Tag Archives: Pregnancy

‘Choir girl’ says “I do”

 

I do

What happens when a devoted choir girl gets pregnant and it’s in the public domain she is very unmarried? First, church folk who consider themselves deeply religious (in the self-righteous way) would be so quick to condemn her, questioning how she let herself partake of the forbidden fruit when it should be enjoyed by married couples.

Secondly, if the girl was brave enough to go back to church after conceiving, with her new-born in her arms, the same church folk would condemn her for blatantly showing up in church after fornicating and getting a child out of wedlock. Yes, people can be nasty sometimes.

See how that scenario plays out? It actually happened to a girl in my church and I wrote about it in a previous post. I didn’t know the girl really well, but deep down I applauded her for her courage. Not many would just go back to church after getting knocked up, when everyone expects people who are strongly involved in church matters to also set an example for the rest of the faithful.

A few weeks after delivering she resumed her position back in the choir and life went on. Some months ago my sisters and I made this friend in church. He had been recently elected as youth chairman. One Sunday afternoon he was with a friend, so when we went to greet our friend, he introduced us to the ‘chairman’ and that’s how we got to know each other.

The next time-almost a month later-the ‘chairman’ came to say hi to my sisters and I, he was alone. That time mom was with us. Since they hadn’t been formally introduced, I told him that was our mom and he refused to believe it.

“She can’t be your mom,” he objected, evidently surprised.

“Why?” My sisters and I asked simultaneously.

“She’s so young.”

We only giggled. He wasn’t the first person to say that so we understood him.

“I know your mom,” he continued adamantly. “I’ll show you who she is the next time I see her.”

We laughed again because that was funny. I didn’t know what woman he was referring to but I imagined he was talking about a woman who sits next to us in church most of the time. While we were saying our goodbyes, we spotted dad and as we started making our way towards him, we told the ‘chairman’ that was our dad.

Again, he refused to believe it. Clearly startled, he walked away, shaking his head in disbelief. Since that day we became good friends, always stopping to say hi whenever we bumped into each other after mass.

About a month ago, he walked up to my small sister and me and gave us invitations to his pre-wedding bash. He is a very young guy, and that took us by surprise. I wouldn’t have guessed, even in a million years that he would be getting hitched. I hadn’t seen him even in the company of any woman so that was quite a shock.

While we were standing there congratulating him because honestly that was such a bold step to take especially for a guy his age, he pointed us to a young lady who was walking out of the church. “That’s my wife.”

Curiously my sister and I looked in the direction he was pointing us to. Shock on us! His fiancée was none other than the ‘choir girl’.

I’d seen her so many times before but I had never had the chance to talk to her. She walked towards us and right after, the guy-her fiancé left us to acquaint ourselves with each other. We didn’t have much to say to each other as we were practically strangers but atleast we got too know her name.

A week after their pre-wedding he found mom at her workplace and gave her two invitation cards to his wedding. One card was addressed to mom and dad and the other one to my sisters and me. We hadn’t thought the wedding would be that soon but we promised him we would attend.

This past Saturday, my sisters and I went to church to witness the very young couple saying “I do.” It was such a beautiful ceremony. I watched as the tearful father of the bride gave his daughter away, and I imagined he was happy to see his daughter formalizing her relationship with her baby daddy.

Forlornly, I wondered if dad would even shed a tear for us if we were the ones getting married. I have a feeling he wouldn’t be moved to tears. In any case I bet he would have the ‘good-riddance- feeling. I know he would be happy to give us away, just so we can finally get off his back.

Anyway, as the wedding ceremony continued, I watched in admiration as the ‘choir girl’ and her ‘chairman’ hubby finally said, “I do, in good times and in bad, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”

For a moment there I had thought the bride would start crying as I watched her recite her vows, but when her husband slipped the ring on her finger, a wide smile curved her lips and the tears that had welled up in her eyes disappeared.

The two are just a young couple. Even the priest officiating the wedding said it; that the choir girl and her husband were the two youngest people, whose wedding he had presided over. I couldn’t argue with that. It was precisely why I had been so shocked when I saw the ‘choir girl’ expectant and subsequently giving birth.

I’m so glad they were brave enough to take that bold step at such a young age.

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Almost Aborted: Part two

new baby

As I watched the rejection my cousin endured from close family members, the phrase,’ it’s only when you’re in need that you get to know who your close friends are’, made perfect sense. My sisters and I were always treated like outcasts, but now that she was pregnant, she was ostracized from the rest of the family.

While staying with us, she was warm; a side she rarely showed us; but we weren’t fooled by it; we knew it would last only as long as everyone else was against her. We knew she was using us, but we didn’t mind it; we wanted to be there for her. Apparently some relatives found out she was staying at our place, so they would try to get first-hand information from us; nonetheless, we guarded her little ‘secret’. Whoever wanted to know anything about her would have to get it straight from the horse’s mouth; from her.

Mom finally managed to convince her mom it was okay for her to keep her baby; so she went back home. Normally we hardly visit each other, but at that time we broke that unwritten rule. If we didn’t go to her she would come to us. The palpable forlorn look she had been wearing that entire time was replaced by a cheerful one. Her mom hadn’t reconciled herself with the fact that she was going to be a grandma; nevertheless, she was slowly starting to get used to the painful idea.

Eventually, my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. At three days old, she was the first new born I had ever laid my eyes on. I didn’t know how to hold her, because I was afraid her fragile neck would snap; but I got the hang of it. When some of our cousins made snide remarks in her presence, we stood up for her. Just like us, she had no prior knowledge on how to handle babies, so we imagined the frustration and pain she must have been feeling.

The first few days after my niece’s birth, my cousin seemed distressed; her eyes were ever red and swollen; we imagined she had been overwhelmed by the whole issue; she had to wake up in the middle of the night when the baby started crying… It was hard for her.

Every last Friday of the month, I accompanied her to the clinic for her post-natal check-up. I watched as the little baby girl grew from kg to kg. It was an honour for me. The feeling was amplified by the fact that she would cry when other people held her, but when I took her in my arms she would stop. Her grandma was shocked when one time she started crying, but when I took her, she stopped and started smiling instead, staring at me with her big beautiful eyes.

Slowly, we started drifting apart. Our routine visits stopped completely. But that was after the other family members saw the baby and fell in love with her. No one scorned my cousin again; apparently they all loved the baby.

During my niece’s first birthday, everyone was invited to the party, except my sisters and me of course. My cousin had gone back to her old snobbish ways; but honestly we didn’t mind it. We had known that would happen sooner or later. Her mom called my big sister to ask if we were going, but she told her our cousin hadn’t invited us.

My aunt asked my cousin about it but she told her she’d only invited the people close to her; the same people who shunned her when she needed them. We just laughed it off, genuinely unoffended. That’s the treatment we’ve always been given since forever by her and the rest of our snobbish cousins; we gradually grew indifferent to it.

This past Easter, my niece turned four. She’s a spitting image of her mom, although when I looked at her a few months ago I thought she had a striking resemblance to her uncle-my cousin’s brother. My cousin is the only one with a baby so far; our other cousins, my sisters and I are yet to walk down that road. So now that my niece is the only baby in the family, everyone dotes on her. Recently, during a get-together which my sisters and I skipped, the ‘senior’ family members were asking the rest of our cousins to follow my cousin’s example and get their own children.

Honestly I found it ironic; when she got pregnant, the same people thought she had made the gravest of mistakes, now they hold her on a pedestal, for everyone to emulate.

My niece is clearly adored by everyone, and I wonder how she would feel if later she finds out-God forbid-that many wanted her aborted. It was easy for people to write her off when she was only taking form in her mother’s womb, but now she’s here with us, the same people shower her with affection unreservedly.  Her grandmother for instance, she was on the forefront, championing for her to be aborted, but now when they’re together, I get the feeling she loves her more than everyone else; a complete change of heart.

“Auntie,” my niece called me when I was seeing her and my aunt off one Saturday evening a few weeks ago; they had visited “I want those.”

“What?” I asked her.

“Those,” she hinted at the jeweled gladiator sandals I was in with her eyes.

I smiled. “But they’re too big.”

“I want them in my size.” She replied confidently. I hadn’t seen that coming. Her innocent request had me laughing loudly, impressed by her witty reply. So now I owe her a pair of shoes. It’s impossible to not love her; it’s hard to imagine she was almost aborted. Nonetheless, given the strained relationship we have with her family, I doubt we will be seeing much of her in the future, God willing.

 

Almost Aborted

pregnant

When one of my cousins was twenty years old, she got pregnant. She wasn’t married at the time and she hadn’t introduced any particular guy to her family, so it came as a shock to everyone. Her mom was the one who was most affected; her daughter’s situation would subject her to people’s ridicule. She wasn’t prepared to go through all that; so she asked her to get an abortion.

My cousin was distraught; she was not prepared to have her baby aborted. She refused. When the row was going on, one of our cousins, who she was closest to, found out and started telling everyone. She turned her back against her too, disregarding the tight relationship they had before the ‘tiny one’ came into the picture. Before long, everyone in the family knew my cousin was pregnant. It was a difficult time for her; everyone turned against her. They felt she had committed a grave mistake. Some relatives rejoiced; not for good reasons though, but because the girl everyone considered holy had been knocked up by someone no one in the family had been formally introduced to.

Naturally, my sisters and I aren’t so close to her because she-like the rest of the family-always snubs us; we don’t fit in her social circle; I don’t find that an issue anymore-it’s just ludicrous (I fail to comprehend how people could put so much importance on material possessions). After everyone got wind of her undesirable situation, she was alienated, without a single person she could count on. Even the cousins she ganged up with to make our lives impossible ditched her. If they weren’t dissing her, speculating who her baby daddy was and all, they were celebrating her ‘misfortune’. She was all alone.

The situation felt especially difficult for her because she was a girl with a quiet demeanor, while her mom’s the kind of woman who criticizes others easily. My aunt feared people would unleash their wrath upon her, serving her a dose of her own medicine. She was disturbed. Before it became public knowledge, she had talked to mom about her predicament; she had a solution to obliterate the tragedy, but her daughter was too unwavering to comply. She asked mom to convince my cousin to terminate the pregnancy.

Mom wanted to help, but the idea of an abortion didn’t sit well with her. Instead she had a talk with my cousin, asking her what she wanted. She wanted to keep her baby. Subsequently, mom tried convincing my aunt an abortion wasn’t the solution; my cousin wasn’t willing to go through with it.

That infuriated my aunt. How would she face people? The same people she had always been too quick to judge? Eventually, she kicked my cousin out. We live in the same estate, only in different courts, and luckily mom had gone to see how they were holding up when she was thrown out. We took her in. Funny thing is, we were among the first people to hear it because when my aunt found out she told mom about it, reeling with shock, but we never breathed a word of it; it wasn’t our place to tell; plus we’ve been in that situation-having people make us subject of their scuttlebutt with reckless abandon-too many times to want to inflict the same pain on anyone. I also believe in the golden rule; treating people the way I’d like others to treat me…

When she came home, it was around Christmas. After the fight with her mom, her eyes were red; she had been crying. All we wanted was to make her settle in; no one questioned her about it. She would tell us if she deemed it fit. For the period she stayed with us, none of us brought the issue up, and apparently she didn’t see it right to let us in on it.

We were ignoring a gargantuan elephant in the house; sometimes surprised, we’d be tempted to innocently point out her feet were swollen as it was too obvious or that her face was glowing but then we’d bite our tongues real quick; she hadn’t told us she had a bun in the oven and we didn’t want to offend her. She had too much on her plate; if our willful ‘ignorance’ afforded her some false impression of privacy, we would give her just that.

At some point we wanted to suggest we take her shopping so she could buy some cute dresses because she was always in jeans and over-sized shirts, but we couldn’t. We had do act dumb. It was difficult, but for her peace of mind we refrained from saying or doing anything which would allude to the ‘little’ elephant we were all trying to ignore. I doubt I ever told her, but the thought that she refused to abort even when the whole world seemed to be against her made me admire her greatly.

WHERE DO BABIES COME FROM?

stork carrying baby

In January this year, I accompanied my mom to her ophthalmologist; she was going to get fit for a new pair of glasses to replace the ones she had as they had expired after the required two years duration. I was free that day, so when she asked me to take her I had no reason to turn her down.

It was mid-morning, and from the look of it, the day would be a beautiful one. The sun was out, but the cool breeze made it just the perfect day out with my mom.

By the time we got to the eye clinic, the sun was overhead; it was midday. When we walked in the place was relatively packed, but there was sufficient room for all of us. A lady dressed in a pink shirt and black tailored pants-that was their uniform- came to attend to us. She brought with her a form which my mom was supposed to fill out then after a while she took it to the main reception; she handed the form to the lady who was sitted behind the desk. The lady looked at it then went ahead to pull out my mom’s records from a shelf of neatly stacked files, which were arranged alphabetically but they couldn’t trace them, so the lady we had talked to came back with the form my mom had filled out.

It was my mom’s name they had misspelt. She went back and a while later she came with the ‘elusive’ records.

She filled out a few details then she showed us to the waiting bench. When my mom’s turn came, I didn’t see the reason to remain behind, so I walked in with my mom to the ophthalmologist’s office; she was a pretty Asian lady- judging from her appearance I presumed she was in her thirties.

We exchanged a few pleasantries and my mom and I took our seats. I took the seat next to the door while my mom took the one adjacent to the doctor’s. The doctor and my mom walked down memory lane briefly, recounting my mom’s last visit there.

The doctor handed my mom a pair of goggles which had a red lens on one side and a green one on the other. My mom, who’s already familiar with the routine put them on, facing a remote controlled screen fixed high up on the wall, that had one side coloured red and the other green. The doctor asked my mom to read some letters on the screen and she adjusted the goggle lenses based on my mom’s vision.

As the doctor controlled the screen with the remote in hand, she swung her swivel chair sideways, and then from the clear blues she mentioned she was feeling light-headed. “I think I’m pregnant”, she added excitedly before anyone of us could ask if she was unwell.” I feel this when I’m pregnant”.

“Congratulations,” mom smiled.

“I’m certain I’m pregnant,” she beamed, “I’ve been feeling this for a while now”.

“That’s your second?” Mom asked curiously.

The doctor’s face lit up, “Yeah, I still have that one son, he’s six now”. She unconsciously swung her chair sideways, “I told him his sister would be coming and he was so happy”.

Then she looked at me; I didn’t know what to say, I don’t like joining in other people’s conversations, but at the same time I didn’t want to come off as a bore… “It’s a girl?” I found myself asking.

She smiled, “We’re not sure, but I’m hoping it will be a girl.” She paused, “When my husband and I told him his little sister would be coming soon he asked where is she?” I just sat still, waiting to hear her reply. “I told him she’s in my tummy. Then he asked, how did she get in there?” The conversation was heating up. I didn’t want it to seem like I was intruding, but heavens! It was too good to resist.

When she said her son had asked where his sister was, I had expected her to tell him one of those interesting lies parents tell their kids; like, they would be getting her from the market or something close to that. But she had actually told him the truth. I hadn’t anticipated that. I thought that was brave of her.

So when I heard the ‘how did she get in there?’ part, my thoughts scattered… did she tell him about the birds and the bees? I wondered, my gaze fixed on her, eagerly waiting to hear her reply; how she manoeuvred out of that sticky situation, but she seemed a bit hesitant, I couldn’t wait any longer, “so what did you tell him?” I asked.

She turned to look at me, “I just gave him candy and he forgot all about it”. Then she turned to my mom again, to add an extra lens because my mom had said her right eye’s vision was somewhat blurry. “But I know he will be asking about it again soon, hopefully by then I will be prepared”.

That conversation took me down memory lane, back to my childhood. Kids seemingly put their parents in very uncomfortable situations, when whatever answer they need has to do with matters sex. My mom is just one of those chosen few who never go through that stage; none of my sisters and I ever asked that million dollar question, “Where do babies come from?” I’m not sure how my sisters learnt about ‘baby making’, but personally, I accidentally bumped into the answer.

After class one late afternoon, I was nine at the time; I was walking from the classroom headed home, when on the corridor I stumbled into a red book on the floor. I don’t remember what drawing was on the front cover, but it was in black. I picked the book up and flipped through the pages and I liked what I saw. The topic that particularly caught my eye was, ‘Answers parents give their children when they ask where babies come from…’

I had no idea who the book belonged to; maybe some cheeky kid had taken it to school to show it to their friends or maybe an older kid had dropped it… but I knew I had to read it all, so I put the book in my bag and took it home, hoping my mom wouldn’t see it; she always warned us against taking things that didn’t belong to us.

That evening after finishing my homework I embarked on reading that red book. I chuckled as I read about some of the white lies parents tell their kids; babies are bought from the market; a big bird comes and drops the babies right on one’s door step… Then I remembered the big birds-storks- I had seen in cartoons carrying a bundle on their beaks, and subsequently dropping it off on someone’s doorstep. The owner of the house would take the bundle, open it and find a beautiful baby staring at them.

After that, the author(s) of that book went on to explain the real thing; where babies come from. It gave a detailed explanation of the reproductive parts of the male and female anatomy and subsequently how a baby is formed when the two engage in coitus… I had taken that biology class in advance.

Just by sheer luck, I had learnt where babies come from…

Four years later, as a teenager, my teachers taught about reproduction; they were emphasizing on the topic an awful lot to ensure girls did not end up with buns in the ovens when hormones started raging at the onset of puberty. Interestingly I realized they were teaching me something I already knew. The one thing they didn’t seem to help me understand was how the baby came out…

I spent many years wondering how a whole baby passed through the birth canal into the world… I needed facts, but the people I asked weren’t so willing to divulge the details; they were prevaricating. At some point I just got tired of the undetailed answers; I thought it was time I did what I should have done ages ago; I asked my mom about it…