A few weeks ago, I serialised the above. However, when my 85-year-old mother and friends asked me to continue the story of the unborn child, one has no choice but to oblige. Do enjoy the story below.
I believe I told you the last time that mother and father were now a couple and living together; they were enjoying their love, lives and work. I was happy for them even though I had my reservations. They were both happy, especially as mother was pregnant with their first child and they both regularly gazed in awe as her body changed. I mean she was sparkling and glowing and pregnancy suited her.
In the evenings, after work, they were so much into each other that I wanted to disrupt their joys all because I knew that once I come out, it would not be fun for me. Father loved cooking all manner of savoury dishes for mother and initially, I detested them but over time, I grew to love his food. At the weekends, they danced around their apartment like a pair of excitable children playing in the rain. They laughed at father who had two left feet and mother would teach him the latest dance moves as they smiled into each other’s eyes.
Did I mention that father got his divorce fast-tracked (money talks)? They got married at the registry. They had the introduction, which was not a big deal, as both families knew each other and were happy to finally be in-laws. So, everything was on the up for mother and father. They had this idyllic plan, where they both told each other how they would love me either with sickle cell or not.
I knew that their love and faith would be tested once I came out, with all the hospital visits they would have to make, as well as my admissions into hospital for surgeries, education disruption etc. I saw myself growing up and I could see I had moments of being fed up with life. How sure was I that their love would conquer the ton of bricks that was about to hit them by giving birth to me?
As I was minding my business inside of mother, I started getting anxious about the kind of life I would have once outside. I was so troubled by what would become of me that I decided, perhaps it was best for me to go back and not be born. The more I thought about everything, the more I got myself into a state, to the point whereby I stopped eating. When mother went for one of her antenatal classes, she was admitted to hospital because she was anaemic and her blood level was low.
Mother and I were admitted to hospital, father would sleep with mother in hospital every night, she was admitted for seven days and they would both lay hands on her stomach and pray; they coined a nickname for me, I was their ‘shining star’; I mean my parents were determined to love me. When mother was alone with me, in the room, she talked to me as if I was in front of her and she would beg me not to give up, that she was not going to give up on me and that my father was also not going to give up on me.
All sounded so utopian like strawberries and cream. I heard my mother singing ‘all things bright and beautiful.’ I am agitated by that song and start kicking her furiously; all things bright and beautiful? In whose world mother? Not in mine anyway. As she winces in pains and cries out, she tries to put her feet on the floor but they felt like lead; she feels astringent taste in her mouth and falls on all fours as she calls out and nurses rush into her room.
Mother is in pains, tells them she is having thumping headache. Checks are being made on her, mother is losing blood; I am also in a state of tumult and wondering if I want to come out or not. And mother passes out.
As I am debating what I want to do, my nose detects this evocative, overpowering smell. All seemed hushed around me and suddenly, my guardian angel appears. Oh sage, welcome I say. He looks at me, with his deep eyes, filled with wisdom and asks me, ‘what are you scared of?’ I sigh and say “a lot of things.” He gazes at me as I feel him seeing through me, and says “what are you frightened about?”
“A lot of things I blurted out” and before he can say anything, I start naming all my insecurities: “Sage you remember John, how he had sickle cell disease and when he got into the world, his parents rejected him; and you recollect the story of Mary, how she was bullied as a child in school by her school mates; what about George who could never sit for exams and as such, was always behind in his studies and Isabel who could not cope with the pains and tried to kill herself many times because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of those who said they loved her but actually didn’t. Oh and let’s not forget Friday, who from a young age, dealt with many complications of SCD, that he was self-harming and no one noticed or is it the story of Toyin, whose parents kept saying that she was an accursed child and taking her to their church and other fetish practitioners to beat ‘the devil’ out of her. How about the story of Susan who eventually died at the hand of one of these false practitioners?” By this time, I was weeping profusely.
As I stopped to catch my breath, Sage, wrapped me in his arms, as I sobbed bitterly on behalf of all children with SCD who had suffered at the hands of those who should have protected them. I finally disclosed, “Sage, I can’t go into this wicked world, I can’t; please let me go back with you.” Sage kept on holding me in his arms for what seems like a lifetime and finally, he spoke with that beautiful dulcet voice of his and said, “I know a lot have suffered and you have a right to be afraid. However, I assure you that no evil shall befall you, in the hands of this couple. But as you know, we never force you all to go into the world. If you don’t want to go, then you will be back with us in a few hours from now.” And he disappeared.
If you want more information about this column or SCD, please do so on: firstname.lastname@example.org and do visit my blog: www.howtolivewithsicklecell.co.uk