Miscarriage: Who I tried to forgive, what I tried to forget
She had played, and lived inside me for six months, before they took her away; mothers cannot forget that.
I slip the white satin sheet off me; the light from the sun encases me in a newer, warmer sheet. Curtains are drawn and the window beams at me, 12pm signalling a wakeup call. Late mornings have been the norm for nine odd months. But neither I, nor the sun, complain we are happy to rise at a later time.
He has woken up already. He has left for work already. The maid has been let in; she is dusting the sofas in the next room.
My feet touch the marble and I sit up.
Like a reflex, my hand comes to rest on my belly. I almost smile at my faulty memory, perhaps losses take longer to settle in. My eyes lower themselves, a just-in-case measure I suppose, and they receive their proof and lift themselves up again.
It shocks me how near we had come to the end of these nine, long months, before my baby decided to leave. My husband called it an oversight on the doctor’s part. Mothers know better I suppose, there was more to it than a medical flaw.
How happy I had been, I recall, that day I went to the clinic. The sun shone on me as I walked in, it was just a regulatory visit, and you know the ones you make just so you can see that tiny life inside you. How was I to know that the tiny life inside me had recently departed? Mothers know best I suppose, but one cannot expect them to know everything.
Everything was just as it ought to be, the procedure mechanically dictated and performed by a woman who personified medical excellence.
In fact, even the conversation involving an unborn baby, a devastating piece of news, and a mother entrapped by denial, was delivered with such mechanical professionalism. Where was the thunderbolt, which I had expected to wrought an indescribable pain into my heart’s core?
Or was that not how it was supposed to be, you know...
Doctor (sympathetically): I’m sorry,
Mother (concerned, agitated): What are you saying doctor?
Doctor (remorseful): we’ve lost your baby.
Mother (cries out): No!
(Mother faints, a crowd of doctors gathers around her. Camera move into extreme close-up)
That was how we had always expected it to be, but the real life counterpart was so devoid of any dramatic climax, so calm. I almost tremble at the difference.
The sun rays walk in as I get up, they dance around the room; they reflect from the mirrors, they illuminate the off-white furniture. It is like an oil painting, like the portrait of unadulterated beauty. They ask a mother’s forgiveness I suppose, as they dance around the room, they wish me to laugh once more, they wish me to dream once more.
“You must forgive and forget,” my husband’s uncle, with his long white and grey beard had commanded, “forgive the doctor for her error and forget the child.”
I almost smile at the memory of the man who was so sure that he knew God. Perhaps nobody knows God, and perhaps everybody. I knew Him ever since I could recite the Surah Fatiha, twenty years ago. But I started knowing Him when my baby left, and when the man with the white and grey beard told me to forget. When I realised that I must forgive, but never forget, I knew that I knew God.
And so I look at the beautiful, smiling daughters of the sun, that dance around my room, enlightening whatever they touch, and decide to smile with them.
How beautiful my own daughter had been, even when life had forsaken her. As she had lain on the stretcher they would take to the hospital morgue, and later to an unprotected grave. I had wanted her to smile the smile that so resembled mine, to open the eyes that looked so like her father’s, to cry the cry that so emanated life.
But she had lain still, like the white marble under my feet.
I cannot forget, I know, God knows, the man with the white and grey beard should have known. She had played, and lived inside me for six months, before they took her away; mothers cannot forget that.
But I forgive them just the same, mothers can always forgive. A grudge cannot bring my little girl back to me.
The sun shines at me, I pull the drapes. And we smile, despite it all.
Read more by Ushah here.
Art for this post was obtained from: TWINS RUN in our family: Healing Pregnancy Loss through Art