Muneera Jamal

Muneera Jamal

A dentist-in-making who is a writer by passion.Her work revolves around struggles of women who are sacrificed to satiate the demands of the society.
Muneera Jamal

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“Please do not tell Sumayya about it as yet.” I overheard my sister-in-law talking to my mother-in-law.

I froze in the hallway, the teacups trembling in my hands as I tried to fight back the sudden wave of panic that had started setting in. I had been fighting anxiety ever since I got diagnosed with primary infertility.

“What am I not supposed to know?” I tried my best to keep my tone casual.

“Neha is expecting and she wanted it to be a surprise for you.” My mother-in-law retorted, trying in vain to lighten the atmosphere. Her words hung midair, drab and dark.

“Congratulations, Neha!” I got up and hugged her.

I knew if I stayed another second, I wouldn’t be able to hold back the tears that had formed a knot in my throat. I excused myself and dashed to my room, closing the door behind me. I threw myself on the bed and dry sobs wracked my body, but I successfully stifled them with a pillow.

It was nothing new. Another baby, Neha’s third was on the front and I was still waiting for the stork’s sharp rap on my door. I had been trying without luck for over four years now and with the onset of each menstrual cycle, my heart shattered into a million little pieces and I often wondered if it actually was my heart and not my womb. It all had started with the diagnosis of primary infertility and now chronic clinical depression and anxiety compounded it. It is like living on thin ice; you never know when the fragile sheet would give away and you will be engulfed by cold stabbing water.

I try to convince myself that motherhood is not meant for me, but the hope never dies; I earnestly wish for it to wither and die but it is rekindled with every episode of ovulation. I am a stronger person now; I do not break down in public any more. I have befriended my pillow for good.

I certainly do not get jealous of women popping out babies after babies but the way people look at me makes me wish for an invisibility cloak. The sympathy in their eyes pierces my soul and I do not need their sympathy; empathy, I can do with. I do not blame them for not being able to empathize with me; they are not the ones who get shunned from baby showers and rasams of goud bharai. People feel I will jinx their pregnancies and I am usually the last one to know about the khushkhabri.

Another cannonball was fired my way and I took it with grace; at least I hope I did. With time you tend to develop immunity to all noxious stimuli and I am definitely getting there.