There was celebration around. Laughter lit the environment around. Mouth-watering delicacies were gobbled by everyone around and they washed it down with cool refreshing drinks.

She was surrounded by elders, her family and her extended family. Her sisters and sister in laws were giggling with their private jokes. She was decked like a bride. Flowers adorned her hair, bedecked in heavy gold jewellery with the Kanjivaram saree draped she look every bit the beautiful lady. Apart from her kohl laden eyes and light makeup, what actually shone her face was the glow of Motherhood. The pregnancy glow. More than that she was happy and she felt it in her every nerve. She could feel the kick inside her belly. Her child agreeing to her thoughts.

Rituals of baby shower was over and done. Now came the blessings. They all touched her baby bump and blessed. With some saying ” Oh I wish you have a baby boy”, while some ” Oh I wish you have a baby girl”. In this rant of boy and girl her mind wandered back in time. Back to those moments.

5 years back too she was bedecked the same way. She looked every bit beautiful. The flowers which she had adorned gave a very divine smell, calming her nerves. But her eyes were sad. Her concealer could not conceal those dark circles, the black and blue mark on her cheeks. She was nervously clutching the edges of her pallu. Her heart was racing to the conversation that she heard yesterday. “It better be a boy”. And the string of abuses and physical pain she endured after speaking against it. She was gruffly caught by her face and the alcohol breath made her gag. “It better be a boy” and she was pushed roughly on the floor. She was broken from the reverie. A hand held her arms roughly and a voice said, “Behave normally. I do not want people to notice your pathetic sadness. At least pretend to be happy. 

The festivities began. The blessings came by but the wishes were for a baby boy. In the midst of it all she felt a sharp jab in her abdomen. She sensed something wrong. The pain came again. It was more like a needle prick. No thought she. It’s only the 7th month. Another sharp jab and she collapsed sending panic around. After that everything was a blur. All she remembered was the sharp shooting pain increasing every minute and the constant prayer in her lips. “Please help me God. Let my baby be fine. I do not care if it is a boy or a girl. I just want my baby safe and healthy”. She was wheeled inside the OT with doctors and nurses rushing around and she heard a doctor saying “Quick get the anaesthetist, it’s an Emergency.” She felt a needle prick and she felt numb. She could feel her abdomen being cut open but no pain. But there was something else. Why are the doctors looking at each other? Why is the baby not crying? Her mind was groggy. Her body was not helping either. She couldn’t move a finger. Her body was urging to sleep but her mind and heart wanted to hold her baby. But the body overtook her feelings and she fell into a slumber. 

She could hear voices. Loud voices. She wanted to shut it out. Her hand inadvertently went to her tummy and her eyes shot open. Her baby. Her baby. She looked around searching. She panicked. Hands held her down. Voices calming her. But she could sense something else in their looks. Sadness. Before she could ask a voice came. “It’s fine. Anyways what happened was good. I had told you. It better be a boy. But you had to give birth to a girl. A girl. But now I don’t have to worry how to dispose her if she had lived. Good that she was born a stillborn. So be happy. Recover fast. So that you can conceive again and give birth to boy” and she was roughly caught by her face and the voice said “Next time it better be a boy or else you will regret you were ever born” and she was shoved back on her bed. 

Her baby. Gone. No this cannot be happening. There was something pressing her chest. A pain within. It was coming up her throat and out her mouth. A wail. A wail so strong that it quietened all the surrounding voices. A wail of anguish. A wail of losing a part of soul. A wail of letting down. A wail of loosing her baby. She cried till all her tears emptied and she was left with sobs and then there was none left. She emptied herself. Her baby taught her something then. Set free. Find your ground. Find yourself. You matter.

She was brought back to the present with a gentle touch on her back. She looked up and smiled at her now husband. He smiled at her and said, “Past is gone. Leave it back. The person who wronged you and your baby is serving for his sins behind bars. You have divorced him and set yourself free from the shackles of submission. You have me, your college friend, your lover, your husband. This baby is ours. To look forward to. To care. To love. To raise together. It doesn’t matter what gender the baby is. What is important is the baby be healthy and safe. What matters to me are you both. You are a survivor. You are a fighter. And I am glad our baby will be getting a strong and gentle mother like you”.

She smiled. She definitely has come a long way from a meek submissive woman to an independent strong willed compassionate woman. She touched her belly and smiled within thinking “Thank You Almighty for guiding me always. I know your back my baby. Can’t wait to hold you in my arms.”

Her hubby every bit happy. They both looked at each other with an unspoken feeling. The coming joy of their first child. hubby noticed her and inwardly smiled. He knew what she wanted and he wished the same. 

Written By-

Ms.Mamta Karkera Shetty



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