Even over twenty years later, the month of May is always a bit difficult for me. There are years when it’s easier because I am so busy and then there are years when the first weeks of May are tinted with a sadness. So this year, I decided to put my thoughts to words.
Shops, advertisements, cards and signs all over remind one that Mother’s Day is around the corner. Over more than 20 years ago, I was celebrated as a mother, albeit a mother-to-be, on mothers day. I still remember how overwhelmed I was then, how alone I felt with all the demands and expectations that had been placed on me the moment some people around me knew that I was going to be a mother. I was young, alone in a foreign country for the first time in my life, hopelessly in love and trying to do all that I could to be loved back and accepted for who I was….and then the shock that I was pregnant. I did have some people around me who were happy for me but those that weren’t were more vocal and dominant than the others.
I remember being “celebrated” on Mother’s day but I was also reminded that my pregnancy wasn’t exactly at a “good” time, I was even seen as trying to use a child to “shackle the father” to me. I was reminded that I was bringing a “coloured” child into the world since I wasn’t European like the father and his family, that I had no source of income to support this child, would not be able to work since I would be required to bring up the child and hence be a financial burden. I remember seeing nature blossom, spring to life and I recall the irony that I was bringing life into the world too. Shortly after this Mother’s Day, I had a conversation with someone who then had a huge say in my life because they held the “financial reins” that my child would need. And this someone made me promise them that I would never ever take my “coloured child” to India and expose it to the dangers there. Yes I made that promise and even though minutes later I regretted it, I believed even then in keeping my promises. That night I lay wake and thought of how trapped I was, how I regretted making that promise and the thought came into my mind that I did not want to bring this child into the world if I did not have the choice to take him/her to the country that I had been born in. That night I had a miscarriage – I still remember the midnight drive to the huge and impersonal hospital, the fright of being alone there, the stomach cramps like I had never experienced before, the kind nurse who told me to relax and let nature take it’s course……and the huge guilt that I felt because I was convinced that my not wanting this child had led to the miscarriage. Nothing that the doctors said about such things happening quite often in the first trimester, them reassuring me that I had nothing to do with what had happened could reassure me.
And it didn’t help that when I was released from the hospital I was greeted by people who were really glad that a “huge disaster” had been averted and who told me that I now had to ensure that such a “mistake” never happened again. I was even told by well meaning Christians that this was God’s punishing me.
It took years for me to stop feeling guilty and blaming myself for having lost my first child. God is loving and heals wounds in ways that are unimaginable. I tend to say that God’s Plan B for our lives is as wonderful and beautiful as His Plan A is. When I look
back at the paths He has taken me on, the blessings that He has showered me with, the places that He has taken me to….I know all that would not have been possible had I become a mother all those years ago. Yes it would have been a blessed life too but different than the one I have had. He has even used what I went through to touch and help the lives of many women who have experienced something similar, to be there for them in a way that many others couldn’t.
The pain that I sometimes still feel is a reminder of His Grace, a reminder that He has brought me a long way and that He will use this pain maybe to help someone, who like me all those years ago, feels alone and is in a similar situation. Today I am thankful for this pain, it helps me to see the beauty around and reminds me that in His time, He makes all things new. I am glad that I remember that May all those years ago so well because it shows me how far He has brought me since then (even if people love to tell me that my memory about it is so good because I haven’t forgiven those who hurt me then!!)
So May is a bittersweet month for me. It not only reminds me of my loss; it also reminds me of God’s Grace, His Goodness, Healing, Love and Mercy in my life. The beauty and perfume of the wild flowers bursting forth remind me that even if no one sees or understands the dark valleys that I have been through – He sees all and He gifts me with an amazingly beautiful bouquet of wild flowers to cheer me up and to tell me He cares and knows. The month of May reminds me that God’s ways are mysterious and nothing that we have been through will ever be “wasted”. He reminds me that in the most difficult of days He is there, has carried me and will never let me down. He is the reason that I can face another Mother’s Day with a smile, without guilt, with peace and thankfulness for all that He has done and is doing in my life.