Chebet pees on a stick on a Monday morning, after her husband leaves for work and waits. She knows the drill: 3 minutes of torture. When she finally sees the results, she doesn’t tell anyone.
What if news of her pregnancy became a celebration?
What if she had a smooth pregnancy, only a few weeks of morning sickness and never got fat? Knowing her luck she will probably have the worst morning sickness every day and get huge! But its ok; she’s growing a human being.
What if she has crazy cravings and woke people up in the middle of the night asking for it? Will they say nothing because, again, she is growing a human being? And the first time she feels him or her move she completely loses it? Bawling like a child, because the love she has for her child is too overwhelming. The happiness cannot be contained.
What if she goes into labor for just a few minutes and he came out a few minutes later like that movie Benjamin Button? The mom sneezed and he came right out! But again knowing her luck she will be in labor for hours and he will only come out only after she had endured so much pain and cussed everyone out.
What if the first day of school is as hard on her as it is on him or her? She will take a photo for Instagram and caption, ‘There goes my heart, walking around like it’s no big deal,’ because they say having a child is like having your heart outside your body. Or so people with children have told her.
Chebet pees on a stick and imagines all that; just like she had the other four times she had peed on a stick.
She thinks of her husband’s face when they found out, the fourth time, they were having a child. She wants to tell him they are expecting just to see him break into that huge smile, a smile she hopes their baby inherits. She thinks better of it. Because she also remembers his face when he walked in the bathroom a few months later to find a bloody Chebet curled in the corner. She remembers his face when he found out they weren’t having a child after all, again.
She thinks of the conversation she overheard her mother-in-law having with her husband. “You should get a divorce, something is definitely wrong with her! She is cursed,” her mother-in-law had said. Chebet’s mother-in-law could be nice if she wanted. The problem is she never wanted to be nice, least of all to Chebet.
She holds the stick to her chest. Ideally, she should celebrate. She should jump up and down and tell everyone the news. Even her mother-in-law. The woman just wants a grandchild after all. She wants to hold a party and celebrate.
She doesn’t. She will wait a few more months. Instead, she will remain cautiously optimistic.