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Short Story Contest > [2013, Nov] Being a Mother

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message 1: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
The knock on the door brings me back to my senses. As my eyes regain focus, all I see is the two lines. I take a last look at the info on the box hoping that somehow rereading it would change the results. It doesn’t. I tried three different tests but same result. I stuff the strips in my bag to throw them out on my way to school. I tell mum I’ve plans with my friends so I’ll come home late, but that’s a lie. I need to see Rashayeil.
The first time we met, he told me I look like someone he knows. I didn’t fall for that, of course. “I’m Rashayeil,” he said. Curiosity got the best of me and I asked what it meant. “It’s the name of an Angel”. That’s how it began. His family had moved back from US and this was his first time here. Even though he was in college and I was in the 10th grade, this was someone who understood me. We got along really well and the thing that strengthened our relationship the most was our strong friendship. Our time together was not all lovey-dovey and love-you-miss-you stuff. It was fun. We weren’t sure if our relationship had a future but we did know that this friendship was never going to end.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I could already see my parents getting mad at me and doing their best to cover it up somehow: get me married, force me to abort or put the baby up for adoption, etc. But this was my baby. All of a sudden, I found, life had a new meaning. I don’t care about missing the parties, hangouts with friends, exploring life, nothing like that. What I cared about, the only thing in my life that I realized I actually cared about, was the life in me. It’s true what they say, it is a miracle.
There is no other way to say this and I don’t see any point in beating about the bush, “I’m pregnant.” I had wondered about how he’d react and was ready to be abandoned by him. “Are you sure?” he asks. “Three tests, all positive! I’m sure.” He is clearly shocked and needs time but I’m scared too. He puts his arm around me and asks me what I want. I don’t know what I want. He suggests that we see a doctor first before deciding anything.
I find out I’m about six weeks along and everything is alright. After the ultrasound, I know what I want but need to know what he wants. I need to prepare myself. Is this a war I’ll fight alone or will I have him by my side. He asks what I want him to do. “Be honest,” I say. He takes my hands in his, looks into my eyes, and tells me that he’s not ready for this. “I’m so sorry, Ash. I want you to know that I do love you and really wish I could do something, but I’m not ready for this. I can’t give up my life for this. I have a career planned and I just can’t be a good father. Not yet.” What can I say, I asked him to be honest. “Let me talk to my parents and I’ll see what I can do.”
I know Rashayeil just as well as he knows himself. I wonder why I bothered asking him at all. I know he’s immature and I knew what he’d say. But am I mature? He’s a guy, he can get away with this but my life is about to become hell.
“I understand. Later, bye!”
I thought I’d wait till I was three months along before telling anyone else but realized waiting would’ve been stupid. What are my parents going to do? How will my siblings react? I thought about all possible things that could happen but in the end, it’s about me and my baby. I know Rashayeil will come around but can’t lean on him for support. Nothing else matters. If my family can support me, well and good; if they can’t, I’ll find another way. Rashayeil said I could stay at his place so if shit hits the ceiling, I know where to go.
Instead of breaking the news individually to everyone, I tell them all at once. At dinner, I’m lost in my thoughts wondering how to break the news when mum asks if I’m alright. “Mum, Dad, I need to tell you something.” “Is everything alright,” “What’s wrong?” my parents say simultaneously. Let’s do this. “I’m pregnant!” “You’re what?” “You crazy?” “What?” “Are you sure?” I don’t know who says what. Mum takes me to the gynaecologist. She wanted to be sure and got her confirmation. We drive home in silence. At night, as I lay in my bed, I hear my parents argue. Next day, when I’m leaving for school, mum looks at me. “What? I’m keeping the baby!” I state.
After that, everyone stops talking to me. Everyone except my elder sis, who’s made it her job to make my life miserable. Every time I throw-up, she’s around insulting me loudly. Fati, my younger sis, just looks at me, unable to understand what’s going on, and clearly forbidden to talk to me. My brother and dad ignore my presence.
After about a week, mum and dad call me to their room. My mum tries to explain things like how difficult life would be, how it is unacceptable in our society, even here in Islamabad, the disgrace I’ll bring to the family, etc. My father gives me two options: I can either opt for abortion or get married to the guy. I tell Rashayeil and two days later, his parents visit. Like any educated family, they’re polite and respectful, working toward a solution. My dad, however, keeps blaming them for everything. His dad clarifies that he wants his son to focus on studies and will not burden him with marriage no matter what. “We’ll see when the time comes. People change, things change, and I don’t want my son to end up in a divorce,” his father says. “I don’t see what the point is,” he adds. My father asks them to leave and they do. Rashayeil’s mom hugs me lightly and whispers “Don’t worry, beta. We’re here for you and will do everything we can. Stay strong.”
Their visit escalated things but like everything else, it died down. I’m 3 months along and this topic is a taboo in our house now. Not something they want to deal with. One night, mum comes in my room and hands me glass of warm milk with honey, and says that she will adopt the baby and it would be a win-win situation. I tell her that’s not going to happen. “Mum, is this what you would’ve wanted if you were in my shoes?” She asks me if there is anything she can do to change my mind.
“Nothing, mum.”
“Oh god, I’ll talk to Farrukh. We’ll have to go for a C-section. You’re too young. You won’t be able to stand the pain.”
Somehow, I believe I’m more shocked now than I was when the test came positive.
“Mum, what did you just say?” I almost shout.
“Well, you don’t know how painful it…”
“You mean you’re okay with this all of a sudden?” I interrupt.
“I was trying to protect you and your well-being and happiness has always been my priority,” she says.
4 months - I think I’m remarkably well at hiding this. I’ve a little bump but seems like God is on my side, because winter has just begun and I think no one will find out at school. I don’t play badminton anymore, for obvious reasons. My dad has started ignoring me completely since mum told him that she was going to support me.
A month later, when the news spread around the school, everyone started bullying me. I was being called a “slut, whore, prostitute,” and some students even said that I should be stoned to death. I found myself more alone than I ever imagined. My best friend told me that she doesn’t want to be seen with me because of what I’ve done, which is weird coming from her given that every time she smokes up, she ends up having sex with her bf. So, here I was, friendless, weak, and alone. There were some nice kids too, though, like this playboy in our class whom I’d always ignored but who offered to carry my bag every day now. Eventually the headmistress found out, summoned my parents, and kicked me out of school because “mahol kharab hoga, parents will worry, school ki reputation, etc.” which is again funny, because everyone knows that most of the students in our school smoke up, drink, and once even raped a girl. My dad didn’t come to school and my mum couldn’t defend me well, and in the end, I was kicked out. Not on a few months leave but out, completely, no coming back. They didn’t want anything that had to do with me.

The other day, a fight ensued between my parents so I left the house and drove to F-7. At Mothercare, for the first time in 5 months, I felt happy. On my way in, a man in his thirties who was holding his kid, smiled and held the door open for me. Seeing all these other mothers shopping, friendly ladies at the counters, women chattering away, I felt proud to be a part of it all. I spent hours looking at stuff and bought some clothes for my baby. His first clothes! Yes, I’m having a boy. I felt a sudden surge of emotions thinking about the time ahead and fatigue overtook me.
My heart begins to pound and I’m about to fall down when 2-3 guys at the shop rush and catch me before I fall. “Aap theek to hain baji? Kis ke saath hain?” Before I faint, I wonder where my own brother is. I wake up in the hospital with my mum and siblings around me. “My baby,” I say. “Everything is fine,” mum reassures me. My brother is standing in the corner with a guilty look on his face.
Things changed after that. Everytime I’m going up to my room or coming downstairs, my brother rushes to my side. I tell him I’m well enough to walk around. “I can’t help it,” he says. I know he can’t. Even when he was ignoring me, I saw how restless he got everytime I was on the stairs. He feared I’d fall. Fati now draws me cards and tells me that once the baby is born, she will give him the football she has but not her dolls. She makes paintings for the baby at school. She told all her friends that she’s going to be a khala. Her friends are just excited as her, and, on her birthday, they all danced around me and some even brought gifts for the baby.
Rashayeil asked me to meet him at his place. I didn’t tell anyone at home and surprisingly, no one asked. Not even the brother who now worries so much. When I enter his place, I’m greeted by his parents who hold my hands and lead me to their living room. “Surprise!” everyone screams at once and I find myself in a blue heaven. My mum, Fati, and my brother are there. A blue banner on the wall has “Aisha’s Baby Shower” written on it with glitter. I wish Natasha, my elder sis, was here too. In spite of all the insults she hurled at me, I want her to be a part of this. Unlike my dad, who ignores my existence completely, Natasha greets me with insults whenever I talk to her and is always mad at me. Rashayeil and his family literally shower me with gifts. It was good to see him after a long time. His sister was also there on Skype and suggested some names for the baby. Oh crap, barely two months left and I haven’t even thought of a name for my son.
When we return from the baby shower, I find Natty on her computer. I ask her why she wasn’t there and she shrugs. “I want this to end, what happened to us?” I ask. “What happened is that you got knocked up,” she says. I tell her that I’m done trying to fix this. If she and dad don’t want to be a part of this, they don’t have to, but this is the hardest time of my life and this is when I find out the real faces of those around me. At this, I see her eyes fill with tears and she runs to the bathroom. I wait for her outside and when she comes out, I hug her tightly. She dare not push a 7 months along pregnant lady off her and we stay like that for a while. “I’m sorry, I love you!” she says. Then she explains that she worried that I wasn’t ready for this, mad at me because of the mistake I’d made, etc. “Now I realize that I was wrong. In the past 7 months, you’ve grown more mature than I am now.” Rashayeil messaged to let me know that he was done with college and would soon return to US for university. Life has been hectic and I haven’t had time to concentrate on anything. Natasha and Fati decided they want the baby to be named “Ashar” after the guy from Humsafar.

message 2: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
Things are pretty much settled now. Dad still doesn’t talk to me but everything else is fine. Only 3-4 weeks to go. Except that 2 weeks later, I wake up in the middle of the night. The labor had just begun when I called Rashayeil who didn’t answer. I left him many messages but didn’t hear back. Did I ever tell you that I have a very small threshold for pain? I scream every few minutes and Natty gets mum. When it’s time to take me to the hospital, I see my dad standing on top of the stairs. “Shit, this hurts too much!” I scream. I don’t care whether he comes or not. He doesn’t. Anesthesia sets in and I’m about to fall asleep. As the nurse pushes the stretcher toward the Operation Theatre, I hear my dad shouting, “That’s my daughter! Ashi, wait…” he catches up “Don’t you worry, everything will be alright. I’m here.” Tears run down his eyes and he walks as far as he’s allowed to. When I open my eyes, I wake up to a room full of people and a frantic nurse telling them to stop making such a ruckus. Rashayeil is on my side, and in his arms is, Naila, our daughter.

message 3: by Lara (new)

Lara Zuberi (larazuberi) | 569 comments A few minor things, such as the flipping between tenses, the ending being a bit abrupt, abbreviations used (bf).
All in all I liked it. Strong points were the flow that made it readable, and the details that made it real ( the Humsafar spin was very effective)

message 4: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Good story but kinda unreal. This doesn't happen in Pakistan. Also, I thought you're awake when giving birth, even in a C-Section.

message 5: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
Goodreaders please rate each story on a scale of 1-10 in the comments please. This way I can tally up the scores and choose a winner.

message 6: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz I think Epidural lagta hai for C-section and you don't go behosh when on it. It just numbs the lower body or something but you're awake. And the brother is weird, lol. Getting up when she's on stairs because he thinks she'd fall? Well, duhhh!

You're always hoping that guys are villains. They aren't.

message 7: by Sameea (new)

Sameea | 292 comments This was an interesting story. It was smoothly written, the character was honest. It was a nice little piece to read 7/10 :-)

message 8: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz @Aalia: What's wrong with the guy being good. They're always portrayed as the bad ones who abandon and all. If I were that guy, I'd do everything to support the girl and the baby. I would've supported the girl no matter what role I found myself in: Father, brother, sister, mother, friend, whatever.

message 9: by Lara (new)

Lara Zuberi (larazuberi) | 569 comments 7/10. Yes c section can be done with epidural or with general anesthesia. I don't think anybody does csections to avoid labor pain though. That's not one of the indications. Also, csections are pretty painful.

message 10: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Lara wrote: "7/10. Yes c section can be done with epidural or with general anesthesia. I don't think anybody does csections to avoid labor pain though. That's not one of the indications. Also, csections are pre..."

Where I live, everybody chooses a c-section to avoid the pain or the entire birthing process.

message 11: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Aalia wrote: "@Owaiz it's not wrong for a guy to be good. It's just uncommon. Yikes! And I'm coming to the place "where you live" where they might not even sign papers before having a caesarian! It's not fair."

I haven't had one so I wouldn't know about the papers. :P

message 12: by Adeel (last edited Nov 25, 2013 09:13AM) (new)

Adeel Hasan (adeelhasan) | 78 comments I really liked this. I'm not sure how old the author is, but from the c-section bit to avoid pain, you can tell that this is something that personally s/he hasn't gone through.
All in all, if the author is not high school age, then s/he has certainly nailed it- it sounds exactly like someone who is of that age. A perfect Jacquline Wilson way of writing. But personally, some parts were too fast, and could have done with more emotion.
Still a very decent effort: 7/10.

message 13: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
I have given birth in Pakistan (for reasons that bring back angry memories). And I can say from experience that most girls these days, in pakistan, do want to have c-sections to avoid the pain. They have no idea of the pain of recovering from a c-sections. And if a labor is long the 'jahil' mothers 'can't see their daughters in pain'. C-section kar do. Bas jaldi kar do. And yes girls do pass out from the pain... Also not having enough of the proper nourishments during pregnancy make them too weak to give birth. Also the fact that in pakistan pregnancy os treated like a 'condition'. Can't do anything because I'm pregnant. Imagine a 20 something sitting on her butt all day long and eating the most unhealthy foods for almost a year. She won't be fit enough to give birth. She'll pass out fo sho.


message 14: by Owaiz (last edited Nov 26, 2013 11:05AM) (new)

Owaiz I think that's because things here are a bit screwed. It's a mindset. For instance, even though I know it is good if my grandma cooks or does some work because that will keep her healthy, I can't really see it. I can't see her work because I have that "she's too old to be working mindset." Even though I know that is what keeps her healthy. I have the healthiest grandmothers ever, both my Nani and Dadi are really active and can do many things that others of their age can't. But that doesn't make it easy for me to see them work, even if it is going to get a glass of water. And the same goes for pregnancy. For one thing, I never let my sister carry anything when she was expecting. Even when we had fights, I'd go and take things from her hands even if it was her purse. It was like she became too fragile and vulnerable to me, even though she's pretty tough and strong and hated me for all I did. I still made her orange juice every morning I was with her.

Once we had a new maid and she was like 7-8 months pregnant and I felt terrible to see her working. Because I had once heard that pregnant woman shouldn't bend or kneel and the maid was sitting down cleaning and I was worried something might happen to her. But then I learned things but it is still somewhere in my mind and so I get pretty sad/uneasy/pissed to see pregnant women having to work or to see someone make them work.

message 15: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz I'm one of a kind, hon. But talk show thingy sounds cool, yay! Here's hoping you don't forget this once you have your talk show.

message 16: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
Seriously @aalia? Owaiz as your guest. Do you have absolutely no love for your future audiences? Pagal ho jayen ge sab.

message 17: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Zenab is jealous, Aalia. She has no idea how people love drama and stuff. Veena Malik ko hi dekh lo.

message 18: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Zenab is also jealous because you didn't ask her to be your guest. Zenab, be my guest to be her guest, haha!

message 19: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz I have no guns. Unless you're talking about the sexy muscle guns my arms are, which I can't help but bring.

message 20: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Itni tu intimidating!

message 21: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
Jealous?! Aur tum se. As if! (Holy clueless m

message 22: by Zenab (new)

Zenab Ch | 2099 comments Mod
oment. Aur waisey bhi jis show mein tumharey type ke guest hon... I'd rather stay away.
*blows raspberry*

message 23: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Zenab wrote: "oment. Aur waisey bhi jis show mein tumharey type ke guest hon... I'd rather stay away.
*blows raspberry*"

Now she insults Aalia. I can smell the burn.

message 24: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Aalia wrote: "@Zenab kamre mein jaa ke chhupna parhe ga jab tmhari saaari mera show laga ke dekhe gi :P"

What's 'saaari?'

message 25: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Aalia wrote: "Not saying :/ I've been humiliated enough for my bad Urdu already. You can make whatever you like of it."

Is that Aalia? Is your account hacked? Since when did you start shying away?

message 26: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Aalia wrote: "Aalia is currently possessed by an evil, shy and depressed ghost. Avengful too."

I'm reading this novel called "Suicide Notes" which is about a boy doing a 45-day stint in a psychiatric ward. He's 15. You're 16, if I remember right. Anyway, the kids get their own area and they have a common room with tv and games and all that. So, you know, if you want to, you can and you should ...

message 27: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz ... consider going to the nuthouse.

message 28: by Owaiz (new)

Owaiz Fine. We shouldn't talk about it here or they'll send us there.

message 29: by Salman (new)

Salman Tariq (salmanahmedtariq) | 232 comments Nice story ❤️

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