they face, Manu and Rohit remain hopeful for their baby’s future. They look forward to celebrating her 11th-day naming ceremony with a Hindu priest who will consult astrological charts for an auspicious moniker. providing their child with the best life possible, despite the odds stacked against them.