A tale from The Muslim Woman Magazine
There’s always been something so magical about the middle part of the night, the darkest hour of darkness. It’s as if you exist alone in this world and not a single soul exists along with you. It’s a beautiful place to be beached in, the waves of black keep you afloat as your thoughts crash on the rocks of hope and despair, as they ebb and flow until slumber finally drowns you.
I lay on my bed, my hand caressing my tummy gently. I stroked my empty belly as I conversed with Allah in my mind. “WHY!!!” I asked. My conversations always started with this question mark, WHY ME??? In fact WHY NOT (italics) ME! Would I really be that bad a mother that my Creator withheld that role from me while he handed it to countless other women? Women who didn’t even have the need or want for a child. For as long as I could remember I’ve wanted to carry a child, first in my womb and then in my arms. I had never seen anything more radiant than a fully bloomed pregnant woman. When asked to present a speech to my grade four class on what I wanted to become when I grew up, the entire classroom chorused in laughter as I stood at the front of them and proudly said ” I want to become a mother!”. And yet here I lay next to my husband, eyes full of tears, an empty, lonely, cold and barren womb encased in this flesh of mine, a stabbing pain in my chest, a battle ground in my mind and still the question fired at me, Would I ever become a mother???
My third attempt at Invitro fertilization had successfully failed a few days before. Weeks of planning and waiting for that right moment, days and nights of praying had all offered me nothing but another cycle of my period. I felt cold and numb. Everyone seemed to be cradling a baby, everyone besides me. People who didn’t want more kids were handed that exact thing they wished didn’t happen to them and those of us that would sell everything we own, were denied the very same thing that they were given. It made no sense at all to me.
The doctor said that there was no problem. None whatsoever. There was no medical reason why I couldn’t conceive. There was no issue with my reproductive cavity nor with Suhails sperm count. We were both young and healthy and I produced enough healthy eggs to conceive naturally. So for 6 months we first tried the natural approach with the aid of fertility drugs taken orally at home, but nothing happened. For the next 10 months we tried three different IVF treatments, all amounting to nothing again. I know that many women go through the same thing but I was not every other woman filling up the numbers on the statistic sheets, I was one single entity and my pain was my own, mine alone.
My life had become a series of either seeing people with babies, which tore my heart into shreds, or I was faced with questions as to why had I not yet conceived, when would I be having a baby, what was I waiting for! I smiled, I shook my head, I shrugged, I cringed, I was muted, tongue tied, my heart bleeding in torrents and cyclones within my chest. How could people be so insensitive, I wondered. Did they even know? Did they later realize? Did they even care what effect their prodding and prying had on me and those like me? I guess they would never know that when I was all alone, I locked the bathroom door and then held my tummy as I slid down to the floor, crying my heart out replaying their words, their questions even their facial expressions. I guess they’ll never know just how deeply their insensitivity affected me. Well perhaps now they’ll know.
Suhail refused anymore treatment. He refused to go to the doctor again. I didn’t even fight him. I was drained, I felt fatigued and lame. I just accepted my fate. I accepted that I would forever be childless. I would never be able to buy pretty dresses or cute shoes for my baby. I would never get to push a stroller or feed my baby at 3 am while the world was asleep. I accepted my lot in life, my taqdeer, my destiny. My heart was still bleeding every now and then. My insides still felt swollen. My womb still cried out and howled at the sight of someone else’s baby as it ached within me but I had the will or rather the want to live a full life, as best as I could. Or at least I could try to…
I smiled at Suhail as he said no to another round of IVF. “Ok” I said, ” I’m tired too”. He took my hand, pulled me into his chest and hugged me tightly. “Maybe we’ll try another doctor in a few months”, Suhail said sympathetically, “perhaps there’s something else we can try. What about homeopathic treatment?”,he asked me. I nodded my head but the truth was that I didn’t know if I wanted to put myself through such rigorous effort again. At that point I felt okay, I had not felt such peace in a long time. I thought that I was making peace with and accepting my demons and if I did that, they couldn’t haunt me anymore. Right? I was wrong…
Something amazing happens when you resign to your fate. When you stop chasing the things that escape you, just look back, you’ll soon find them in chase of you!
For the first time in all my married life I was “late” with my period! First I was a few hours late, my body was like clockwork and even an hour late signaled that something was different (italics), then I was a few days late. Eventually I was one whole week late! Was I pregnant? Was this nothing?
Was my body and my mind or were both playing tricks on me?
Read the next edition to find out whether Suraya is finally pregnant. If she is, is this her happily ever after? And if she isn’t how does this impact her?