Monday, 15 December 2008

The Unwanted Third

This happened almost 2 years back. I was on my way back home from work & almost reached my door when my next-door neighbour opened her door & beckoned me in. I was tired & was about to tell I’ll meet her later when I caught sight of her tensed expression. I walked in thru her door without hesitating.

Maria & I had been neighbours for around 5 yrs then. Like me, she was also working & had 2 girls. We were good neighbours though not friends as such. That day for some reason she decided to confide in me. She had just found out that she was pregnant for the 3rd time. And it was not planned.

She looked shattered. Her youngest was just going to be 2 years old. She didn’t want another child. There was no question of keeping it. The financial situation didn’t allow it. She couldn’t manage another child. She’ll have to go to India to get the job done because UAE didn’t believe in abortions. Technically it wasn’t an abortion was it because there was another 4-5 weeks to go before the heart started beating. She asked me whether I knew anybody who was coming back from India so as to ask them to bring the required medication to terminate it in the early stages itself. She just kept talking frenetically discussing various options without really expecting an answer.

I stood there feeling terribly sorry for her. I couldn’t really get angry with her or blame her at that point. I understood her viewpoint very well. They were living in a shared accommodation[where 2 or more families shared apartments because that was the only way they could afford to live in Dubai]. Unlike us, both their salaries were needed for their household to run. As it is, bringing up 2 children in Dubai was no joke. Simply put, they had no spare time, space or money for another child.

Two days later I met her at the bus-stop when I went to drop the kids. She told me in hushed tones that her husband & their respectively families were totally against the termination idea cause it went against the religious faith. And they kept telling her that it was God’s Will & it would be a BOY this time. Boy or Girl, I don’t want another one, she said fiercely.

Everyday I would find her climbing up & down the stairs for the flimsiest of reasons, she deliberately carried her children & other heavy weights, ate a lot of dates & don’t ask what else in the hope that it would terminate by itself. And I don’t think she went to the doctor even for the 1st 3-4 months. How are we going to manage she would worry always.

I tried to calm her down but I doubt whatever I said even registered in her mind. Seeing her situation for what it was, my reassurances sounded hollow even to my own ears.

She looked more wretched than ever as the months passed & her body filled out. She apathetically accepted the pregnancy & though she never told me directly I could make out that she hoped it would be a boy atleast. I was thinking inside that she should go on her knees and pray for a ‘normal’ child considering the early battering she had submitted her unborn baby to.

The nine months passed slowly. And it was another girl. A tiny little scrap, underweight, with neither her siblings’ fair complexion nor any other admirable feature to speak of. The older children were thrilled whereas the parents hiding their disappointment accepted it stoically.

And months passed. Initially I made 2-3 visits to see them, but after Maria rejoined work, we saw each other less frequently.

Then one day the kids & I went across to their flat to visit. The kids immediately went off to their corner to play leaving the mother, child & me alone. The baby now around 6-7 months old was playing in her mother’s lap. She was looking healthier & upon seeing me her face lit up with a beautiful smile transforming the face. I smiled & held out my arms. She came readily & sat placidly in my lap. Seeing my surprised & pleased expression, Maria told me with pride that the child was quiet, friendly & very accommodating. She woke up just once at night, had her feed & went back to sleep. Comparing this child & the difficult times she had with the elder two, she & I lightheartedly traded horror stories about the kids.

And suddenly she just burst out “Godddd, Nancy when I think of what all I tried to do initially, I just feel terrible. I’ve been on my knees many a time asking the Lord to forgive me.”

“You know what, we have found a 2 bedroom flat within our budget & are planning to vacate this flat in 2 months time. I actually thought things were going to get difficult after her birth but somehow for the 1st time in life, everything seems to be falling into place. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that it was meant to be.” she said in wonder.

I handed her baby back to her & she hugged her close unconsciously. The baby looked at me & beamed. Blinking away the tears which threatened to cloud my vision, I blew her a kiss.

53 comments:

  1. Owww! How touching! I guess this baby was meant to be loved :) and it was fate that made things easier :)


    Which reminds me of my teacher. She had been married for 7-8 years without a baby. Every time she was pregnant she would be jubilant and when miscarriage happened well depressed..

    She tried so hard!

    *sigh*

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  2. I read in another blog that its the child that choses the parents and not the other way round.
    Good post.I wish them all happiness

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  3. oh my, I have tears in my eyes after reading this. Thank God the baby survived and turned out so well. I hope she is blessed with all the love she truly deserves.

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  4. teary eyes....amazing post...it shows both sides of the coin...nd makes you think..wats right and wats not!

    PS: Thanks for not being angry on me :D

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  5. Oh thank goodness.
    I am happy the story had a happy ending.

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  6. Winnie: Thts the irony of life...so many people yearn to have atleast 1 but are not so lucky & on the other side there are so many who are looking for ways & means to get rid of unwanted baggage:-(.

    Meira: "I read in another blog that its the child that choses the parents and not the other way round."
    Ohhh so lovely...that explains it all:-)).
    And Thank U!!!!!

    Goofy Mumma: Oh yes, I'm sure she will.
    And I'm going to christen u GM from now on:-D.

    Prakhar: yes it does...seriously:-)).
    And Thank U!!!!!!!!

    Balvinder Singh: Once again, you are too kind Sir:-)). But I accept, Thank U!!!!

    Agnes: Yes.....a happy ending. I believe in them through & through:-)).

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  7. She's their little angel indeed :)

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  8. my first impression as soon as i read the title was that you were pregnant...as i read the blog, i'd tears in my eyes...how touching...god bless that child...may she get all the happiness in life

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  9. Veyr touching and It enforces my belief that God always takes care of everything, if we surrender.

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  10. Awww!! Sometimes you think you know what's best for you, then again, life always has a plan B for you...not always for the best, but then again when it is, life seems so beautiful.

    I've had a personal experience with a family member losing a third child, only to realise that it was a boy, that is when they regretted giving it up.

    I wish all the happiness in the world to the little girl....hugs!! :)

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  11. awwwww nancy..this is so so touching...i feel for your friend. all well that ends well.

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  12. Wow. that really brought teras to my eyes. I am going to have to come back later and write what I want to

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  13. That's a sweet story... poor little baby!

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  14. The idle Mind: Yeah I just cant help thinking that all along she was the answer to all their problems:-).

    scribbler: Yes I second that "God Bless The Child...":-)).

    Renu: You are so right...we have to trust him, let go of our preconceived notions & let him do his will.

    Smriti: "Sometimes you think you know what's best for you"...exactly, we always believe we know whats best for us & when life throws a spanner in the works we are unable to accept...ssometimes we have to just follow where life leads us.

    A: Yeah I felt very bad for her initially but now am very happy for her:-)).

    Bins: Even today when I see tht child's bright little face in my mind, tears sting.

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  15. Wannabe: Yes...all's well that ends well:-D.

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  16. This came at an apt time, I should have written this...well but it would have ended differently then...but then for each his own, I suppose...

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  17. Its truly amazing how God chooses to work miracles, provided you have the courage to make that leap of faith. But it sure isn't easy to do so.....very scary when you're on the brink, not knowing what to do, whether you'll fall or land safely. All you can do is pray for the strength to go on either way.

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  18. I'm all choked with emotions.I'm so happy that Maria and her husband have eventually found a new and positive meaning to their lives in the form of their daughter.God bless Maria and her family.

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  19. Hi, I just read the comment to my Dec 8th post. Yeah, the last Potter book had me and my sister boarding a train to Churchgate at 7 in the morning to get our pre-ordered book home. Tales of Beedle the Bard was hardly publicized and I bought it as a gift for my sis so until she reads it, no idea on the book at all. She's a bigger Potter fan than i am, so bought it as a surprise for her. Not as exciting as a Harry Potter book though. I heard she's also writing a detective book series.

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  20. I am sure she is a blessing!!

    Flying Kisses to the angel where ever she is!!!

    Instead of laughter as usual, you brought biiiig smile on our face, of course with eyes going wet!!

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  21. Sindhu: Hmmm...that was quite a cryptic statement but I gleaned some.

    Shalom: "All you can do is pray for the strength to go on either way."....exactly what I always do:-)).

    Deeps: Agree with u whole heartedly.

    The idle devil: I had a feeling u hadn't seen it, thts why I asked:-D. Yeah somehow I cdnt really get enthused abt this book but will definitely pick up the detective series. Bet its going to be gr8;-D.

    Maddy: Oh yes there's no doubt abt it.
    And Thank U!!!!!!!!!

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  22. Beautifully said.,. Sometimes, things which we assume to be a curse or a problem ends up being our nicest blessing or a friend.

    The mention of the babies smile brought a smile in my face.,. Beautiful again ! :)

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  23. aww, i can understand the sitaution....cant blame her for feeling that way at all....sitauations are not so good for anyone...my aunt at 40 got preggy adn she dint want the child....carried weight, climbed up and down stairs and fiannly had to stay in hospital for 5 long months...inbetween which they operated on her and took out the child early as there was no fluid for the child to grow.....the poor lill mite had to endure so much pain coz she was on ventilaor from wen she was born and finally they switched off the ventilator i guess 2 months later....they took the child home and watched it die.....

    cant blame anyone for anything, they too hav 2 girls and only uncle is working, the kids fees in kuwait is too high, the hig rents and all doesnt improve the sitautions...

    i am glad this worked out well for them...i guess the lill one sensed the trouble and decided to be the patient one :)

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  24. that was a touching post.
    came in to say thanks for passing by and for your get-in-the-next-post-fast comment too!! ;) shall try to do that.

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  25. I experience this misty eye phenomenon when something touches me deeply - I need to thank God and His messenger - you. The described event, and the description of the event are both Divine to me. Don't ever stop writing, please.

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  26. what will be.. will be, as they say
    but i can imagine what she would have gone through, all those things she did initially to get rid of the child must have been so painful
    this was so touching.
    (and i dint know so far that abortion is not allowed in the UAE!!)

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  27. Prashant Sree: Thank U!!!!
    "Sometimes, things which we assume to be a curse or a problem ends up being our nicest blessing or a friend."
    U knw I firmly believe in this saying....infact Life has taught me many lessons this way:-)).

    Enigma: That story sounded so heart-rending. My heart goes out for the pain tht family underwent.
    One careless mistake from our side leads to so many unforseen complications.
    Yes, this lil one survived it all...so many things cd have gone wrong but she made it & whats more...she taught her family to love her instead of the usual other way around.

    onlooker: Thank U!!!!
    And dont mention it, it is my pleasure:-D.

    JP Joshi: I'm touched that my story had an effect on u....for me the goodness in ur heart shows thru in all ur statements.
    And Sir once again I repeat u r way too kind to me;-P.

    ISH: U didnt know:-o. Surprising..its one of the few rules everybody in UAE are aware of;-P. Abortions, medication related to forced abortions, etc are all illegal. Though I've heard they tie up ur tubes for you after the 4th kid(I thk), if u want ie.

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  28. Hey,you've been tagged here http://deeps-speakingup.blogspot.com/2008/12/yet-another-tag.html
    If you like doing tags,do let me know when u've done it.
    Thanks:)

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  29. very close to my story...sigh..

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  30. Deeps: Thank U:-D!!!!!!!!!! Will check it out and do it sooooooon.

    Anon: I'm sorry you had to go thru that. Take care.

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  31. touching story. it brought tears to my eyes too. having grown up in a large family i always felt a large family will be fun. glad that it turned out well for that family..

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  32. lan: U knw when we think back, so many things cd have gone wrong but Thank God everything worked out right in the end.

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  33. to be frank ppl dont some ppl dont understand the prinicple of bringing up children ,they dont see the practical diff ,when u dont have enough to sustain urself and ur 2 kids why the 3rd one

    In life there are many things god will guide u thru ,what ur friend has seen might be god given ,but would it be prudent enough to burden their 3rd child when they cant make ends meet?

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  34. Sukhoi: Yes u do have a point...but sometimes how much ever we plan, things have a way of going out of our hands.
    Like they say..."No man is an Island". In a Society we have religion, social status, people & norms which we are sometimes constrained by. So many times we have bow to it to & conform to keep our standing.
    Atleast thts wht I gleaned from it:-).

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  35. Phew! Very heavy post... I've seemed to have become a lot more sensitive since I became a father. Otherwise, I used to be the most indifferent person in my whole family.

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  36. u have narrated it very well:)...her emotions,difficulties!!...

    [here most of the abort end up in infection..situation is really bad:(]

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  37. Rakesh: Yes, parenthood makes the even the worst of us into sensitive people.
    Talking abt indifferent...my father used to call me a 'paying guest'[coz I used to be holed up in my room all the time] in his house:-D.

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  38. rather UNpaying guest, isn't it?

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  39. Brocasarea: Gosh!!!! That sounds terrible. Just a moment of carelessless leads to so many complications.

    Rakesh: LOL, u r right:-D!!!!!!

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  40. too nice a blog not to be blogrolled. :)

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  41. prob is most of them are illegal[above 20w] and is done for money[by docs]

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  42. merry christmas nancy, to you and family.. give a hug to the kids. any speacial plans?

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  43. Rakesh: I'm honoured:-))!!!!!

    Brocasarea: Its so terrible to hear about it so I can imagine how it feels, to see it happen in front of your eyes.

    Ish: Thank U!!!!!!!!!
    No plans as such on Christmas Day...just a family get-together.
    Going away for a few days to a resort after tht to rejuvenate. Will come back & tell u:-D.

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  44. hmmm ... ur blog is a journey ... i was jus laufin loud with ur other post... now m eyes are almost waterin...

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  45. very touching..i got a lump in my throat

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  46. sansmerci: Thank U!!!!
    I just write like how it is:-)).

    my space: Yes I know what u mean...everytime I see the child I also feel the same.

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  47. so touching!!! The feelings so well captured!! Yet not overly dramatized.

    Great post!

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  48. Abraham Menacherry: Hey thank U!!!! And how have u been? Long time.....:-D

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  49. Doing fine. Was not in the blog-lok for quite some time...:( am reading up for lost time now...:D

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  50. Tears in my eyes reading this! All in his scheme of things ... God bless them all!

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  51. The little girl must be around 5yrs now, yes Swaram like u said, all in His scheme of things:-)

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  52. awww... lovely post chech ;)

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