The pain was sharp and intense, as if something was trying to rip her stomach apart from the inside. It had not been this bad the day before. But then the day before, she didn’t know that the life that had started to grow inside of her was no more. Zia cried out and clutched her belly as another wave of cramps gripped her and would not let up. She was inconsolable, not because of the pain but because of the realization that came with knowing what was happening. She had lost it. Her baby was gone and her body was trying to expel any evidence that it was ever there. Her grief was so shattering and selfish in its totality that she couldn’t muster up the strength to console Malik. She cried because she believed her body had failed her in the worst way possible. She cried because she couldn’t think of any other way to mourn what could have been. She cried because that was the only emotion she could manage…
It’s too small to kick. Zia laid a hand on her slightly swollen belly and smiled to herself. Even after several uneventful weeks and the last scan that had banished any last trace of doubt concerning the status of her pregnancy, she still didn’t know how to be, or how to feel, or what to expect.
After the first miscarriage and how it had left her all broken up inside, when she found out she was pregnant again, what she felt was a wave of bitter sweet emotions. Her joy was dampened by the fear of another loss. The pain of her first loss had been more psychological than physical. It had consumed her completely; a short but very intense heartbreaking pain and disappointment that her body had failed to do what should have been the most natural thing. Finding out she was again pregnant, she almost couldn’t accept it. She felt like she needed to be convinced that this one was here to stay before she could let herself be happy about it.
Contrary to what Malik thought, her first loss had not in any way weakened her resolve to keep trying. The first one had not come effortlessly. She had needed a bit of help medically to make it happen. But she wasn’t scared to try again. She was even more determined. There was no mad pressure to have children, but she realized it was time when she couldn’t stop thinking or dreaming about babies. She chose to believe the fact that she had lost it only meant that she could have one and her plumbing works just fine. She chose to believe that her loss was only preparing her for something even more special that she had to appreciate more. Her very own rainbow after the storm.
Hearing it’s little frantic heartbeat for the first time almost brought tears to her eyes. It was real. It was alive and it was ridiculously tiny. But it was growing inside of her. Her body was changing dramatically too and it was driving her insane. She could not deal with not having control over her body anymore. She missed the days her nose and taste buds worked in sync. When her clothes used to fit effortlessly. Even the baggy ones. Now, her body was barely recognizable to her. She had gone up almost three dress sizes in a matter of months. In all fairness, the weight gain had actually begun with the first pregnancy, which was only a couple of months ago. All the same, she was not accustomed to having so much flesh on her bones. She was 5’3” and round wasn’t particularly the most flattering shape on her. She wasn’t proportioned to carry so much weight elegantly. Like a ballerina the size of Dumbo the flying baby elephant. Her appetite had gone haywire. For the most part, she couldn’t stand some of the things she used to love, like chocolates and chicken. Up was down and down was sideways as far was her mouth was concerned.
She could barely get her jeans over her ever-expanding hips. Her breasts had gone up a cup size in less than a month and her nipples were almost as big as the ripe juicy grapes she could not stop eating. The constant burping, barfing and gassiness were not making her life any easier. She couldn’t stick to any particular meal plan because her cravings never quite stayed put on any one thing for long. If she was craving it one minute she couldn’t stand it the next. As for water, if she wasn’t crunching on ice cubes, she had to have near scalding hot water. The last time her tongue was that assaulted was when she shoved a spoonful of piping hot beans into her mouth back in school.
All of these put together, however, were not as bad as the acute migraines she had started to get on a regular. The saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’ was definitely off the bat in this case. Laughing made the jack hammer in her head pound even that much harder. It was ironic how something that made her feel so good could cause her so much pain. Watching Chris Rock do a skit would definitely knock her lights out for real. All in all, it was a trying first trimester but Malik’s constant almost hawk-like attention and care was getting her through it and she was grateful to have him.
For the sake of playing it safe, any and every activity that might be deemed remotely strenuous had been crossed out. No more tennis, working out or going to the gym. No more jogging or long walks in the morning or any other form of exercise till further notice. Hopefully, she could start using the elliptical machine she got once she was way past the first trimester. It was low impact enough to be safe No more sex either. An even bigger bummer. Her see-sawing hormones kept her properly distracted for the time being but she couldn’t go cold turkey for 9 whole months. What about poor Malik, banished to the guest bedroom so “accidents” don’t happen. Zia wasn’t sure how she would manage but she was not about to do anything stupid that would jeopardize things. The only way this one was coming out of her is kicking and screaming after 9 months and an adequate amount of time in the labour room.
She had been told it would get easier with time but she could not imagine how gradually weighing up to a ton with another human being developing at an exponential rate inside of you could possibly get any easier. She tried not to think too much about what’s to come but to instead focus on getting through the day, one day at a time, to focus instead on how her life was changing. She would be a year older by the time her mini-me was born. Steadily inching closer to her 30s. If there was ever a time to take a step back and properly review and appreciate how far she had come, this was it. She had come quite a long way from that little tomboy who used to play video games and rough house and wrestle with the boys. Her mother’s only girl. She had come full circle. In a matter of months, she would be a new mum. She had to start making practical plans and tough choices. Her family was about to get that much bigger and for the first few years after that her little babe would be the centre of her world, demanding her attention constantly, changing every aspect of her life, upstaging almost everything and everyone else in it. She had to prepare for that, psychologically, financially and every other way necessary. She had to find a way to ensure there was a balance, to make sure that other important things in her life don’t get left behind or neglected, like herself and Malik.
Most importantly, she had to make sure not to lose herself. Her baby was not going to be little forever. He/she would want to know her, to know her likes, dislikes, hobbies, flaws and achievements and all. She owed it to her little one to be the best that she can be, to do the best that she can, live her life with no regrets and hopefully be the kind of woman her precious little rockstar one can be proud to call mother.