Often, one of the first questions asked of a newly married couple is, “When are you planning to start your family?” Some couples want to travel, enjoy personal time together, and pursue their professional careers and marriage before thinking about a family. Others want to have children immediately. Either way, it is a major decision that needs to be thought out.
For Jeeja Ghosh, a disability rights activist, it was an easy decision. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be a mother sooner than later. She wanted that love and reward in her life. In 2013 when she married her husband, Bappaditya Nag, that dream started becoming a reality.
However, Jeeja has cerebral palsy. While cerebral palsy doesn’t directly cause infertility, it can lead to other health concerns and difficulties becoming pregnant, during a pregnancy, and at childbirth. The Cerebral Palsy Guidance page stated, “There is no evidence that cerebral palsy affects fertility, but there is also no bigger risk of having a miscarriage or a premature baby when compared with people who don’t have cerebral palsy . . . Yet, there are special circumstances that should be understood beforehand, for the best chances of success during and after pregnancy.”
Jeeja still had a dream of becoming a mother and in 2016, she and her husband applied and started the adoption process. However, they did not realize what a process it would be for them. They also didn’t realize the humiliation they would experience. Jeeja discussed the disgrace she felt when authorities compared cerebral palsy to a mental disease and had to prove herself on many occasions that she was fit to parent a child.
Jeeja and Bappaditya now have a beautiful baby girl in their home named Bhujungu. They are both on work leave and are loving their time home caring and getting to know their precious soon-to-be daughter. Their adoption should be finalized in a couple months.
Jeeja paved the road and became the first woman with cerebral palsy in India to adopt a child. Now that this path has been established, hopefully, it will be easier for the next family with health issues to adopt. While it was a rocky road for them, Jeeja and Bappaditya are looking forward to their lifelong journey as parents to their beautiful Bhujungu.