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My bumpy road to motherhood began with a hunch. The kind of hunch that sits quietly at the back of one's mind, neither disturbing nor seeking attention, but just waiting patiently to get noticed, as it eventually would. This hunch and I played cat and mouse for the first year of my marriage. Every time my period was delayed I would seek out this hunch with a pregnancy kit, hoping that the test would turn out positive; but after my share of false alarms, I learned to stop holding my breath and crossing my fingers. Nevertheless, I still felt disappointed every time I saw a single blue line as an end result from my two drops of yellow liquid. For a year, this blue streak became a clear and constant indication that nothing in me had changed, and that everything remained the same. "Expect the worse, hope for the best," became a favorite saying at that time.
And then the unexpected happened. One October night, my husband and I attended a wedding of my college friend, where I was able to touch base with other friends I haven't seen for a long time. The happy occasion called for a toast and just when we were about to raise our glasses to the newlyweds, two of my female friends announced that they couldn't drink because they were pregnant. I raised my glass to the bride and groom and, later, to my friends' good news but deep inside I was drowning in envy. All three of us got married at the same year, but I was the only one who was still without child. One of my pregnant friends was, in fact, already on her second child.
The red liquid left a bitter aftertaste as I tried to answer questions whether my husband and I were planning to have a child soon. I gave the usual run of excuses like wanting to have quality time for ourselves first, nag-iipon pa or building-up a saving account, preparing ourselves emotionally, and the likes; but when I ran out of things to say, I myself wasn't convinced with my own answers.
The real reason was we couldn't produce a baby after almost a year of trying and submitting ourselves to both medical work-ups and religious fertility rites, like writing a petition to Our Lady of Lourdes. I was about to console myself with another glass of wine—the truth tasted more bitter than the wine—when one of my friends said maybe I should refrain from alcohol just in case I was pregnant, too. I laughed at her idea, but put down my glass just the same.
When we reached the house, it was way past midnight but I couldn't forget what my friend told me. What if she was speaking in behalf of an angel bearing good news? Nagdidilang anghel, as we call it in Filipino. A hunch, that old familiar visitor, slowly entered my mind. I was two weeks delayed. This hunch tiptoed to a corner of my brain. I was feeling sleepy all the time. It sat on its favorite chair and waited. What if I was pregnant? This hunch could have waited until morning but I knew I would sleep better if I knew for sure if I was right or wrong.
It was the hour after midnight when curiosity won over fatigue and I convinced my husband to purchase a pregnancy kit in the nearest drugstore. "Expect the worse, hope for the best," I said to myself over and over again, while waiting. These words, like a spell, numbed me from the possible disappointment in case the results were the same again. By the time my husband came back, I was ready to face the worse and only a very small part of me still held on to that frayed thread of hope.
That very small part of me held its breath as I dropped a few drips of urine into the plastic strip. Tears of joy started to well in my eyes as I saw a pair of friendly-looking blue lines appear on the surface. The second line spelled all the difference. In the past, the results always showed a single, tyrannical line, dictating the things I wanted to be but wasn't—a fertile wife, a mother expecting a child, a daughter to provide grandchildren.
But all that had changed. When the two lines appeared, the spell was broken. There was no longer any reason to feel numb. At last, at long last, I started to cry. Tears fell gently on my face, slowly at first, washing away all my past doubts and disappointments, then like a steady stream, cleansing me with renewed hope.
We were expecting a child. I was going to be a mother.
These words, like the tolling of a distant bell, sounded strange but beautiful to me. I was going to be a mother. A mother. Me. The reality of these words echoed in my ears, ringing loud and clear and true. It stirred feelings in me I didn't know I could feel simultaneously: joy and fear, wonder and panic, confusion and bliss. There was no way to acknowledge one and dismiss the other.
When my husband and I finally went to bed, it was the wee hours of the night. I surrendered to sleep, knowing that morning would find us complete different people. The neat little compartment that was our Life, with everything conveniently set for two, would never be the same again.
I must have slept with a smile on my face. The hunch I had at the back of my mind was now sitting in his favorite chair, raising a wine glass to me. I raised my glass, too, careful not to drink any of the alcohol. I didn't need it, I was already feeling giddy from the good news.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HerWord or BusinessWorld.
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