To the mothers of the lost unborn
As her eyes flickered and she finally regained consciousness, we both were relieved and afraid. Relieved, that she pulled through and afraid that now someone we would have to break the news to her.
Her mother caressed her hair lovingly looking upon her pale face.
“Zara! Open your eyes dear.”
She finally awoke, registering her surroundings while trying to recognise our faces. And then she asked the one question we were all dreading,
“Where is the baby?” She asked twice.
Nobody had the courage to answer her. She tried sitting up, wincing with pain, but her mother stopped her. She was puzzled before but then she started remembering that the doctors had already told her that if it came down to making a choice, they will try to save her life over her baby’s. As soon as she began coming to terms with what had happened, she became hysterical.
For months we sat by her bedside, through hysteria and unconsciousness, through her sleepless sobbing nights and her empty days.
Today, after six years and three healthy happy children, my cousin Zara still tears up when she remembers her terrible loss.
I want to dedicate this Mother’s Day to her and all the other mothers who have lost their babies before they were able to hold them in their arms. This article is a loving message going out to all those who have lived through this horrible grief and managed to come out on the other side, stronger than ever.
To feel another heart throbbing inside you, to feel tiny legs kicking against you, to feel someone sound asleep inside you, how candid were those moments that a special someone spent in the warm embrace of your womb.
Night or day, even the slightest nudge of their toes would wake you up from a deep sleep. You learnt to walk, sit down and stand up with more care and caution than you had ever before, after all, it wasn’t just you anymore.
You took extra precaution in what you ate, you denied yourself small guilty pleasure treats if you caught even the slightest whiff of it harming the little human inside you. You shared your resources with it; you protected it from the outside world by literally carrying it in your womb. You fed it even before you saw it; you loved it even before it was a person.
There will be those who will tell you that you are not a mother because you do not have a child to show for it; but do not despair. Those who say such things have unseeing eyes and hearts of stone for they haven’t felt what you have. The touch of your baby, each beating of its heart, each breath, you have felt it all and in a way that nobody else would understand.
You awaited the arrival of this human with all your heart although you knew what you would have to go through to bring it into this world. You found pleasure in collecting tiny clothes, buying small shoes, painting nursery walls and choosing cribs. You are every bit a mother as those with children, and you should never feel any less.
This Mother’s Day I wish to send out my love to these mothers, of great character and tremendous strength who have suffered and survived this heartache. These women who have borne the pangs of motherhood without the sweet reward promised at the end. These warriors who have done their part for their families and their unborn children have to endure stinging looks from others on account of their misfortune.
In several cases they are also considered a bad omen for other happy mothers. How can these women, who have been through what may be the most traumatic experience in their lives, be considered bad luck for other expecting mothers? One of my closest friends suffered through this great ordeal after which her own sister-in-law who was an expecting mother, avoided her like the plague, so as to avoid the curse. These outrageous superstitions are disgusting and those who believe them should be ashamed of themselves. It is imperative to ensure that these women who have gone through this testing time feel loved and cherished rather than being cast aside.
This Mother’s Day, when the world will cherish mothers with children they have been able to hold and cherish, I urge everyone to acknowledge the strong women amongst us who have lost their babies before having the chance to even hold them first. They are fragile flowers that need to be cherished and handled with affection and care.
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