The nurse walked over to the doctor and mumbled something about the baby. I heard the doctor say “Oh, I don’t know.” I was numb from the epidural from my waist down, but all my senses were alert. They had just placed her in my arms and she had stopped crying, first unforgettable look and first instant moment of recognition. Nick, my husband, had mentioned that she had my big forehead and I could see that she did too. She had hazel eyes, a small nose and a tiny mouth. A whiff of pinkish hair adorned her head, and I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.
Her birth had been the culmination of nine long months of waiting, planning and dreaming. For the longest time I hadn’t wanted her. I had waited years to have her, years during which we bought a house and saw a great deal of the world. My husband was ready to have her from day one, but I kept postponing it till I was ready, feeling that one should never bring children into the world under pressure.
I needed to want her and one day I did, upon turning twenty nine. The feeling came over me slowly, mysteriously, like a sweet awareness, till that something that had been fighting it within me melted and I felt my heart opening up.
“So this is how it is,” I told myself. “This is the famous maternal feeling.”
It came over gradually but it grew rapidly and for the first time in my life I understood why people who are unable to conceive try so many desperate measures, putting their own health at risk, unable to accept the fact that this miracle will never happen to them. I felt foolish at having mocked them when I was younger. I blushed remembering the inane talks with my best friend at that time, Sandy.
“Who wants to be saddled with a child?” she would say airily while we took our long, carefree bike rides to the park on Saturdays, under beautiful sunny skies. “I’d rather have a dog.”
“So would I,” I would reply readily. “Foolish people, I guess they don’t know they’re better off.”
She meant it and ended up only with her husband and a dog, but despite myself I had changed, and I was now one of those foolish people. I found myself praying for a baby every time we made love, wondering what I would do if it didn’t happen; till one night after a particularly passionate night, I was almost sure I had conceived.
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