My Body, My Life, My Decision!
My Body, My Life, My Decision!5 mins 117 5 mins 117
The other night as I was browsing through Amazon prime for Malayalam movies, Sara's popped up. The movie had an IMDb rating of 7.1 and I did not have an ounce of patience left to continue my search, I decided to go for it.
Before I go ahead with my write-up, let me introduce myself. I am a homemaker, aged 36, a hands-on mom to a 7-year-old princess, who is totally into the planets and solar system, aka astrophysics or is it cosmology; Whichever branch of science, it’s all Greek and Latin to me, a finance person. It’s all thanks to google, else I would have been clean bowled forever.
Now let’s come back to this movie Sara's. It’s a very simple story about a girl named Sara. Her dream of wanting to become a filmmaker and not wanting to embrace motherhood. She had decided not wanting to procreate even before she had decided on her career. Sara falls in love with Jeevan, they get married, and then the climax- an accidental pregnancy. She discovers her pregnancy the same day her script has been confirmed to go for production. The entire family is over the moon. But she isn’t. She wants to focus on her film, a dream that she has been nurturing for a couple of years. Then comes the visit to the gynecologist and the emotional turmoil of whether to continue with the pregnancy or not. They are asked to go for a counseling session before taking the final call.
When the story reached this point, I was sure that the doctor would try to convince our protagonist that motherhood completes a woman. But I was in for a shock. He never said anything in those lines. He emphasized the preparedness that both the man and the woman should have before embarking on the journey of parenthood. Another fact that he added was that unless the lady is prepared, both physically and mentally, to take up the role of the creator and a nurturer, it’s wiser to put it off. I was lost.
Now I was at this pedestal around 6 years back. My little one was barely a year old and I was pregnant again. It was an accidental pregnancy. Post childbirth my menstruation cycle was non-existent and though my baby wasn’t exclusively breastfed, I happily assumed that lactating mothers do not conceive. A myth that I chose to believe and paid a heavy price at that. Hence no protection was used. When I started throwing up and experienced symptoms similar to my previous pregnancy, my husband visited the nearby pharmacy for a pregnancy test kit. The next morning, the urine test showed two bold pink lines grinning at me. We were pregnant for a second time. My firstborn wasn’t even a year old. I was not ready. My body could not take the stress once more.
We visited my gynae and she prescribed an ultrasound. We knew the drill. The intravaginal ultrasound reconfirmed my pregnancy, my baby being about 3-4 weeks old. Though there was no heartbeat, the baby was growing. I could feel my heart sinking. We went back to the doctor with the ultrasound results and told her of our decision of not wanting to continue with the pregnancy. My doctor’s reaction was pretty unexpected. She was very well aware that I had had a cesarean less than a year back. Medically speaking, my body wasn’t fit to bear another child so soon. But she wouldn’t perform the abortion procedure as it was against her ethics to terminate a pregnancy with no issues. She argued that by the time the baby was born, my ‘elder one’ would be well past a year and a half old. She sounded ridiculous. We left the hospital. We visited quite a few big hospitals, maternity hospitals, and government hospitals, the outcome was the same. And let me add here that when I say ‘we’, I mean my husband my baby n me. Being in a nuclear family, I did not have the luxury of leaving my baby with anybody back home. The reasons varied; aren’t you educated enough to know that you should use contraceptives, there are so many women out there who would do anything to have a baby of their own- and you want to kill your flesh; all this involved so much of mental trauma. There was a kind soul who empathized with me. He agreed that continuing this pregnancy would harm my physique as it was still in recovery mode after childbirth. But he was not willing to perform an abortion procedure. Long story short, we struggled over a week to find an obstetrician who was willing to terminate my pregnancy. It was an infertility clinic. The place where the dreams of motherhood came true for all women. The doctor did not play the role of moral police. She heard me out and we decided upon the date for the procedure. Where I felt that she was an understanding woman, my husband opined that she was only interested in making money. Maybe and maybe not. But to me, she was heaven sent.
According to the Termination of Medical Pregnancy Act, 1971, if a woman, due to her pregnancy suffers any inconvenience, physically or mentally, she can decide to terminate her pregnancy. This does not even require the consent of her husband. Bear a baby when you are ready for it. It’s a huge responsibility as you are creating tomorrow's citizens. It’s better to not be a parent than to be a bad parent.