M is for Mother

The theatre was half filled, much to my surprise. I was alone. The husband was somewhere in the cafe outside trying to finish his readings so he could do his term paper. Armed with caramel popcorn and ice-milo, I was ready for another Iranian film. My 3rd for this year’s festival.

Of all Iranian films I’ve watched, M is for Mother is the first that the setting is not in some remote village or some ghetto. Set in swanky modern day homes, it tells the story of a rich diplomat couple, where the wife was once exposed to chemical weapons in the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war. Now in present time where she got pregnant, the gynae diagnosed that her unborn child would not be born physically normal due to the chemical present inside her body pre-conceiving. Her husband, who by then is a diplomat with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, unable to accept that a high flying diplomat like him would be a father to a ‘frankenstein baby‘ forced his wife to abort the baby, although she is already 4 months pregnant. It couldn’t happen as instead of being 4 months pregnant, she was already 6 months into her pregnancy.

And the story went on about the trials and tribulations of the mother, raising her ‘special’ child alone after being divorced by her husband who was unable to deal with the fact that a diplomat like him could have a child not up to his standard.

The movie was a bit slow and a bit melodramatic. But the men around me teared. Awhhh. There was an old Chinese man sitting in front of me and he removed his glasses periodically to wipe his eyes. A middle aged man on my left whom I caught wiping his face with his sleeve several times and the elderly couple on my right whose wife was sniffling all the way. I shed many tears myself. Maybe the film touched each person in a different way.

Picture taken from here.

I once had a discussion with a friend here about both of our childless status. She shared with me that she and her husband tried for 6 years– going for every conceiving technology available in the medical market now, to no avail. They then began to realise that they can try and try but ultimately, it’s the ONE up there who decides if it is time for them to have one. She became resigned to the fact that maybe if she does get a child, it may not be a child that they can handle or having to sacrifice something huge in return, so she and her husband decided that it’s just best to let HIM decide as and when, since they tried everything already.

The film reminds me of my friend and of course, ourselves. Just like the couple in the film, we have been waiting for the stork to come for a visit but so far, no sight of their flapping wings bringing the bundle of joy. But now after the film I think it’s ok. I’ll wait. We’ll wait. He knows when we are ready… Like my friend said, what if the thing we want so much is not something we can handle?


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