Thursday, March 29, 2018

BUTTERFLIES AND HURRICANES

Me being me, I went through my Facebook posts and came across the one I'd written when I'd just found out I was pregnant and had had a miscarriage. It was initially only visible to people I knew were trustworthy, but after my mum found out, I made it public like my other posts. The way my mother found out was she opened a bill that I'd gotten from the hospital, one marked private and confidential and addressed to me, legally an adult at 26, a bill that I'd stored away in my own drawer, so yes, if anyone asks why I have trust issues, I would say, you can't trust anyone.

This is what it says:
If you had been following my Instagram stories, it might have caused you dismay at my levels of anguish, as some of you asked me what was wrong. I could not answer because I was only just beginning to comprehend things and my family had just experienced the passing of a loved one, so I did not want to cause them more stress and worry, and I still don't want to now. However, the storm has come to pass, somewhat, I guess, and it's time to talk about it, because I don't want to pretend it didn't happen.

A week ago, I suspected I was pregnant and eventually confirmed it with test kits and at the clinic. I told Joey first, of course, and I told him my gut instinct, which was that I wanted to keep it. I let him know that he was not obligated to be involved because it was unplanned, but the baby was mine and I wanted it. Joey understood and although he felt guilty as it was not in his life plan, he did not try to change my mind as he respected that I am an adult and am capable of making my own personal decisions.

I talked to a few of my closest, most trusted friends. Most of them advised me not to keep it, because I am not financially stable, nor is having a baby at this age part of my (travel-the-world, settle-somewhere-else) life plan. They don't want me to bring a life into this world and give it an instant disadvantage against its peers.

I understood their perspectives but at the same time, once upon a time, /I/ was this kid, and I felt so much for it, so much more than anyone else could. My mother also conceived me as an "accident", she struggled for many years, and I never lived quite as comfortably as many of my Singaporean friends I know. And yet, and yet, she managed, we managed, and I managed to have lived quite the fulfilling 26 years of my life so far.

I don't deny the tough times, of turmoil, of financial battles between my parents, of my mum only badmouthing my father, of being too distracted by family sagas to have focused on my studies, of not having a family income strong enough to see me through to university. I also don't deny I love my mum all the more for it, for having struggled for me, and I have received love from my mum and from endless, countless people in my life, people who tried to help and push me forward in any way they could and knew best.

If I had raised this child, they might and probably would have experienced similar struggles, but I would have wanted to impart the knowledge that I'd myself received. I would have wanted them to learn that money and status may make things easier, but they certainly don't make things better. I have travelled, maybe not as luxuriously as some, but fairly extensively.

When my friends asked for my favourite experiences anywhere, I would invariably answer about the people I'd met. I met this guy who had the most amazing library of books and DVDs, I had a kindred soul sister in a lodge at Lake Tahoe, I met your father and we went on dates in the canyons, we got called out for public drunken-kissing one night, with my hands in his back pockets, because he always kept me warm in this world too cold for me.

("Joey, I need to pee." "Sarah, go pee in the bushes." "No...." "Why not?" "'Cos I'm a girl!" "So?" "Joey!" "Yes?" "I need to pee!" "....."

This back-and-forth happened multiple times, after you grasped my hand tight and held me up steady, crossing roads and navigating barriers.)

Your father was an adamant engineering genius but most nights, he would let me pick a movie, even the most frivolous ones, and after feeding me dinner, he would watch it to the end while I fell asleep in his arms. Maybe one of those nights, you had already been conceived.

I wanted my baby to know that regardless of educational or monetary status, the most important thing in life would be the people they knew and the relationships they would go on to forge. I wanted him or her to know that you could make anyone feel anything based on the person they were and the things they said, not with the money in their bank accounts or the things they owned.

When I travelled across LA, I met a few single dads who also had children being raised by their mothers in other states or countries. I was awed by their love, their ways of parenting through Facetime, reading aloud storybooks and discussing morals and themes, and I hoped Joey would do the same. I wanted my child to know that even if his or her parents weren't together, they could and would still have a decent and fulfilling life, because I wanted them to and I would make it work. I loved their father, he was a simple, honest, patient, hardworking man, I always felt safe with him and I liked many things about him. If my baby could have any of our character traits based on our genes (besides being really cute), they would turn out a good person and rather likeable, with any luck.

A select few of my friends, as well as my cousin and sister, said they would stick by me regardless my decision, meaning they were prepared to co-parent my child with me. My best friend Han called dibs on being godmother, and my sister Lyssa already planned to buy tiny baby shoes for my baby.

The funny thing is, I think my subconscious knew I had conceived long before I was physically aware. When I arrived back in Singapore, I was playing with my cousins' kids at Nabilah's wedding and my cousins asked when my turn to have a baby was. I offhandedly answered "in 9 months' time" afterwhich they smiled and teased "oooh! You just got back from the US! Must be someone there, was it Joey!" I sniggered and walked away but some part of me must have known it was true.

Unfortunately, since last weekend, I was bleeding thick, heavy clots and the clinic that confirmed my pregnancy referred me to the hospital's Accidents & Emergencies. They drew my blood, prodded up my vagina to do an ultrasound of my womb, but could not find my pregnancy sac. I suffered a miscarriage and am no longer pregnant.

I read that the sex of a foetus is determined at the point of fertilisation. Please don't try to console me with scientific facts that it had not developed a heartbeat or limbs or a conscience. It was already a girl or a boy, as far as I am concerned, it was a life growing inside me, it was a person I already loved, and I have lost him or her.

I am exhausted from the physical, emotional, mental trauma. I would like to be given space to cope with this. Please don't ask me if I'm okay. Please don't ask my best friends or sister if I'm okay. I'm not okay now, but I will be. I just want to sleep till 2017, and I will talk to any of you when I'm ready to talk to anyone. At the moment, I can't, don't and won't.

PS. If anyone has any connections to my family, please do not tell them, especially my mum. I may talk to them about this when I'm ready.

PPS. Please use contraceptives if you're not ready to have a baby. This goes to both men and ladies.

Thank you for your time. So Much Love from Sarah Mei Lyana.
Many things have changed since then. For one, I don't believe in God, nor the afterlife, so if such a thing happened to me again and I wasn't ready, I wouldn't be as attached to the baby, and abortion would surely be more of a viable option.

I also don't see Joey as having either a halo nor a pitchfork. He was a decentish guy, he housed me and we did lots of fun things together and we were friends, but he never signed up for a baby, and obviously, neither did I. I romanticised him too much, but it has eventually all faded away to reality. Of course, he was a dickhead for not wearing protection and then not being responsible for the aftermath but I guess worse things have happened. I now see that perhaps if I'd had that baby, I would and could have eventually cut Joey off from being a parent, because he was a dickhead, and the other person in my life who is always a dickhead is my biological dad, who remains a dickhead to this day, at the age of forty-six.

I think most importantly, though, especially after having gone through the miscarriage and the one and a half years of all sorts of mental and physical handicaps I've had since then, and the support systems I've come to rely on, and those that began to disintegrate, I've realised just how important parenthood is. I would not have been as good or as equipped a parent to a child if I didn't know what I know now, and that is at twenty-six years old, or even beyond, a child may and would still need their parent's support, and for their parent(s) to be in their corner, instead of against them, and if I ever, ever had an adoptive kid, I would make sure that I truly loved them unconditionally.

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