Chapter 4: Pregnant?
Amy had reached her rented flat safely in Singapore. Her flatmate was nowhere in sight. Amy touches her belly. She imagined the baby moving in her. That would be her happiest moment ever. Amy took out the pregnancy test kit that she had bought on her way home. She looked at it afraid that she would be disappointed. Amy went to take a shower. She’ll use the test kit in the morning for a more accurate result.
Amy stretched herself. She looks at the clock. It’s thirty minutes past seven in the morning. She went back into the habit of waking up early during her stay at her father’s house. Without hesitation, she took the pregnancy test kit from her bedside drawer and headed for the bathroom. She noticed her body feels warm. She exhales a warm breath. It must be the air-conditioning, she thought to herself.
Amy stared at the test kit. Waiting. She saw two red lines. She checked the instructions that came with it. She’s pregnant! The result didn’t sink into her just yet. She took a shower.
Amy looked at the bathroom mirror. I am pregnant, she said to herself. Unconvinced, she got ready and left the house to go to the Polyclinic.
Amy went for lunch after the checkup at the Polyclinic. I am positively pregnant and I got no one to confide in. Alma is so far away. I need somebody with me now. Should I tell my Mom? Maybe I should call my eldest sister. That’s right. I DO have an elder sister. Amy reached her phone and called Anna, her eldest sister who is just one year older. Amy mumbled an excuse to meet up and Anna agreed to drop by her flat.
Anna, who is thirty four, is a divorcee. She has children of her own under the custody of her ex husband. He stole the two children from her by citing her mental illness which she had developed during her first pregnancy due to stress. Her first four children were with her lover and were given up for adoption. It was then that she developed depression and it wasn’t until her first child with her husband that she was diagnosed. Amy really didn’t want to end up like Anna. Every time their mother found out about Anna’s pregnancy, Anna was coerced into giving up her child for adoption. She would have her child with her for a few days. After which they were taken away when she fell asleep and were never seen again. The family refused to talk about her babies. They made her forgotten children seem not to ever exist. Every time she remembers them, she goes hysterical. At first the family promised to bring her kids to her. They didn’t. Then they told her, the babies died. After a long time, they just told her it was only in her mind. That she was just imagining it.
Anna moved out of their family’s home after her divorce. She had gotten a rented flat from the government and the rent was pegged to her income. She hasn’t been working so she only had to pay a minimum sum for rent. Amy moved out months after. It was too painful to watch her sister after all that had happened to her and when Anna wasn’t around anymore, there was nothing that could make her stay. Anna’s pregnancies divided the family apart.
The doorbell rang. Amy opened the door for Anna to come in. They hugged. Amy realised she hasn’t been around for her sister and yet she selfishly wanted her sister to be with her for her pregnancy. Amy just dropped the news to Anna. Amy could see tears in Anna’s eyes.
“You must not tell Mom!” Anna cautioned.
“She’ll take your baby away.”
Anna told Amy that their mother did not know where Anna lived. She told Amy to move in with her. Her kids come home only during the weekends and stay over for a night. Anna told Amy not to tell anybody. Amy cried and told her sister everything that happened to her including having a relationship with her rapist just because she was desperate for a child. Anna listened. She holds out her hand and caresses Amy’s face. It instantly hit Amy what it must have felt like for Anna to longed for her children and how painful it was for her to lose them one by one. Anna told Amy that she lost her children as if they were pocket change and if she had lost one more child, she’ll drop dead somewhere or somehow because she was heartbroken.
The sisters cried. For once, Amy understood her sister. Anna promised Amy won’t lose her baby the way she had and she’ll be there for Amy every step of the way.
Amy gave her landlord a month’s notice. There was no way the landlord would allow her to stay with a baby in that house. It’s virtually impossible to find any landlord that allows it. Unless of course, you rent the whole flat which is beyond Amy’s means. Anna had brought Amy to her house. Anna was really neat. She had sectioned off the one room flat for Amy and her baby. She’ll let Amy have her bed while she sleeps on the sofa bed. Anna was very kind. She even bought a wooden cot and drawers for Amy’s baby clothes. Amy asked where she got the money. Anna told her she got the furniture from the second hand store and put the matter to rest.
It was time to move into Anna’s flat. It was only slightly bigger than her own rental room. It was going to be quite an adjustment because even though she had rented a room, she could hang out at the living room and with an absent flatmate, it feels that she has the whole house to herself. Not at Anna’s though. She couldn’t have that but at least she has a home for her baby.
Amy didn’t have much. She brought over a duffel bag and a backpack. Soon with the baby’s clothes, diapers and other things, Anna was sure that the one room flat wouldn’t belong to her anymore. Anna welcomed the baby. Yes, she had raised her two youngest children on her own for ten years for the elder and four short years for the youngest. She felt blessed that even when she felt that she had her children for a short while, she still had the opportunity to become a mother to her children. Something that she could not have been for her eldest four. She didn’t watch them take their first baby steps or hear them say their first words. It drives her mad just thinking how she had missed their growing up years and how she was a mother yet she wasn’t able to parent her children. It was devastating. She doesn’t want anyone else to feel the way she had. Especially not her own sister.
Anna felt Amy was brave to do this alone. If she had once planned everything out just like Amy did, she probably didn’t have to lose any of her kids and succumb to this lonely fate. Heaven knows why she is still alive. She tried suicide plenty of times. Each time someone saved her. She survived suicide but her soul had left her the first time. She died time and time again. There’s a saying, if it’s not your time to go, you won’t die. Anna was a living corpse. Emotions run up on highs and lows, other times it escapes her. Silent. Emotionless being. Just barely surviving with the constant heartache that never leaves. A permanent scar that her kids left behind with her when they went away. She now knows why she didn’t die just yet. She needs to be around for Amy and her baby. So that another soul won’t be tormented by the constant thinking of the what ifs. Anna had a new purpose. She needs to track down her old flame, the love of her life, so that she could possibly find her kids. She doesn’t remember their date of birth nor does she name them herself. They never consulted her nor asked her what names she wanted for them.
Searching for their birth records online is an impossible task. Doing a search in the birth registry is $40 for a month of search. The cost to search for every month of the year for every child is just too costly. Money that she could not save up. Even if she had a job, it wouldn’t last. The piercing heartache that never leaves drained her energies. The constant fevers that come and go are just too much for her. And if the memories flood through her mind in a form of racing thoughts, she’ll break down. Nobody did try to understand, not even once. She wanted her children back. But after all these years, will they not have resentment even if she did not give them away and that they were taken forcefully from her? And if they knew their mother is a mental patient, would they shun her out even more? Will they be embarrassed by her? Anna would be overjoyed just to see them again even from far. Just knowing they are living the lives they should and not be shadowed by their parent’s past.
Anna remembered. Her teenage lover’s face lights up when he sees his son. He slept outside her grandparents’ flat just to see her before she left for school in the morning. He fed her food through the locked front gate when he knew she wasn’t eating. He kept coming back even when they chased him out like a dog. He loved her. And she loved him. Even the man she married couldn’t live up to him. She lost him. He turned to drugs. Anna knew he wanted to numb his pain. Anna turned to prescription drugs herself. She became an alcoholic. They were heartbroken.
Anna, seeing her sister, became more determined. She wanted him once more. To carry his child. To care for one if not all. That is, he agrees. And if God wills it.
Anna felt a sudden surge of sadness. A sharp pain in her chest. Tears well up in her eyes. Pain turned into anger. She needs to quell this pain.
Amy settled in well. She had no morning sickness. Anna took Amy around the vicinity to familiarise herself with the amenities. She showed Amy what buses to take to get around.
Since Amy moved in, Anna was generally happier. When Anna’s daughters came home for the weekends, she was more attentive to their needs. Anna had vowed once to herself before that if she didn’t take care of any one of her children, she wouldn’t want to take care of all her children. She doesn’t want her children to feel that she was favoring one over the other. Of course, that was just in her head. Her two youngest daughters need her more especially after her divorce. She realised she was pushing them away. She couldn’t control herself.
If she had just made plans. If she could quell this anger and control her emotions better, she could stay in a job long enough to pay for the birth record search. And she would have reunited with her children sooner. That was her constant regret. Meanwhile, Anna’s daughters warmed up to Amy quickly. Anna could see Amy was really trying to learn how to manage children.
Two months had passed. Amy was working hard to get more clients. She’s finishing her eBook. She’s down to the last few chapters of her book. Amy recommended Anna to take online courses too and Amy took time to teach Anna how to utilise social media. Anna picked up graphic design. She wanted to put her designs on merchandise. She saved enough money to pay a one year subscription for an estore hosting and domain name. Through Amy, Anna learned drop shipping processes and print on demand services. Amy saw a glint of hope in Anna’s eyes. She was her sister she knew once more.
To be continued…..