“The Fruit of the Womb” III

Aisha, 37

The questions never stop coming.

If there was one thing I wish I could stop, it’s the questions.
I wish everyone could just stop with the questions and comments!.
On the very few days I don’t have it at the top of my mind, the few days I feel like a normal regular woman, the questions serve as a reminder.
 I am not a regular normal woman.
 I am a woman without a child.

Sometimes they are subtle. Disguised in well meaning comments and pieces of advice.
Questions like “What are you waiting for now?”
Like pregnancy was something I had control over.
Like my situation gave me the luxury of “waiting”.
Like I had a choice.

Other times, they come as tips. Concerned mummies and aunties offering tips on how to conceive a child.
“Have you tried xxx position?’

“Hope you don’t move immediately your husband has finished. You need to lay still for at least 10 minutes so the work can be complete”.
I have to nod through these awkward conversations.
The most intimate part of my life becoming something to be analyzed by people that barely know me.

Then there’s the congratulations gang.
Any time you dare to have a big meal, or if hormone fluctuations make your belly slightly larger than normal, or maybe you just gained a few pounds
These set of people are usually the first to congratulate you.
Saying it with a sly look, like they were clever enough to discover something you meant to keep hidden.
I struggle with this because sometimes I want to say thank you and accept the congratulations with “faith”.
Sometimes I want to pretend there is something to be congratulated for.
But the reality is this well meaning congratulations serve to not only remind me that I am not yet pregnant, but also to remind of my physical insecurities

See, I was pregnant once. A few weeks after our wedding, I missed my period.
I was excited. We were excited.
Our family was going to be complete.

I got all the clothes.
Read all the books.
Painted the room.
I took good care of myself.
Ate all the right foods.
I did all the right things.

Yet, at 32 weeks, during a regular ultrasound check, there was no heartbeat.

I laughed at first. Thought it was some kind of prank.
Begged them to listen harder.
To use a different machine.
There was no way my baby would just die.
No reason for it.

I had to be induced.
Went through all the pain to give birth to a baby I knew wouldn’t live.  
My little baby.
My heart was shattered.

I longed to hear his cry when he came out.
Prayed for a miracle.
Prayed that it was all just a mistake.
I wailed. I wept.
I even tried to bargain with God. If He made my baby live I would serve Him all my life. I would do whatever He asks of me. I begged God.
But my baby just laid there peacefully.
Looking content.
Not making one sound.

32 weeks.
8 months.
All gone. Just like that.
And all I was left with were the memories.

Breasts that kept producing milk
A sore bottom from the labor experience

The postpartum weight
The fluctuating hormones…

I was left with everything but a baby.

I hid myself for weeks.
Dealing with the pain, the grief, the guilt.
Afraid to show myself to the world.
Afraid that life would be back to normal.
Afraid that I had to live without my baby.

Afraid of the questions and comments

People tried to console me by saying things like “Everything happens for a reason”
Or “God has a plan for you”, “What will be will be”
Reassurances I didn’t want to hear at that moment.
There was absolutely no reason just enough for my baby to die

And even after this harrowing experience, the questions still came.
Questions I had no answers to.

Questions I was still asking God.
Questions with answers I thought should be self apparent.

Questions. Questions. Questions.

Because at the end of the day, to the world, I was still a woman without a child.

Leave a Reply