A year after our wedding we began planning for a child. Excited, we tried naturally for a while but nothing happened. Over the years we met with numerous gynaecologists, fertility experts and did various tests. Nothing happened. I did get pregnant once but lost the baby within a month. We did entertain the thought of adopting but decided against it.
We spent 10 years hoping and praying for a miracle. None happened. One day in August 2011, when I was feeling particularly depressed I wrote a monologue in third person. Even though I wrote diaries and was an avid blogger, I’d never written anything about this personal struggle before. Yet today as I re-read that piece, I believe that it was perhaps my last desperate and fervent prayer for peace of mind and the courage to let go.
For the first time today I’m taking a leap of faith and sharing it with the mycity4kids community.
A wedding is a celebration of happiness, trust, hope and love. It truly is the beginning of a wonderful life together based on faith that things can only move forward now, the beginning of generations to come, of the future and all that it will unfold.
And yet 9 years later as she climbed the church stairs, it was with a heavy heart. Every step was an effort.
This place gave her peace, space to sort out her thoughts and confusions. Whenever she needed to converse with JC, unburden, pour her heart out or let her true feelings be known without any apprehension, she came here. JC simply heard her, he let her be. He never judged, commented or shunned her away. Today she desperately needed to talk and rest, be warm in his embrace and take courage in his strength.
The result tested negative – yet again. It had happened many times before but this time she was just so sure that it would be positive. Yet, it wasn’t. Why?
She had taken every precaution. She had taken her medications and always arrived before time for her check-ups. She never let any negative thought or doubt nag her. She believed and was willing it to happen. She was hopeful that JC wouldn’t let her down this time. She had faith for he had always given her what she wanted – albeit in his own time but he had.
Yet it was negative. She knew the moment the doctor walked in. In turn, the doctor knew the drill – she saw the look of disappointment writ on her face. The doctor was encouraging telling her to look at the bright side – she had gone through this process many times before but this time her body had responded with positivity which just meant that the body needed a little more encouragement.
‘Please don’t lose faith now’, said the doctor.
Faith! But that was the one thing she had in abundance this time yet what difference did it make? She sat in a corner staring at JC.
‘How could you let this happen? I believed in you. I kept the faith. I trusted you. Look at me when I’m talking to you! Don’t just hang there silently with your head bent low. I did everything I was asked to do. I wouldn’t allow myself any negative thoughts. You knew how badly I wanted it then why did you take it away. Why?’
She felt the pain in her hands where her nails dug into her palm. She felt someone clutching her heart tight. She couldn’t breathe. Her breath came in spurts, tears streamed down her cheeks while her body rocked in its impact.
‘Yes, I had prayed that I didn’t want a baby immediately after the wedding when things were rough. Yes, when I was professionally doing well I didn’t want to be tied down and responsible for another person. So what if I did? You’re holding that against me now, after so many years? How could you?’ She wanted to shake JC out of his stupor.
‘You gave me everything I wanted, everything I prayed for. Then why do you refuse to listen to me now? You don’t need any explanations. You know everything. You know we want to start our own family. We’re ready to bring in another little person into our lives. Why do you refuse to listen to our prayers now? Are you making me pay the price for getting everything else that I had asked for? Tell me, please as I can’t bear it anymore. I just don’t have the strength to face him anymore.’
The silence within the church felt stifling. Today she had to let go off the euphoria and happiness she had lived with for weeks. Like waves crashing into the rocks the bubble of happiness she had surrounded herself with had burst. He knew when she spoke to him from the clinic, ‘don’t worry, just come home,’ he’d said.
She couldn’t. She had to be alone. She couldn’t face him just yet. She didn’t want to break down in front of him. He had wanted this as much as she. He loved babies and she couldn’t give him the one thing that he wanted the most. She felt helpless. It felt cruel. He was a good man, yet she couldn’t make him truly happy.
‘JC! Why? Why me? Why are you holding it against me? Please don’t let this happen. How do I face him now? How will I reign in my emotions when I see him? I know he’ll be strong and not break down like he did when we’d lost the pregnancy the last time.’
Her phone rang. He was calling. She knew he was worrying. She should have been home by now. She disconnected.
‘Oh God! What went wrong? What will I do now? This emptiness hurts so much. Once again I feel so alone, devoid of the capability to offer anything to anyone. Again I have to see the look of love and affection in his eyes when he sees his brother’s child. Again I have to see the look of pride in my sister-in-law’s face when she sits playing with her baby. How? I can’t JC. Every time I see them I feel barren and empty. They feel sorry for me; I can see it in their eyes. I hate it. It suffocates me yet I have to bear it with a smiling face. How do I tell him how I feel? It’s his own niece, one he truly loves deeply. It will hurt him to hear this. I can’t hurt him anymore. I just can’t do it. I have to bear it. I have to be happy for him no matter how much it tears me up inside. And now I hear they’re planning to have a second child.’
She couldn’t breathe. Tears choked her.
‘A second baby! It will be so easy for them to have another child when I can’t have even one. Everyone around me seems to be pregnant – my friends, colleagues and even the next door neighbour. Then why can’t I? Why is it so difficult for me to have a baby? Is it because I’m overweight – so what, so is Malhar. She is obese yet she’s having her second child now. Sheila lost an ovary when her appendectomy burst yet she has a child. Then what is wrong with me? Why do I remain barren? Why?’
The silence in the church, the emptiness within overwhelmed her. She didn’t know how long she sat spent of all emotions. There was nothing left. Her phone lit up again. This time she took his call, ‘hi, I’m in church. I’m just leaving, will be home soon.’
‘I love you. Just come home to me. We don’t need a child to make us happy. We have each other. We’ll be fine together. Come home. ’ he said.
And just like that she felt calm. She looked up at JC, joined her hands in prayer and said, ‘thank you for him.’
Slowly a thought crept in. Perhaps he was right. Why did they need their own child to make them happy? There were her friend’s children, her nephew, whom she loved dearly. Perhaps it was time to put this want for a child to rest. Perhaps it was time to close this chapter of their lives.
But could she make peace with herself whenever she saw him with his niece? That relationship was too close for comfort. Emotionally it made her a wreck. She felt incomplete. Could she free herself from the hurt? Could she stop being obvious about her inability to deal with the situation? Everyone would continue to question her lack of natural connect that she was able to portray for every other child but his niece.
Why was she so angry with the little one? Why? Was it because her presence made it obvious that there was no legacy, everything would end when she died? That she would be forced to handover her inheritance to his niece? Was it because there would be no one else to carry on her name? She had so much to give, so much to offer yet there was no one she could call her ‘own’.
Or was she just hurting because actually there was no one to blame?
There was nothing wrong with either of them physically yet they couldn’t have a child – it was just a bad joke – simple in context but cruel in intent.
She let out a sigh and took a deep breathe. JC continued to be silent. Bereft of all emotion she got up to leave.
Today she would lock up a part of her life and throw away the key. This blank chapter in her life would never have a scribble. She would bury it and never look back. It would be lost forever.
And tomorrow would be another day.
(First published in Momspresso (formerly mycity4kids) on June 2, 2014 https://www.momspresso.com/parenting/muchkin-and-me/article/prayer)