The Best of Bonds Dr Lakshmi Rathna

To celebrate Mother’s Day this year, we thought it especially fitting to speak with a gold medallist in obstetrics and an experienced gynaecology laparoscopy surgeon, Dr Lakshmi Rathna. Currently the Head of Department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Nice Hospital, she is also a senior consultant at Apollo Cradle. We chatted with her about her own experiences of motherhood and the special bond she shares with her son, Dr Sai Aakanksh, a medical student who is now pursuing his post-graduation in orthopaedics.

How would you define your bond with your son?
The one word that describes the bond I share with my son is ‘lifeline’. He’s like my umbilical cord to life.

What are some of the most special moments that you two have shared?
Both of us think about each other in both health and illness – whether it is the moments of joy, lifestyle modification diets, or any other issues. He has always been very understanding and non-demanding right from a young age. One of the best moments I’ve shared with him is when we were on a summer holiday in Vancouver, visiting the Rockies. We had an amazing time there and I thoroughly enjoyed his company! We spent an evening at a lovely wooden chalet in Whistler, where we went on a short stroll in the drizzling rain by the Lost Lake, catching up with things from both sides. It is one of the few moments that I can recollect now among the many special ones.

The care and concern he gave me, and the sadness he felt for me when I was unwell cannot be expressed in words. We think about each other unknowingly, and many a time our thoughts match the same wavelength. He is with me whenever needed, respects my views, encourages my ideas, and appreciates them with positive vibes.

Do you think it’s more important to have a friendly relationship with one’s kids, or to stick to the old-fashioned way of parenting?
The former, yes. We are like friends with each other; we do almost all the same things and follow each other’s interests. Once your children are above the school age, we must be more like a friend to them rather than playing the bad cop. I feel that now, Aakanksh is like a parent to me! He showers so much love and concern on me – so much so that I’ve in fact become dependent on him.

What aspirations do you have for Aakanksh?
A simple but difficult thing in life is to be happy every minute. I would like my son to be an efficient, balanced, and skilled surgeon with 100% satisfaction in both his personal and professional lives.

What is the mantra that you live by?
My mantra is the 3 Cs: care, concern, and cure. I’ve always prioritised patient care and managing complicated cases by using this mantra. But now, I wish to add another C: cherish. To cherish small things and live my life fully, which I learnt very late in life.

What advice did your own mother give you that has held you in good stead in life?
She gave me unconditional love and affection. She sacrificed her personal life so that I could be happy and a professionally-competent surgeon. I give all my credit to my parents for making me an empathetic doctor (which my patients often quote). Perhaps not advice, but their virtues have held me in good stead in life.

Any parting thoughts?
If I could re-live my youth, I would rather spend more time on cultural activities, which is my passion.     – as told to Sumana