Babies.

We had been trying to conceive for a few months. I wasn’t overly concerned that it hadn’t happened yet. Some women become pregnant just by looking at a baby and for others it takes a little time! I figured I was the latter. Mr Impatient had added a new habit to his obnoxious repertoire. The day after trying he had taken to asking me if I felt different and did I think I might be pregnant. I laughed the first time but it stopped being amusing after that. I was bombarded with a host of questions; how comes you’re not pregnant yet? When are you going to give me a child? Have you been pregnant before? Is there something I need to know about you that you are not telling me? Is there a history of pregnancy in your family you have not told me?

The narcissistic person has an unlimited ability to create an argument from the tiniest atom so I knew he would have a number of field days with this so-called issue. Brace yourself girl.

“Byooti, why haven’t you given me a child yet?”

“Because I’m not pregnant. As soon as I am you will have a child. That’s generally how it works.” I could see that he wasn’t amused.

“You are mocking me. I’m going to ask you again, why haven’t you given me a child yet?”

“Same answer as before. In fact let me correct myself. I am only a vessel of God’s using. If we conceive it will be because He has blessed us. Life isn’t mine to give husband, life comes from God.”

Then he announced one day that he wanted a daughter. I told him put his petition in writing and send it upstairs. The gender of our child wasn’t my department.

On another occasion he declared that it is a father’s duty to name his offspring.

“It takes two people to bring a child into the world so they should both name it.” I countered.

“A mother has no say, it’s a father’s prerogative. I will name this child!” He said it so emphatically that I decided to leave well alone. If it was a name that I really disliked I could always return to the registry and rename the baby at some point.

Some people are under the illusion that the arrival of a baby in a strained relationship will bring the two people closer. I’ve never believed that philosophy. Suppose I did get pregnant? I began to think of the environment this child would be coming into. Two people who had clearly made a gross mistake in pledging ‘forever’ to each other. This child could be the product of him and become a perpetrator. They would subject someone else in the world to my living hell. They could be my product and become a broken victim. Neither of those options were palatable. I just wanted to raise a healthy minded person. What kind of person would this child become when they would be raised in such a toxic environment? How much would I be able to shield them from their father? I could be proactive and start taking contraception but how long could I take them before he’d find out? I knew that he regularly went through my belongings. Back then I hadn’t thought of contraception through injection.

He made an appointment with a gynaecologist. He did all the talking. As he spoke I felt myself shrinking into insignificance. He was playing the blame game and it hurt that he was doing it in the presence of someone else. I was debating whether or not to walk out. Well by the time the Dr was finished with Mr Impatient, I wanted to plaster his face all over with kisses. He was my advocate that day. He debunked everything Mr Impatient said and insinuated about my supposed inability to conceive. Dr gave us a formula and advised patience.

A few months passed and I still hadn’t gotten pregnant yet. My anxiety was rising only because I felt caught between the pressure to conceive and the guilt that I would undoubtedly feel if I did. He decided it was time to return to the gynaecologist. This time I chose the Dr. My ex-husband was habitually late for things unless there was a vested interest on his part. We had agreed to meet at the Dr’s office. I was surprised that he wasn’t there when I arrived as this would be an occasion that he would want to be on time for. The Dr and I spoke at length and I mentioned my fibroids to her. She wanted to perform an internal preliminary examination. Mr Impatient arrived just after she completed her exam. I explained to him briefly what he had missed. I sensed trouble when I told him about the exam. She explained that ordinarily fibroids don’t interfere with pregnancy, however due to the size and location, a fetus wouldn’t survive as there was no room for growth. The only option was surgery and thereafter we could try to conceive after a year. Inside I was elated. There was a medical reason for my not conceiving and it would be a while before it could be rectified. This would buy me time to sort something out. Pregnancy was on pause.

On the drive home I was asked to explain what the examination entailed. I gave the short blunt version.

“She put her hand into my vagina and had a feel around of my cervical area.” He looked quite perturbed.

“And you agreed to this?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t like the fact that she handled you like that. She shouldn’t have done that.”

“Let me tell you something about being a woman. We get used to stuff like that. In fact you kinda get used to the fact that that area is no longer private anymore. We have pap smear tests, we wear tampons. We accommodate penises and have to adjust to allow a baby to come out. We’re pretty much used to things coming and going from our downstairs ok? If you’re a woman it’s a given.” And that was the end of that conversation.

I thank God that I never had the opportunity to conceive for him. It would have been harder to up and leave but I know that I would have still done so. I would have owed it to myself and my child. Back then the idea of motherhood was bittersweet, now it’s a relief because co-parenting would have been a continual struggle filled with conflict. I thank God for my fibroids as they saved me from even more misery than I already had. Thank you Father for watching over me! ‘ . . . thank God no matter what happens.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 The Message Bible.

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