Not too long after I gave birth, my relationship with my ex began to rapidly unravel. As I saw divorce inevitably approaching, I asked him if we could have another child before he divorced me, so our son would have a sibling. He admitted that the idea had occurred to him, but adding another child would only complicate our situation further.
My father could see the marriage potentially ending, and also that I was approaching my late thirties. Being an OB-GYN, he suggested I consider freezing my eggs in the event my ex and I remained married and decided to have another child in the future, or even if I ended up remarrying and wanted another. The fertility specialist told me that after 35 years of age the quality of the eggs deteriorates significantly every six months. Depressed and apathetic, I was somewhat pressurised to undergo the procedure, which entailed injecting myself with hormones for ten days to manipulate my body into producing more eggs. On the scheduled day, I was in excruciating pain. It was the kind of pain I experienced during actual child birth. I was internally swollen by an abnormal number of eggs. My brother helped me to the hospital. I could barely stand and walk, the pain was so intense. I endured the overwhelming pain until I was given the anaesthetic, whereupon I entered a numb, black world. When I awoke in a clinical, sterilised hospital ward, I was alone. I lay there and cried. I cried that I was a married woman with pregnant potential, yet I had to endure such an artificial procedure. I cried that I was alone. I cried when I thought how supportive my ex was during my pregnancy and labour, but now I was so alone. I cried that he was distant and unaffected when I texted him about the pain I was experiencing.
After the talaq was given, I could not bring myself to look at any of my son’s baby clothes. I had kept all his clothes for my second unborn child. Now that I was divorced, I could not bear getting rid of it all. It was too painful. I was filled with despair, the despair that the dream of a second child would never come to fruition.
About two months after my ‘iddah ended, I returned to my home town for a visit. Still battling with grief, anger and loss, I went to see an energy healer. I have a memory laying on the table while she stood over me, her hands suspended over my uterus. I had quiet tears running down the sides of my face, as I wept the loss of child bearing, the loss of not being able to provide my son a sibling. She let me thank my womb for the work it had done and blessed it, muttering prayers all the while. I don’t know if that process had an actual effect on me, but it did provide a somewhat ceremony to acknowledge my womb, express gratitude, and release grief.
Months went on and my grief of not having a second child waned. I did notice however, that when one of my close friends announced the pregnancy of her fourth child, I had some sadness in my heart. Of course, I was happy for her, but I felt sad for my child, who would not experience the joy of a home bustling with other siblings, experience a unique bond forever. He would never experience the elation of seeing his mum’s belly grow, and witness before him new life take its first breaths.
Fast forward a year and a half, I returned to the home of my marriage after a lengthy hiatus. I opened up my closets and started to remove the bags of my son’s baby clothes and toys, packing them into piles to give away. There were no tears. There were no heavy emotions. I realised the drastic difference of my emotional experience compared to a year and a half ago. I’ve come to accept. I am not grief stricken anymore. It’s going to be okay.