I don’t remember how it began, but I remember lying on the carpet of my church's community building. I was digging my fingernails into the scratchy carpet, taking my frustration out on the small fibers.
“I don’t wanna have it”, I said, my voice oddly high.
“And you shouldn’t have to”, my friend Mary said.
“But it’s my dream, I’ve always wanted to have a baby and now I can.”
“Yeah, I get that but ripping your body in half is not a part of that dream.” She dramatically ripped the air to demonstrate what happens to one's body during labor.
She was right, she kinda always is. Since I can remember, I’ve had baby fever. From nurturing my siblings to looking after all the neighbors' babies, I’ve always loved kids. I want to have one of my own, I do. It doesn’t help that my boyfriend’s the same. We talk about our future family a lot. Debating baby names and even looking for the best kind of strollers.
And now we were about to have a baby. It was still just a little embryo, waiting to be transferred into a caring womb. Only, there was one decision to make: whose womb will that be?
The thought of giving birth makes me shiver. Some people say it’s a beautiful thing but all I see is pain. Agonizing, writhing pain. The kind of pain that doesn’t leave you, the kind of pain that lingers and reminds you that you will never be the same again. The love for that child should be enough to forget such pain but what if it isn’t. What if I grow to detest that baby because of what it made me go through. Maybe I won’t but that is a risk I am not willing to take.
I want the baby to be carried by someone else. It would still have the DNA of my boyfriend and me, but I wouldn’t have to go through pregnancy. It sounds mean to put someone else through that but there is a great, willing candidate ready to carry our baby. She wants to do it and not just for the money, so it seems to be a great deal. It would be if my asshole boyfriend would let me.
He has to let me decide because legally only I can do so, but he won’t stop bitching about how he wants me to have the baby. A part of me wants to give that to him, to show him how much I love and appreciate him. A warm feeling spreads through my body as I think of how happy he’ll be. I want to give him the world and if that means giving birth to our baby then so be it.
Next thing I know a doctor is walking into the room holding a fetus.
There I was, in a hospital gown on the floor of my church’s community building having an almost developed fetus being shoved into my body. The people around me just continued talking, they didn’t even look in my direction. Too busy talking shit about each other to see me. I wasn’t in pain, too numb and too scared to feel.
The doctor just left after the procedure. She didn’t say anything, just quickly looked at me and turned away and a part of me just knew she wasn’t a real doctor. I felt very unsafe, very alone.
I felt like there was a wall between me and the rest of the world. I was separated from everyone. If only they could’ve seen how I looked in a hospital gown, my hair messed up, tears in my eyes. If only they could’ve seen how I was scared.
Then someone saw me, they looked into my eyes and smiled. They ran up to me and touched my stomach. I now looked nine months pregnant and was wearing maternity clothes. There was no ‘hello’ or ‘how have you been’, just a quick look at my eyes and then an obsessive amount of excitement about my pregnancy. No questions were directed towards me, just a baby bump that would say a word back.
People joined. Soon there were hundreds of people wanting to touch my stomach, wanting to see this thing I was creating. Everyone was talking about my future baby, my future life but not to me, to each other. Not one person asked me if I was excited about the baby, if I was okay.
Once again I felt like there was a wall dividing me and the rest of the world. This time they could see me but not who I was. They could see a happy person with a great new life being created in her. They could see my future, raising a beautiful child until I would reach the end of my life.
What they couldn’t see was the little girl in me crying, screaming in a hospital gown.
They couldn’t see me crumble under the weight of all their expectations.
Or maybe they could, but they just chose not to.
- from a student