Contrary to what some people might think, I did not have the baby by accident. I had wanted the baby. It was not even as easy a â€œtaskâ€ as I thought it was. There came a point when I even thought that I, unlike other women whose fecundity can only be admired, did not have the ability to.
Still, when the lines turned violet, I was not prepared for the barrage of emotions that washed over me. I remember feeling so excited, so happy, so scared.. and so lost all at the same time and one after the other in quick succession that I could not help but feel confused. The first of a wave of totally new emotions that would overwhelm me in the succeeding months.
Before I had the baby, I was getting good grades in graduate school. I even made it as a University Scholar with a general weighted average of higher than 1.25 â€“ a thing I could only dream about and could never have done during my undergraduate as a Biology major. I dreamed about getting a doctorate in Media, Technology and Society at the Northwestern University in Illinois.
Before I had the baby, my marriage was rocky. It had been a very difficult journey from day one. Many a day and night were spent contemplating and even talking about how best to go about the marriage. Many a cup of coffee or even bottles of beers or even glasses of cocktails were downed talking about what went and is wrong and what to do.
Before I had the baby, all I ever wanted was to get away. I thought about coming back to live in the province, anywhere but the city where life the hustle and bustle of the city and the many people living in it seemed to confuse me, if not totally tear me up at the seams. I gave up commuting all together. I frequently went on out-of-city trips by myself, in search of myself, an inspiration, a thought, an experience that would help me make some sense of what is missing. I was adamant about finishing my masters in the shortest time possible so I could pursue a doctorate some place else, best if abroad. The motto was anywhere but here.
I went on therapy on and off for months at a time. Looking back, I am not ashamed to admit that I went on therapy and I do not regret a single bit of it. Yes, not even the taking of five different kinds of meds everyday and yes, not even the thousands spent. Those were not the best of times in my life. I moved from El Nido, away from a place whose beauty and rusticity and whose people I have grown to love, away from a job of teaching science to kids ages seven to ten that I thoroughly enjoyed, to move back to the city; to living alone in the condo, to teaching high school science and chemistry at an exclusive school for girls, to pursuing a masters in theatre arts – a field that has totally captured me and the most life-changing of it all (or so I thought at that time) to getting married. I was totally blown away in the whirlwind of change because my life was too much all too soon. A year later, I was still faltering and stumbling along. I taught theatre for a change, in the hopes of putting an end to my forever being torn between science and the arts. I had the misfortune of having a very disobliging boss who was biased in many ways and seemed to always set me up for failure. I failed my students; but most of all, I believed I failed myself. Failure never did become me. I got very lost and confused. Looking back, my husband says he never really believed there was something seriously wrong with me although he admits it was a very good experience to learn about ourselves. We learned a lot and in the end, I found an unlikely best friend in the doctor I started out hating and ended up loving.
The doctor who made sure I was making a good decision when I first announced I wanted a baby. The doctor who made sure I knew what I was doing and prepared me as much as he could for what I planned to do.
I had wanted the baby because I believed I was getting old. The best age for childbearing is still below thirty five years and I realized that if I took the doctorate, I would have to wait at least four years before I could have a child. I was not getting any younger and my husband was actually getting sadder. He said, â€œYes it’s good to have a career. It’s good to have dreams and chase after them. It’s good to be successful but what about a family? What about your family?â€ and then on to, â€œButi pa ang bakla may anak, ako wala,â€ and then finally to, â€œPh.D. or me?â€
I had wanted the baby because I did not know where my life was headed and I honestly did not know where to take it. I thought that if I had a child, I would at least know how the next nine months would be â€“ and I thought that was good enough for me.
Still, no one can really be prepared for having a child. I read a lot of books and talked to as many people as I could about it but when I got there, it was still just me and no one else but me.
Some days I cannot help but hate my baby. On the average, I probably hate my baby once a week, four times a month, because even if I am a mother, I am just human too. Some days I do not want to go home. Some days I want to drink and get drunk too and forget things that are painful, feel the way I used to, before I had the baby, before I got married, when I was still younger and cared not about what I did.
I am not perfect. The last thing I want to come off to others is that I am someone living an easy, rosy, perfect life. What I want and have been doing is to live this life as humanly as possible, flawed and imperfect but whole… and beautiful, even if only in hindsight.
I have been everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I have had my shares of joys and pains. I always tend to chase after dreams, after experiences, in my endless quest for that one thing that will make this life worth living. Even if that means going out of my comfort zone, even if that means hurting and being hurt, if it means learning, growing and making the most out of this life then it’s worth it. After all, who in this life comes out unscathed?
When people see me these days, they tend to say, I have not changed. When I go out, to a play, to a mall, to the university, to see my friends, I sometimes cannot help but say the same thing â€“ nothing has changed… oh, but I have.
Maybe I look the same but I do not think nor feel the same.
No more aimless wanderings. No more just hanging out, or hanging out with so-called friends. I make sure that every time I am out with other people or spending time on things, those are the people and things that are important, that truly matter and that are worth the every minute I spend away from baby for. When I had the baby, never has it been as clear to me what the important things in life or who the important people in my life are.
I had wanted the baby because I wanted to change. I wanted my life, me, something… to change. I still do not know where my life is headed but really, who among us can say he knows? I have changed and that in itself has been worth it.