I was already 26 at the time, but where I come from, falling pregnant out of marriage is still unacceptable.
To make matters worse, I was expected, as a single female, to be a virgin. I found out I was pregnant until I suffered a violent miscarriage and then hastily, cleaned and mopped and buried the evidence in the backyard. I couldn’t tell a soul besides my boyfriend (now my husband) and a friend. I was fortunate that I had a doctor friend who kept the truth hidden.
From that day, I pushed the incident to the back of my head and carried on with my life. But, four years later, without warning, I was overcome with such a deep and gut wrenching feeling of pain and loss. I sobbed for days and begged my husband to return to the address I had long left and bring ‘her’ out of the cold, where we had abandoned her. It was not possible, but I cried as well at the need to have her near me.
It is now almost 10 years since. I don’t know why, but I still have moments when the sadness envelops me and the tears come unbidden. I have other children, and tonight my eldest asked why she made her the eldest – being the tallest? I casually said well not exactly, it’s because you were born first and no one is older than you.
Hearing those words out loud suddenly caused hot tears to flood my eyes. I’m bewildered. I was ashamed to grieve 10 years ago because a pregnancy lost at 12 weeks is not considered a real loss in my homeplace. It also had to stay a secret. It is still a secret. But should I really be feeling this way after so long?
I started to reprimand myself for being ridiculous, but turned to the ‘net for insight. What I found told me this – everyone takes time to grieve, however long. Mine is quite delayed. No matter how early the pregnancy, it is still a loss. Other mothers also imagine years later how their child/children would look now, what personalities they would have possessed.
I am allowed to grieve. And although I still can’t pronounce it where I am, I am so grateful I can do so here. For some release, for some way to deal: I was a Mother before I married. I had a child. I have a beautiful baby in Heaven. I am sorry she is not with me. I am utterly sorry I didn’t acknowledge her.
I LOVE AND LONG FOR HER. I want her to know she has a family. xoxoxo
Photo credit: adapted from Craighton Miller | Flickr