I lay there, heaving and sweating, in a large canopied bed. At first, I couldn’t make any sense out of it, where I was, what I was exactly doing. My mind was muddled, as if I was streaming in and out of consciousness. I can hear women speaking in hushed tones, of water being poured in a basin, the heat emanating in the stuffy room. So old fashioned, I thought, even in that hazy state.
It’s so hot in here, I thought. Who’s holding my hand? More so, why? What’s going on?
I looked down and found my belly swollen and my legs parted.
“Mamaaaaaaaaaa?!!!!!” I frantically screamed, scared.
“She needs that epidural now!” I heard my mother say, clasping my hand tighter. “It’s coming along now, but don’t be scared. We’re all here.”
My sisters hovered and took my other hand, squeezing it. Before I knew it, I felt something stir inside me that I just had to let out. With one heave, I pushed. A few seconds later, a cry. It wasn’t painful at all.
“Now for the next one,” my mother said.
What? It’s not over?
I heaved and pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. They just came out of me, almost slippery in fact. The room is full of cries.
“Five! And now, we’ll have the last one,” somebody’s voice said. The doctor, probably.
Without warning, I pushed.
“No! Not yet!”
The doctor must have poked around but I wouldn’t have known because I hardly felt anything. I heard a “Hmmm.”
I should be pushing now, I thought.
“Alright, push now.”
I did. Nothing. Something felt stuck.
Another poking about, but I pushed anyway. It could be stifling in there. He had to breathe somehow.
I felt it being pulled, and then nothing. Silence.
I could have had six, as if that wouldn’t have been enough. But the last one was a blue one.
I dreamed about this last night. I felt everything. I felt the pushing, the releasing. I heard the cries.
I’ve always known I couldn’t conceive. I was seventeen then, and because I was eager to prove my womanhood, I copulated with whomever I fancied. But I never got pregnant. It got me wondering one day, when I felt the pang of envy when my sister gave birth to her son. Ten years ago, I would have never thought I had it in me, to dream of being a mother.
I always saw myself to be unmarried, living the boheme life, acquiring several lovers along the way, and perhaps adopt. I thought I hated children, how messy and cumbersome they can be to one’s independent lifestyle. But I fell in love with Matthew, my sister’s son. How can one not be? He’s adorable as a button.
And several years later, I met someone whose eyes remind me of sunflowers during summer. Gazing into them I saw myself running after rosy-cheeked cherubs with a spoon in my hand and a bib in the other. They excitedly scream ‘Papa!’ as they run towards him and I sigh in resignation. You do the dishes, I’d say, and I’ll have to bathe them. We argue, attempt to fuck once they’re tucked in, but too tired to even undress. He snores, I moan (as my way of snoring). I wake up nuzzled in his arms and gaze at his sleeping face, so beautiful.
I never told him this, as i didn’t want to scare him away. I know it is not how he prefers things to be. He reminds me of my old self, of how I used to want things. No commitments, nothing solid. Always leaving the door half open in case I’d want an easy way out.
I simply cannot go back. I cannot go forward either. I am barren, empty. Defective. Who would want me? Where do I go?
And so I weep for that lost little soul that never even had the chance to live. I weep for my own soul for I will never have the chance to give life.