To the one who made me brave enough,
It was all very sudden. One day when I woke up as usual with the ringing alarm, the universe didn’t give me any signs that I would meet you. I think no woman is ever prepared for pregnancy. When I finally received the news after days of curious consulting from doctors and experiencing unforeseen illnesses, I froze. My eyes were burning as I clenched them and my fingers were clutching the sides of my sofa. The sob that left my mouth turned into a chuckle and two seconds later I was doing something that couldn’t be called sobbing or laughing. I thought I understood what tears of happiness mean but you surprised me yet again.
But today I am not writing this letter just to show my love or happiness, but also my fears and my mistakes. Thoughts and words still haunt me.
Five months in and my baby bump was growing, I could feel you every time I moved and each movement of yours reminded me of my joy. But then I received the call that terrified me to my core. It’s funny how when you imagine your future, you never consider any disruptions even though you know they exist and have a chance of coming in your way. Ignorance is bliss they say and I think our mind is very adapted to that fact now. Down Syndrome was something I heard of only in movies and read in articles. They would make me sad and distraught for some time and then the uneasiness would slowly drift away. But that day, I was faced with the reality of it all. My first reaction was to scream. I screamed and screamed until the living room was just filled with the noises of my wails. Many hands reached me to support my head and help me sit and ask me what’s wrong but I only cried. The next day when I woke up and saw myself in the mirror, my eyes were puffy from crying myself to sleep. I blamed myself. Where did I go wrong?
I had done everything. I scrolled sites and read blogs and ate well. I Took advice from my mother and then her mother. But nothing had prepared me for this. So where did I go wrong?
What was I getting “punished” for? Punished not with you my darling but with this decision. I started being silly with myself. Was it the small chocolate I stole from the freezer that night?
Was it when I kept myself up to read a very long book on the sofa? Is that why this is happening?
I knew that the blaming game couldn’t go any longer as I had to face my crossroads. What I had thought that day and what I could have almost done is what torments me to this date.
I thought about how you might blame me once you got older, how you would hate yourself when you see others go ahead, how your frustrations would get the best of you and I couldn’t bear that. So that day I went to the doctors, my mind was made up. My whole body was functioning but my mind was blank. That day I was going to lose you and be responsible for it and I would never ever want to be in that situation again. I think the doctor knew from the look on my face. She asked me to sit aside and we talked. And then I saw you, just a little thing, barely the size of a watermelon and I couldn’t do it. I was denying you the chance to live just because I thought it would become difficult for me. I knew that in the future when you are frustrated, I will be there to help you. To make you happy and love your life. Love yourself. Just like I did at that moment.
The day I first saw you after my delivery is as clear as glass for me. You had big, beady, brown eyes that you showed me for a second after which they were squinting shut as your cries filled the room. I think that’s the only time I was happy to see you cry. At that instance, when my mind was dizzy from the pain and I was about to collapse, I thanked God. I thanked God for you. I thanked him for preventing me from making a decision I know I wouldn’t be able to live with. But most importantly, I thanked you because I knew then you were my everything. Everything I needed, you gave it to me.
As I am writing this letter, I see you playing in the backyard with that ridiculous neon orange ball you love so much and you are the most adorable 10-year-old ever. I am writing this to tell you, I am so proud of you and I am sorry that I ever thought of denying you this. This ongoing journey is rough, unsteady, and even unpredictable but it’s worth it. You are worth it. You make me laugh, you make me angry, you make me cry, you make me happy and you make me brave. I hope I get brave enough to send you this letter.
I love you.
Sejal Agarwal is a young dreamer in high school who finds relief in fiction. Books are her form of meditation. From mythology to escapist fiction, her love for the emotions that lie in words stands strong.