Unborn Lullabies

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The nights may be different, but my dreams remain forever the same like a video put agonisingly on loop…

They always start like a wonderful fairy tale; the kind any mother would love to tell her child…

It’s a lovely summers day and the sun is an iridescent jewel against the seamless blue of a clear sky. Laid out stunningly before me is a field of vibrant knee length roses. As I wade through the ocean of red, I run my hands across their velvety lips as each reaches up to kiss my fingertips, ever so gently. Suddenly, blossoming against all this beautiful stillness and tranquillity is the enchanting gurgle and chuckle of new-born baby. So sweet and joyous, like a magical spell I’m drawn closer and closer to the sound serenading me like classical music.

Finally, I break away from the embrace of the roses and find myself at the foot of a small hill. My eyes rise to the top, there they are met with a tree maternally bending over a delicate wooden cradle, protecting it from the full glare of the sun. The few rays of sunshine that do eventually trickle through the leaves, beautifully cast shapes and figures across the surrounding grass, and with each whistle of a gentle breeze they seem to dance and perform as if on cue. As the gurgle and chuckle loudens, I find myself hurrying up the hill, desperate to see the bundle of joy responsible for the melody…

Except, when I reach the cradle there isn’t the pair of gorgeous browns and wide toothless smile that I yearned to see beaming up at me, instead the cradle is empty, hauntingly empty…and like the shatter of glass my peaceful world abruptly disintegrates, leaving me falling into the growing black reaching up to suffocate me. And that’s when I wake up and instinctively reach for my stomach, hoping, hoping it was all just a bad dream, a nightmare. But it isn’t… my belly is an empty shell, the carcass of a once human being…

Ever since I was small girl, playing with my doll set and watching Disney movies on TV, it has always been my dream to be a mother and nothing else. I know it’s silly, especially now with feminism… Beyoncé… Theresa May… but I’ve never spared a single thought towards being a business woman, scientist or anything like that. Because, forget about all that red carpets and reality shows…to me being a mum was the most glamourous and important thing in the world – it made you beyond special!

Is being a devoted mother such a bad thing to want? To want to bring new and wonderful life into this world, and then keep giving that baby all the love and care possible until they are all grown up, happy and ready to have a family of their own? Is that so bad?

I was 16 and constantly living under a cloud of brooding, but no matter how ready I thought I was for motherhood, at that age I knew I was too young to have kids. Plus, at that point I didn’t have a boyfriend and unless I was planning to immaculately conceive like the virgin Mary, my list of baby names would’ve had to stay stashed safely at the bottom of my draw for a few more years, at least.

Then I met him, which was completely unexpected…

In the beginning he was beyond kind and caring, and when I was feeling low he always knew exactly what to say to put me back on top of cloud nine again. After I fell for him, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted him to take my virginity – it just felt right.

In the urgency of passion and youthful abandon, we weren’t being smart, we weren’t being safe. But just my luck, the first time I had sex was the exact time I got pregnant…

A tornado of thought whirled uncontrollably in my head and as much as I tried, I couldn’t pluck a single cohesive plan of action from among the chaos. A great part of me was elated because my biggest dream was finally coming true –  I was going to be a mother! But whilst my heart was already swelling with love for my unborn child, my brain was doing its best to deflate it. The logistics of being a teen mum was beginning to dawn on me, like black smog approaching from the distance. I saw the MTV shows… the insults… the struggle to pay bills… the loss of friends…the loss of a social life, the life of a 16-year-old mother was often hell and certainly not glamourous. Then of course, he still didn’t know…I couldn’t bear to tell him in person, so I sought the safety blanket of a screen to do so.

It was as if someone had pulled a giant plug and all the kindness and sweetness drained from him and disappeared down a black hole, leaving someone cold and manipulative behind. Thinly vailed beneath his concerned act I could feel his desperation pouring from the black letters, “I love you and I want to start a family with you one day, but now…we’re too young. Please, do the right thing. Not for us, but for it…” he said.

‘It’… the letters instantly cut through me like a savage saw blade; I still carry the scars until today. But I was naïve and I thought I still loved him. So I relented and gave in to his pathetic pleas. I did what he wanted…I booked an abortion.

With the majority of my messages receiving no reply, I decided to miss school and go to the clinic alone. I didn’t want anyone to know about what I was going to do. Walking down the linoleum floor I felt like a convict taking their final few steps before execution, except, I wasn’t the one to be fearing death. I rose my hand to my stomach in some vague and silly attempt to offer my unborn baby a final moment of solace.

When the pills were placed into my trembling hand, I looked down at them, big, menacing and for a moment I thought, “what if I threw them in the bin and walked out of that room, defiant, my head held high and my baby still in my belly?” But the truth was, the type of mother I wanted to be wasn’t the single mother I saw on MTV, but the type of mother with a masters, a nice big house in the country and enough money to take her child on holiday each year. Of course love is the most important thing you can give to a child – not money – but I wanted my kids to live a life of comfort, a life better than I lived.

And as I swallowed the pills, I realised I didn’t love him anymore…my love for him was extinguished by a tidal wave of hate. One word blinked into existence on his screen, “Done.” And when I knew he had seen it, I deleted his number and blocked him on every social media, with the urgent intent of purging every last ounce of him from my life…

I often think about what my baby would have been like… what type of personality they would’ve had? Would they have been sporty and confident? Shy and introverted? Or exactly like me… I also thought about what type of mother I would have been: strict, overbearing or would I have been fun and carefree? Either way I knew that child would’ve been beyond loved. I would’ve been a good mother at 16, but when I’m older and I have a career that fulfills me and I truly know who I am, then, then I could be a great mother. And most importantly, that’s the best thing I could’ve done for my unborn child…

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