Patience is a virtue, a precious gem. Those who wait upon The Lord shall renew their strength like the eagles. They shall run but never get weary for The Lord will carry them on His wings.
I didn’t know why Ben couldn’t afford to be nice to me or pretend to. It couldn’t have costed him anything at all. Was this the emotional support he talked about or it was nerve wreckage? If there was a time I needed a shoulder to lean on and a hand to hold me through the storm was this pregnancy trying time. Pregnancy is a matter of life and death and need to be treated with uttermost caution. You can never predict what will happen after those nine excruciating months but you keep hoping and trusting God to give you the privilege of holding your bundle of joy when all is said and done. The mistake I was making and most girls still make was to cling to the tattered threads of hope that the baby daddy will come back. We wait and wait and when we realize that it won’t happen, it’s already too late the world has gone by without us.
The day before I went into labor Ben called me. After the last incident he threw vulgar into my face, I stayed clear of his way. It was bad for my blood pressure and I didn’t want to put my life and that of my baby in dangers of complications. That day my blood pressure shot to the roof and had to be rushed to the hospital. I could take so much but I am human and bound to break. He asked how I was doing and I replied that I was so tired and felt like I was carrying a 50kg bag of maize in my tummy. He said “umayesa mimba ndi masewera eti” (you thought pregnancy is an easy thing). Seriously I don’t know if he meant that as a joke but it shot spikes in my heart. Was he happy that I had a problem? Every day I thanked God that I carried my pregnancy with no complications. There was no single day that I had to say I was seriously sick apart from the high blood pressure which he was the cause. I hung up on him. Its either he learnt to talk to me in a sweet way or quit calling me. That night I didn’t sleep well. I kept tossing from side to side, the discomfort was taking a toll on me and I knew it was just a matter of time before something happened.
When morning came, I had an exceptional strength which saw me washing all my dirty clothes and beddings. I didn’t want to bring my baby into a dirty world. I didn’t go to the salon, I went to the market and prepared lunch for the whole family and proceeded to clean the rest of the house until Norah’s mum told me to take it easy. The discomfort heightened by the hour and no pain yet just some minimal contractions. When evening came, I couldn’t take it anymore I was scared that things might worsen in the middle of the night and there might be no car to take me to the hospital. I told Norah’s mum that I wasn’t feeling well and she panicked and fussed over me. I was so calm maybe because I didn’t know what to expect but knew that the proverbial pain was likely to kick in any time soon and didn’t know how long it was going to last.
I had the longest night of my life. The pain peaked at every passing hour yet I didn’t shed a single tear. I couldn’t sit or sleep so I resorted to walk around the hospital with random breaks where I went to the doctor’s office to see how I was coping. It was a public hospital and so overcrowded that the waiting room had no beds, women slept on the floor and only the entrance had space. Ben had all the money and he could have afforded to pay the bills at a proper maternity hospital but he just couldn’t. At 5cm dawn had cracked and I couldn’t walk properly, I had to drag myself to the labor ward. I felt so hungry and guzzled down 2 cups of porridge in a few gulps. I prayed throughout and asked God to forgive me for committing adultery and maybe that was the reason I was being punished with the unimaginable pain, the pain of a lifetime. I felt like it was going to last for eternity but at 8:00 am on that rainy morning, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and the pain went away as relief washed over me like the rain on a sunny and scorching day. If you give birth, it’s when you realize what your mother passed through to have you and start loving and appreciating her more. I don’t know how those brave women did it back in the days and encountered the labour pain a dozen times unlike now when we think twice before giving birth to more than two kids. I salute you mothers sure. I have never felt such love like I did for this little cute thing. It was a mystery I would never solve; she was my flesh and had nestled inside my womb until she was a complete human. I couldn’t believe that she was mine to love and adore, she was too perfect a gift to grace my miserable life. I felt the zeal to live life to the fullest, filling up my b0s0m and all the feeling of meaninglessness vanished into thin air. She gave out a loud cry and I patted her back lovingly as the nurse cut the umbilical cord. It was so magical that I kept on shouting my praises to God who had seen me through.
I could see a remarkable remembrance of Ben in her. Her face outline and features like the nose and eyes but it was evident that she had my complexion thank God. As I put her on my breast to sU-Ckle, I felt a tinge of pain and a funny tickle all the same on my nipples but was told it will get better with time. As I watched her peacefully asleep in my arms she was the most beautiful tiny thing I had ever came across in my whole life. Oh boy! Was I ready to be a mum? I wondered now that she was finally here. I was so tired and hungry and felt like I had a gully down there. So I ate food for two and fall into a deep slumber like that of the dead and woke up eight hours later. Ben called and congratulated me; he had been calling continuously while I was in labour writhing with pain. I couldn’t depict if he was happy or sad because the way he talked, it was like he was talking about somebody else’s baby not his own. Maybe I wasn’t the only one still in denial.
The following days were followed by visitors flooding the house with numerous gifts, I felt like I was part of the family and completely at home. My parents didn’t know that they were grandparents but I would cross that bridge when I reach it. After two weeks without a name, Ben called and named her Amanda Chikondi Mbewe. To me it didn’t make sense. I felt the middle name Chikondi which meant love was misplaced. Love really? When he had dragged me to hell and back, what was loving about the way he had treated me? Still more he didn’t come but called at least once every week until three solid months after he convinced himself that he was finally a father, he made an unannounced visit.
It felt so awkward as he picked Amanda up and looked at her like a mirror. He turned her head to see her ears, eyes and nose and the little miss didn’t like it, she gave out a loud howl that made my heart jump and I thought he had pinched her. He handed her to me and immediately she kept quite. There was a lot that needed money but Ben could hear not of it. If I asked for ten thousand he gave me half the amount. Am sure he thought I was lying and I resorted to write a list of the things I needed and told him to buy and bring them to avoid any foul play. He seemed to be communicating with somebody and gave that person the exact geographical location to the house. He excused himself to go outside to meet that person, I followed him.