By Iteti, Uganda:
I was pregnant.
Thinking about Babies
It came as no surprise, to be honest, because between us sleeping together, smoking, drinking and my carelessness with birth control, it was only a matter of time before I got pregnant. By the time I received this news, I was lethargic, frustrated and to top it all off, my husband was acting like a caged animal recently released into the wild. And here I was, pregnant. Just perfect!
Even though I had never really wanted to have children, sitting on the bathroom floor looking at the tenth pregnancy test that morning, I couldn't help thinking about what having this baby would be like. Would I be a good mother? Would I have the strength to leave if Marcus didn't step up to the plate? Would my baby come out with nine fingers and ten toes? Would its head be full of water? It was sobering to say the least.
Marcus and I had only ever talked about having children of our own in passing. This one time, while he lay on top of me, exhausted from the plumbing he had just given me, I couldn't help but wonder out loud;
“Hey babe, would you ever want to have babies?” I asked him
“No way in hell. They're messy and smelly and they ruin everything,” he replied. He reached across the squeaky bedside drawer for a cigarette. As I watched him push himself off my sweaty body and look for a lighter, I thought to myself, good we're on the same page so we never really talked about it after that. Except for the odd nagging question from the relatives about kids – which we so skilfully laughed off – Marcus and I barely ever had that conversation again. And it looked like soon enough, we would have to have a serious sit-down about it. I was in no particular way thrilled about that idea. I wondered if I should sex him up to get him in a good mood first before I told him. Marcus was always lazy and happy after sex.
My reasons for not wanting to reproduce were simple. I was young and beautiful and wanted to see the world. Having babies, I knew, would tie me down. Besides, watching my parents raise us put me off the idea of birthing younglings. They made me so desperately not want to be the major screw-ups that they were. After all, who in their right mind would want to bring innocent babies into this world only to have them poisoned by the inescapable fate that is our “progressive culture”? Notwithstanding, I always thought that a man who didn't want to have children of his own, was twisted in a sort of way and would never make for a good life partner, but when it came to Marcus, I was always more willing to overlook any ideologies I may have had, wise or otherwise. Unbeknownst to me, blinded by my love for him, Marcus was twisted in a mommy-issues sort of way. He was my mental kryptonite. I always got weak in the head where he was concerned.
I found myself at my mother's doorstep, seeking her counsel about my predicament. It had been always been awkward trying to confide in my mother. She was strict and conservative and all kinds of religious. I didn't realise that being faced with the prospect of becoming a mother myself and transmitting life to another human being, I would have to re-evaluate these reasons. I found myself smiling at the idea of a mini-me running circles around me and writing unintelligibly on our wall. I wanted to snap out of it, but I couldn't. Even after “sleeping on it” for two days, my desire for this baby grew. I started to see more mommies and babies on the streets, the TV had more diaper commercials than normal, and milk became an emotional drink for me to have.
This was definitely different and sobering to say the least. I needed to be certain about this decision before I told Marcus because deep down, I knew I wanted to keep this child.
My only concern was: how will Marcus take it?
To be Continued…
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