First, the tenant came out earlier than expected; instead of waiting til December he went out to see the world last November 30.
Second, I wasn’t able to experience the kind of birth I originally wanted. After more than two gruelling hours of labor, the doctors decided I’d have to be sliced because I wasn’t strong enough to push. It was, still is, quite disappointing but I’m happy Evo and I are both safe and well.
This is a four-year-old piece, which I originally wrote for my cousin, Logan. Back then, he was the only magical, tiny creature I’ve ever set my sights on. And although he kept me up at night sometimes, his smiles and coos were more than enough to make me believe that despite all the chaos and hurt and pain, there is hope. And that more than anything else, love matters. As they say, the birth of a new life changes the order of the world forever.
While riding a cab, waiting at the doctor’s clinic, or buying something at a store–everywhere I go, people can’t seem to resist asking the same questions when they take a peek at my bulging belly:
“How old are you?”
“How old is your husband/boyfriend/baby daddy?”
“How long have you been together?”
“When are you two planning to get married?”
I thought I’d have gotten used to them by now–the looks that say you’re just another statistic, questions that are nothing but thinly disguised judgments and criticisms. But no. Every time some stranger becomes ‘curious’ about me, I shrink and automatically respond with a memorized lie: “I’m 25 (sometimes 26); the baby daddy’s 26 (sometimes 27); and we’re married (or planning to tie the knot real soon).”
I don’t know why I’m compelled to lie, or even bother weaving a story, when I know people will judge anyway. Nothing I say or do will keep them from speculating, from searching my face for an age, or my finger for a ring.
Waking up to find I can no longer get up as quickly as I used to because of my heavy, bulging tummy. Going to the office with people greeting me ‘Hi, baby!’ instead of actually greeting me. Having all these weird, crazy cravings and mood swings.
I’m obviously, undeniably, irrevocably pregnant. Sometimes, reality just fails to sink in. Hangs like a word you want to say, but can’t.
Today, my high school classmates are seeing the white sand beaches of Kalanggaman Island; my office mates, taking a breather in Oslob; and I, stuck at home, in my bed, counting the hours. This is perhaps one of the downsides of having a baby early–you never get to go out as much. There’s just no escaping.
When you’re 21, unwed, full of possibilities, as people say, and born and raised in a Catholic home, the last thing you want to be is pregnant.
It’s not the end of the world, yes, but it could be to the people who had high expectations of you, who believed you were capable of achieving better things. And oh, the painful look on their faces and heavy sighs when you announce your surprise pregnancy. It’s as if you handed them all the sorrow and disappointment in the world and had them neatly packed in a box with a nice, pretty bow.
At first, I wanted to take it back. Forget it ever happened or tell them it was just a prank. But once you’ve come to accept that there’s a miracle growing inside you, you’d want to shut off the world and stop caring. It’s just you and the wonderful blessing inside your tummy.
Baby, you may be unplanned but you are never unwanted. People will judge your mother for wasting her chances and making a mistake. But know that you will never be a mistake. You’re a surprise I never thought I wanted to have now. Your dad and I can’t wait to see you. Hold on, dear child. Our adventure’s just starting.