Meeting and bonding with other people have always brought me not only happiness but also excitement. We catch up with one another’s lives. We ask questions. However, there’s one question that has become unavoidable, but I now dread to hear: “Are you pregnant yet?”
The question can actually be easily answered. I can just simply frown and say, “Not yet,” or smile then say, “In God’s time.” But then answering the same question with the same answer for three years already has not been easy, especially when I see people’s reactions to my cliché reply to their cliché question.
Let’s just say my life is a talk show. I am the guest, and the people around me are my interviewers, the talk show hosts. They are divided into two groups. The first group is made up of people who, whenever they hear my answer, would just say: “It’s okay. You’re still young.” Or: “That’s fine! Enjoy your lives together for now.” Or: “Don’t worry. That baby will come soon. Just pray. I will pray for you, too.”
The second group is the sort that would say: “How many years have you been married? Three years? You should already have a baby!” Or: “How old are you, 28? I already had two or three kids when I was your age.” Or the worst: “Ay, how unproductive!”
Hearing such remarks from my “interviewers” for the past three years has not been easy. And please don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against anyone. I just wish, though, that whenever people would pop the question, I would just melt and be swallowed by the earth. I thought I would get used to answering the same question over and over again. And I thought I would be strong enough to face the fact that—again—I am not yet pregnant.
Before writing this, I had another pregnancy test. Sadly, only a single, purple line appeared. For the nth time that I’ve been testing and expecting that I’m expecting, I’ve always ended up crying and sulking. Questions like “Can I still give my husband a baby?” race in my mind. The people asking the same old question flash before my eyes. And the very faith that I’ve been holding on to for so long slowly fades from my heart. Will I be strong enough to face and answer my “interviewers”? Will my little faith keep me going?
I pray. I hope. I wish.
Being in this situation is not as easy as it seems. I wish people were a bit more encouraging and hopeful, as I have always tried to be to myself. I wish it were that easy to bear a child, especially for someone like me who has a polycystic ovary syndrome. And, if the only possible way for me to have a baby is to lose weight, I wish I had the luxury of time, or even a nick of time, to do so and ignore the demands of my work. And I wish that the next time I have my pregnancy test, my three drops of urine would result in two beautiful purple or red lines appearing. I wish.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this predicament. So, on behalf of the women who are babyless and feeling hopeless, I pray that one day, when I and my interviewers meet again, I will be more than proud to show them my baby bump and answer: “Praise God. At last.”
Rudylen P. Anino-dela Torre, 28, is a teacher at F. Bangoy Central Elementary School-SPEd Center, Davao City.
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