TITLE: A Biased Mother - 07 June 2020. Revised 17th June 2020
By Susara A Botes
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A Biased Mother
As Susan stood in front of the small cast iron stove in her corrugated iron house, she dreaded the doctor’s appointment that afternoon. Deep down, she knew he would confirm her fear that she was with child. Yet, she continued to pray her suspicion was only that; suspicion. When Dr Chapel told her she was pregnant, she burst into tears. She covered her face. Not to give in to hysterics, she bit into her bottom lip until she tasted blood.
In 1960 in Malmesbury, United Kingdom, this was not good news for her. Reality has made an appearance. Susan became entangled in her thoughts.
‘What will people say? Oh my goodness! Aunt Marián and Uncle! I can only imagine their dismay. The fourth child, I’m so ashamed’.
Susan lowered her head, covered her belly area with both her arms. In a brooding frame of mind she hunched down in a corner in the kitchen against the cold corrugated iron wall.
‘What will I do? I hate myself, Idiot, I should’ve known better!’ Susan scolded herself.
‘Why? Why did I accept my husband’s love, why did I crave his cuddle; and why did I enjoy it? Did Aunty not always say when we discussed this hush-hush subject; that ‘the deed’ was dirty and scandalous, and now people will know, again! I have done ‘the deed!’ even though he is my husband’.
“Mommy, mommy, I want bread” Amy was calling. “Mommy?”
‘I feel so self-conscious, I feel guilty. But, in the beginning it was expected of me, to ‘prove’ the marriage. And now? I do not want this’.
She tightens her folded arms around her belly, silently wishing the interruption would go away.
‘This is a burden; another mouth to feed, another responsibility. This three room corrugated iron house is just too small and só cold and the washroom is outside! Oh! The washing will be more! I can’t cope; I don’t want to cope with this’.
Susan reluctantly got up and poured Amy a cup of coffee, mostly ignoring the child. She then sat down at the table after making herself a cup of tea.
‘Maybe, just maybe discreetly, Gerald is never to know, I’ll ask around about abortion, the how and when; yes, I’ll do that. Anyhow he is not here most of the time; he leaves everything to me, oh, how I dread telling him, I have to tell him. I hate him! Well, I have made contact with a woman who knows how to perform an abortion. Perhaps the abortion could be done before I have to tell him’.
Even after the appointment with Moira has been made Susan still couldn’t calm her thoughts. Her thoughts are erratic as she goes about her daily tasks.
‘Maybe if I take too many of the sinus tablets or the headache tablets I bought at the supermarket yesterday I will get sick; maybe that will work. Ah, I feel better, and maybe the baby will die if I don’t eat much. I think I have heard something like that.
Weight! I don’t want to put on weight: packing on the pounds. I will lose my hourglass figure. No, No! Fat people make me uncomfortable; it seems they just eat and eat and eat. I’ll just eat less, and less frequent. I’ll just eat small amounts, and no cake. I’ll be strong and say no to Aunty's cheese custard, jellied salad, her parkin cake; I really like the taste of that cake. I’ll say I’ll eat it later, and then not eat it at all. That sounds like a plan’.
For a brief moment Susan remembered her other children.
‘I should have thrown away the pregnancy clothes from the last pregnancy, fifteen months ago, then, maybe I would not have fallen pregnant again. Did I bring this on myself…, no it is all Gerald’s fault, he cuddled me, and I actually do love him, but we argue so much!’
The appointment with Moira was not successful; another was scheduled in ten days’ time. Susan had to carry on with her daily tasks and the care of the other children. However, she did manage to convince Gerald for domestic help twice a week, even though money was sparse.
‘Why did God allow this? He knows the circumstances, he knows Gerald. God knows how we always argue; stopping short of physically abusing each other. I will admit I have felt like it many a time. I am just so frustrated! Every month end he buys, although small, a vat of wine for the workers who works in his division in the store. I know, I know, he doesn’t drink with them, but still, God, you know of all of this, and what about me?
Only, if I didn’t do 'the deed', I would not have been in this position, why was I so careless, so stupid! The agony of it all, again, the second attempted abortion was unsuccessful; is this child clinging to me? Come to think of it, there was this strange atmosphere, or was it a presence in the room? A calmness. A sereneness. A subtle decisiveness. It makes no sense! I’m so frustrated, I hate this child.
I feel so uncomfortable, so heavy. I haven’t done ‘the deed’ again, still angry and upset that I am in this position. Oh, the cravings, I do manage to say no; I do eat food though, albeit small servings. I drink a lot of tea and that sees me through to the next meal. Aunty doesn’t like fat people’.
A few months later Susan gave birth to a female child; unwanted and unwelcome she will be raised by her biased mother.
A Biased Mother, may she through the Love of God, self-acceptance, and the love of others come to her senses.
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