An Open Letter to my Lost Womb

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Women often have to abort an accidental pregnancy. Modern procedures ensure it is least painful, but have we ever wondered how women feel from within, when we let go off something that we could have created? Many compulsions of modern urban life do not allow women to become mothers over and over again. Yet the maternal instinct never ends. The loss of a womb is not easily accepted by a woman as a man can accept the possibility of not being able to become a daddy again.  As part of Vagina Diary, Blue Eve speaks from a recent personal experience, the tale of a vagina that was put to rest before it could bring in a new life to this world, exclusively for Different Truths.

Dear Unborn Foetus,

You were always unwanted. They said it was an accident. Yes, accidents happen often these days. When someone gets killed. Burying dreams, memories, love and happiness, harboured over years, yet it’s always called an accident. Be it under the wheels of a reckless bus, or in the hands of a jealous friend or those tiny deadly germs invading the immune system, ripped by the cruel hands of fate, life seems to ebb to the unknown. There are some who call it collateral damage, to the very essence called life. To be alive is the greatest truth. Death is inevitable.

What were you then? Collateral damage, or my last line of dreams that must have been hidden silently behind the obscurity of a subconscious that I never explored. After all there was no need for me to be a biological mother again. I was already one, and all including the man who gave his sperm to shape you up also never wished to witness another birth where he would be expected to take the responsibility of caring for his pregnant wife. He couldn’t do so when your elder brother was born and forever carried that burden of guilt. He was out of Kolkata and his parents refused to entertain me in fear of investing time and money on a daughter-in- law they never approved of. But I was a strong mother, I would have been more courageous to bear you at 42 again. Especially when you came unplanned, unknown and out of the blue. You were like that fresh breath of air I gasp for, every time I come out of a metro tunnel. I ran from a doctor’s chamber to office to my parents’ home and then for tests again to clinics when your brother was born. I knew even this time around I would be able to do the same. Even if the body grew old, I still had an evergreen heart with a potful of energy.

Just when I was imagining I am heading towards pre-menopause and was preparing my home front to welcome an adopted daughter who might be given to us in another six months time, I realised you had come. To a womb that I thought was almost an infertile land, when my hormones were on a decline graph. You came like that lightning which misses a cloud. A thunder clap in a blue sky without the rain clouds, when we wonder, where was the electricity hidden? For these 16 years of married life I never had what they all called accidents. Then why now?

With that preg-colour card showing two bright lines in my trembling hands, I stared down at an abyss of darkness for I knew I will have to kill you. I had tears streaming down, they should have been tears of joy, of success of being chosen again to bring a new life to this world. But they were tears of loss. I knew I lost the game even before it began. I knew what all would follow and that soon did. Doctors made clear their apprehensions of the possibility of having an abnormal child at this age, I knew that, after all I had studied biology. But chances and probabilities are all but magic wands of nature. They are not just mathematical calculations. So if I had a chance of bearing a Down syndrome baby, I too had a chance of having a completely healthy one. Yet the ‘no’ ladder was heavier, it tilted towards a more practical solution.

My parents clarified they were shocked that I still could get pregnant and that it was impossible for me to bear a baby thus. Your sperm donor was upset for causing the accident for he was very confident such things would never happen between us. He had taken the utmost care all these years so that never another sperm got a chance to fuse with any of my eggs. Most of my friends said in a pretty matter of fact way that it’s very early and abortions are simple stuff nowadays. Yes the procedure was simple, popping up some progesterone pills that would force the sac you thought of making your home for the next eight months, contract violently. You would be made homeless thus, and stop multiplying.

300px-Tubal_Pregnancy_with_embryoEveryone was kind to me though. After all I was the victim of an accident. The doctor doing the ultrasound made it clear it was not even three weeks and I was a lucky girl to detect it early and hence would go through least pain. She even showed me there is just a sac. No foetal heartbeat that develops at a later stage. May be my eyes reflected a guilt that she wished to dissipate. I had gone alone for my tests and to the doctor from office. I didn’t wish to share the turmoil in my heart with anyone. And sitting there for almost four to five hours made me hungry. I didn’t care to eat. For I knew you don’t need to be nourished. I don’t need to eat extra for that new life inside me. And doctors said it’s no life now, just a mass of blood.

There was no need to feel so sentimental. Oh yes! Collateral damage for the pleasure I must have had with my husband some night.

And when the medicines started working, I felt the same cramps that one calls labour pain. I never had a miscarriage in my life. I never missed a period. I didn’t know what labour pain is as my first born was born through caesarean section. But the shooting pain was not too terrible to bear, physically I can endure pain. But there are some pain that is hard to bear and doesn’t have any prescribed medicines for cure. That’s called the pain of loss. Not that it was new to me. I still remember when my younger brother died at the age of 11, my mother told me: “You will have no sibling anymore. Only if I hadn’t aborted the baby that came two years ago, you would have had one.” She was 46 then. I could visibly see that pain in her eyes. I was 21 then, I knew the difference between elective abortion and miscarriage. The biological procedures are same but one is nature’s choice of natural selection and the other is a practical choice of the human world.

So my lost womb, here I wait for the next ultrasound to confirm if you have been evacuated successfully and if modern medicines were good enough to expel you. Even if you are not, doctors have a solution to that too. Vacuum evacuation in an OT. But I shall forever mourn your arrival, may be alone on days I would sit at my roof watching birds mate and on spring days when they would lay their eggs in nests that they wouldn’t have to destroy. Not like me.

Like an unsung bud you will lay a wreath on my deserted womb someday, my dreams will forever keep you alive.

Yours, Never-to- be Mom


Do-it- yourself abortions have become very common in India, with women buying across-the counter abortion pills without medical supervision. but in many cases it is dangerous to pop in these pills without knowing the details of the age of the foetus or even if the pregnancy is ectopic or not. The pills can cause excessive bleeding and also incomplete abortions. Hence women, even teenagers who abort unwanted pregnancies should be careful enough about the procedure. And well, the psychological trauma is truly unbearable. But well that’s life all about. Experiences.

©Saheli Mitra

Pix from the Net.

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