How terrible is wisdom when there is nothing you can gain from it? As you get older you tend to believe that you know a lot of things and can handle any situation that comes your way. In fact it is encouraged that you have all the answers as an adult especially to guide the young. Then comes the second part, as a doctor my job was to help people and impart medical advice to them. This was in any circumstance mind you yet here I was and so stuck at that. There were just so many things wrong with this picture. Firstly, teenage pregnancy is something I am so against because I know how much it can damage a girl’s life. Secondly there is nothing more traumatic than getting pregnant from rape. It is as the gods are laughing at you for you assault. Imagine we grow up being told that baby is a gift from God but what about a child that is as a result of rape. Is that still a gift? Is this God’s doing too? Thirdly, I had only one thought in mind and that is she must abort this child. Now that brings new consequences. If a rape baby is not a gift, as I suspect it is not, what about abortion? It is not easy to live with yourself after you have an abortion. I was thinking of my daughter in all this because if she aborted so soon after being raped would she not convince herself that she had murdered her own child.
“Mommy what’s wrong?”
She asked me still holding up the pregnancy test to my face. The two lines were bright red in my face. They were like a scarlet that bore witness to her shame. She was just a baby, my baby and now she was about to have a baby. How can life be this cruel though? Why my daughter?
“Go throw that thing away please!”
I said but my voice was cracking already.
“Mommy am I pregnant?”
She asked me. There was no hiding it because my tears were already wetting my clothes. I nodded my head as my affirmation.
“No mom no! Why is this happening to me? I did all the things that go with the rape kit.”
She cried and she came to hug me. If I was a praying person this is the part where I would be questioning my faith and asking God why he had forgotten me.
“I know you did baby, I know you did!”
I told her holding her closely to me.
“I just want to die. I just want to die!”
She cried out loud. I heard heavy footsteps run up the stairs towards the bedroom.
“What’s wrong? What is all this commotion?”
My husband said bursting into the room. She was crying that loud. It was as though someone had died and as far as I was concerned, she had. They had killed her and many parts of her because of their evil and lust.
“They hurt me daddy… They took my clothes off and they hurt me….”
“Now I am pregnant… what must I do, I am pregnant… Why daddy why?”
She cried out to him. This was the first time she was confessing to him what had happened to her. Yes he already knew because of me but I think hearing from her was like hearing it from the first time.
“O baby no!”
He said and he came over to try and hold her but she shrug and pushed him away. She did not want him to touch her. She sat on the floor and crumbled into a ball shape and sobbed.
“I feel so dirty…. I am so dirty… I just want to die…”
She continued. He was crying too now. When you are powerless to help someone you love it’s not an easy thing to do to stand back and do nothing. He was in pain too now and the three of us where in tears.
I had forgotten Sibongile was in the house. She came and stood at the door and asked if everything was ok. You see why I don’t like visitors. Now was not the time to have someone in the house because we needed to be alone as a family. We needed a way to deal with this privately without someone to judge us.
“No dear everything is fine!”
I told her between my tears. It was actually a stupid response but that was supposed to be a hint for her to go away but no, the girl actually walked into the room.
“Maybe I can help!”
She said. Really? Some people do not understand the concept of a hint.
“Sibongile, now is not the time. Please go to your room or downstairs we have something to discuss!”
Sizwe finally said when he realised that she was not going anywhere. She walked out of the room sulking I think but I was not here to nurse her ego. When she was gone I found my voice again.
“Ok this has happened we need to think of something as to how do we move forward from here!”
When does one suggest termination? I wanted two things to happen, for her to terminate and for her to go into therapy. Those are the two things I wanted. As far as I was concerned I think this had gone a bit far now, she needed to talk to someone. I blamed myself for not having have double checked after they did the rape kit. It was difficult though to have double checked as she had practically shut down after that. She seemed to avoid the subject totally and a part of me had wanted her to do that. Now I know that it was a bad idea as if you do not confront your demons you do not heal. I too was not healing. I needed to speak to someone. I know it’s not about me but I could not get around what had happened to her.
“We need to go to the hospital and do a proper pregnancy test. This would determine how far along you are as well as inform decisions to come!”
I said putting my thinking cap on. This is what should have happened when we came back but with Lintle it was always hard to get around her. She was not an easy person to convince or motivate that’s for sure.
“I don’t want to go to the hospital. It was in a hospital that they fucked me over mum why would I want to go back?”
Good question but wrong solution. She needed a doctor and she needed this to happen.
“Lintle come on now my dear. The only way we can move forward is if we start with this. I need you to get a full medical check-up otherwise we just throwing buckets of water into the ocean here. You also need to go into therapy! That was is important. Allow us to be parents please and stop fighting everything we put at your feet because it benefits no one!”
I said a little annoyed at her for being so stubborn. It’s funny when I think if it but that stubbornness she took from me. It was like I was dealing with myself.
“So what happens if we go there and they confirm the obvious? I walk in there and they say your daughter is pregnant? What happens next?”
She asked me the question I think my husband and I had already been thinking. At least we had not brought it up on our own, she had. Now all we had to do was try ride the wave to its inevitable conclusion. My husband and I looked at each other I think daring the other to speak first.
“Your mother is the doctor; she will give you the best advice here!”
My husband said which was probably the right call. As a man to suggest it to his daughter would be tantamount to crossing a line of no return. It had to be me on this one. I opened my mouth to speak but the words would not come out. She was my daughter and I loved her but how do you say this to a fifteen year old and actually not go mad.
“Mum you not saying anything!”
Lintle asked when she saw that I was not producing any words.
“I think we need to terminate the baby! Sizwe what do you think?”
I said when I finally came to my senses. Crying was not going to solve the problem we had right now though. I needed Sizwe to confirm that this was what he had been thinking too and immediately he did.
“Yes I think your mother is right. You don’t want to have a baby right now especially one you will possibly hate in future because it will always be a reminder!”
My husband. That was not helping because he was reminding her of her pain. We needed to be positive and show strength for her.
“Why are you the ones that have to decide that for me? Shouldn’t I make this decision for myself?”
She asked. Again I was not sure what this child wanted. I know she had rights but this should be where the adults have to make decisions.
“We not trying to make decisions for you but you need help in this decision. It’s bigger than you. If you want a baby, so be it, but believe me it’s the hardest thing imaginable! Your father is right!”
I emphasized that part. For a moment there I thought I was winning until she stood up. You never know what teenagers think until they actually open their mouths and usually it is just a waste of words as they don’t think.
“I am not going to abort. It’s my baby. I am keeping it.”
She stood up and walked away coldly.
She had made up her mind.
“What are we going to do about this?”
I asked my husband.
“I don’t know. We can’t force her but we have to convince her somehow!”
He stood up and I heard him drive away. Typical man, run away the moment there is a problem. I decided that today I was going to sleep with my daughter. This was important. I needed to remind her that everything was ok. When I got to her room she was still crying. She did not stop me however when I came and lay next to her. She cried herself to sleep and I don’t remember when but eventually I slept too. In the morning Lintle woke me up. She was already dressed for school and was cheerful as though nothing was going on.
“I thought you were going to stay in”
I asked when I had rubbed the cobwebs out of my eyes.
“Why mum? It’s a school day. I am fine. Don’t worry about me. I am fine!”
She said. Was she in denial that this was really happening? I needed her focused on the reality in front of us.
“Go to work mum. You are late as is. I will be fine. We will discuss this tonight!”
She said and she walked out just like that. Was I the only one who was taking this seriously? Sizwe was not in bed either and by the looks of it the bed had not been slept in either. We all deal with problems differently but one thing I was certain of that morning when I got ready for work was this, I had failed as a mother!
Mike Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Hi Mike and your wonderful readers I’m a fan of all your books I need advice my dear family.
I have been with my traditional husband (I say traditional cause he only paid lobola)for 10 years now we have an 8 year old daughter for the past 10 years it’s been a roller coaster ride being physically, emotionally and sexually abused by someone who promised to love me forever. He changed 6years ago he got a job that made him travel a lot everywhere cross border. He would be based in a different town for 3months and he would get a girlfriend there, start acting all funny by not answering my calls, not sending money home and after the fling was over he would be the most apologetic person. Because I love him I would forgive and move on. He got really sick early this year and I nursed him back to health he is now better n went back to his job he promised to mend his ways. I really believed he had changed but for the past few weeks he went to Cape Town as is required by his job and has been acting up on me not picking up calls again. He went back to his old ways after everything we’ve been through I was a fool to have thought he would change and my little daughter doesn’t understand why her father ignores her. I’m heartbroken and so disappointed as I write this essay but I know my redeemer liveth he will not forsake me through this pain. I have made up my mind I’m closing this chapter for good as hard n painful as it is I’ve stayed in an abusive marriage for 7years I think it’s time to wipe of my tears n move on its so very hard to pick up the pieces but I know with God by my side I will conquer. Am I doing the right thing?
In pain and seeking prayers