TOO MUCH TOO SOON

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Bottomline: I had robbed my only sister in law the chance of being a mother to her own child. This was her miracle baby yet I took it away from her. I had ruined a relationship, a family, a blessing name it.

Her adorably framed pictures hang peacefully around their living room bringing life into the room. Capturing her happy memories individually. She’s bubbly, today is her birthday.

The family is celebrating ;her memorial instead. Sadness written all over their faces, her physical absence is tangible. A life not lived had already been taken. I took it. This is about a couple that lost their first child, an tragedy presenting a litmus test in their relationship.

Does love always prevail?

I was excited going back home no longer a primary school pupil. I had just completed my class 8 national exam amongst other things I yearned for was to welcome the newest member of our family, their first child.

My step brother and his fiance got engaged a year ago but it turns out she had issues with her reproductive health. She couldn’t sire children earlier. It was tough for her, for all of us.

She wanted a complete family. After comprehensive consultations, the doctors told her what she always wanted to hear. She was happy. We all were. Her whole nine-month journey was smooth without any complications as she followed every instruction to the dead end.

I had been at their place for nearly 5 weeks, the baby was about 9 months. Spending the better part of the day sitting next to her, playing or just watching her sleep.

Everything went well. Traditions will always be there to be followed. Culture it dictates, elders must come for the presentation of the child. A whole day ceremony that everyone had to be everywhere on toes to ensure nothing goes wrong. Last week we had a dry run for the ceremony.

Relatives began streaming at their home early. All children were directed to one of the bedrooms to play. Being an ‘adult’ among children I was bestowed with the role of looking after them.

The game involved jumping on the mattress bouncing on the bed and then falling down. I had the baby, I made her jump gently as I laid her down. Everything was fine until I decided to use the washroom and left the baby in her cot.

Suddenly, screams. Silence. Gasps. Everyone ran to the bedroom to check what was going on. For nearly 10 seconds, we all watched silently, our mouths agape as the red stain formed on her pink beddings. She was bleeding, heavily. People looked at each other in shock the kids were shivering in fear others crying running to their respective parents to take cover.

One of the uncles quickly grabbed her, rushing into one of the vehicles in the compound speeding off hospital. She was pronounced dead on arrival. My sister in law was shell shocked,not uttering a word fainting before the car even left the compound, she too was taken to hospital.

Everyone turned to me not uttering a word their eyes and faces did the talking ‘what did I do?’ they seemed to ask. I only had one job of which I failed. I couldn’t even justify myself because I was left to watch them yet I literally left them alone an unforgivable sin for an unforgivable person it seems. I hadn’t gone for even five minutes, five minutes can be a long time. It was just a short call…

While I was away, the other children took her from her cot and decided to go on with the game. When they fell on the bed, she was thrown off the mattress hitting the floor head first.

I had robbed my only sister in law the chance of being a mother to her own child. This was her miracle baby yet I took it away from her. I had ruined a relationship, a family, a blessing name it.

My sister in law went into a 9 month coma the loss of her daughter devastated her deeply. Their life was not the same again as she couldn’t bear children anymore. Their only option was adoption. My brother tried being strong for her. Even though it was clear he too was suffering in silence.

He was always by her side. It was necessary. I couldn’t live with it always having nightmares. I find solace putting it down on paper. It helps me get things off my chest. It is my story and it’s finally time I tell it so that I too may have a closure…

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