The curtains to my room were drawn and I was tucked in bed nursing my injured soul and licking my open wounds. I could hear voices just outside the door but the voices in my head were louder and deafening.
“A chemical pregnancy”, the doctor said. “It happens so often and most woman don’t even know that they conceived and then lost a baby because it simply comes out in the next menstrual cycle and if you’re not following a regular cycle every month, you would never know that you conceived at all.”
His face was sympathetic. But as he uttered the last of those words he motioned for us to leave his rooms. I couldn’t! How could I leave? It felt wrong to just leave. I needed more from him. I needed a picture of a baby! I needed more answers, more of anything. But he gave me nothing more.
“What she thinks! I’ll put nazar on her? That’s why my own son never tell me!”
My mother in law’s voice drowned out my thoughts. I could hear Suhail explaining to her that we told nobody about my pregnancy. He explained how I was barely pregnant for a few weeks and how it was better for this very reason that we told no one. My mother in law said nothing, but I knew that she wasn’t happy with Suhail and I. The door creaked and I shut my eyes. I didn’t want to face her or Suhail or the sky outside. I didn’t want to deal with anybody or anything. I wanted to drown in the sea of my tear stained sheets, to drown in sleep, to never have to face another person or question about when was I going to make a baby or what had happened or how it happened and when it happened. I was exhausted in every way. So I closed my eyes and I just lay there. Suhail lay down beside me but I didn’t move, I was floating in a sea of pain and I couldn’t call out for anybody to hand me a life jacket or to save me.
Weeks of this behaviour saw my mother in law getting more and more frustrated with me. Maybe it wasn’t just her and it was my own depression that made it seem or feel worse. All that I did for weeks was sleep, wake, eat, shower, sleep. Everyday I followed the same routine and pattern. I stayed in pyjamas all day and if someone popped in, I draped my abaya over. My mother in law passed subtle as well as not so subtle comments about my lack of energy and about how I needed to get back into routine. And although I heard her, I took none of her advice and I merely looked through her when she tried to get me to cook or to run an errand for her.
I felt cheated and robbed. I felt deprived and I felt like I deserved what happened to me for being the despicable human being that I was. I could never be happy whenever anyone else was pregnant so how could I get to enjoy more than a few moments of my own pregnancy right. I felt guilt that Suhail was deprived of being a father because of me. That’s how human beings assess their situation or condition. They expect Allah to deal with them the way that they would deal with others. But is that how Allah deals with us? The way we deal with others?
Was life ‘Just and Fair’? Did the people who deserved happiness always receive good things? And those who didn’t, were they always denied answers to their prayers? It’s how it’s supposed to be right? The ones who deserved babies had them. Those who didn’t have them didn’t deserve to have babies. But that’s not how it really is and that isn’t how Allah deals with us and finally, I know that now.
Some days were better than others. On those days I smiled and cooked a pot of food. I made a cup of tea and read a book. Shenaz and Aamina avoided me. Good, you deserve it! Didn’t you do the same to them! My mind was vicious and savage with handing out the truth in unmeasured doses.
I sat at the kitchen table drinking a cup of tea listening to my mother in law hand out unsolicited advice to Shenaz on tying her tubes so she doesn’t fall pregnant again! “Two is enough in today’s time,” she said. My mother in law’s sister, Appa as she was fondly called, was seated across from me. She looked at me awkwardly and I knew that it was just a matter of time before more unsolicited advice was handed out, this time to me!
And then she spewed it out, unable to hold back any longer. “Kaynee (Never mind) ma, you mustn’t worry. You must just make shukar, maybe something was wrong with this baby. You know abnormal or something. Allah paak knows why, you mustn’t question him.” Appa Khala felt it important that I be reminded of everything that I tried to forget. She wouldn’t stop. Shenaz was stirring uncomfortably in her seat and my mother in law clicked her tongue and nodded her head in agreement with her sister.
Tears pricked at my eyes and I blinked them away furiously. But the more I blinked, the more they pooled. Then they ran down my cheeks and I escaped the kitchen as quickly as I could but I wasn’t spared hearing everyone begin a discussion on how I was lost in a depression and how concerned they were. “She’s so depressed that one! My poor son.” My mother in law said. “What chemical baby, chemical pregnancy nonsense they making stories about? That one never looks after herself! Always on the go here and there and gym and diet this diet that, that’s why all this happened!”
I shut my bedroom door and cried in torrents until my eyes were emptied.
And even when the last of the monsoon had fallen from my eyes, I still cried invisible tears. My heart was filled with grief. I lay on my musallah in a foetal position, hugging my knees, crying out to Allah, asking Him question after question, replaying back the doctor’s conversation. Of all the woman that were spared finding out that they had experienced a chemical pregnancy, I was not. I was made aware. There has to be some message in that I thought, before I drifted off to sleep.
Suhail returned home from work a few hours later. I woke to his face a hands width from mine, shaking me, calling my name. My eyes were puffy, my nose was swollen. His face mirrored how pitiable I looked. “What’s wrong?” he asked me.
“I can’t take it in this house. I need to move out,” I pleaded….
Do Suhail and Suraya move out of her mother in law’s home? Is this the solution to their current problems? Or do they stay, bite their tongue and continue to be tormented by what others say and think? Read on to find out what happens as the story unfolds further and deeper…