I’ve had many babies in my lifetime. Way more babies than I care to count.
I know what you’re thinking. How many babies can a woman have? Where the heck has she been hiding them? When did she become a man? Haha! I know, I know. Hiding babies is male territory. But, there’s this crop of women that hides babies, just so society…judgy judgy society can be less harsh on them.
But here’s the thing about society – it judges.
You can be the most loving mother, best student, hardest worker, top-notch-whatever-role-you-hold-in-the-highest-esteem…society will still judge you. And judge you hard.
There was a time I gave a hoot. Lost sleep. Sobbed till my eyes hurt. Hid my babies. Abandoned them because of the million-dollar question “What will people think?”
Funny how ‘people’ were always some amorphous cloud in the sky. On my worst days, they’d shadow me like dark rain clouds. Never lifting a finger to help, just their pretentious eyebrows. Boy, would they bring the worst thunder claps with them!
On my good days, they’d be distant and airy – little balls of wool on my otherwise, clear blue sky. Never a kind word from this lot. Sometimes, a few empty whispers. But just when I’d step out unprepared; the slightest sign that I was slipping, their dark natures would suddenly appear. Lightning and all.
These were the people whose opinions I cared enough about, that I hid my babies in the darkest attics. With nothing but cobwebs and dust to keep them warm, my babies became hypothermic. With no food, but the tiniest crumbs I tossed their way, my babies emaciated and decimated. With no love, but the sneakiest of winks, my babies shriveled, their confidence evaporated.
Until there was almost nothing left.
In the dead of night, when no one was looking, I ‘d toss and turn for hours on end. I’d turn my back on the closet of their misery. I’d pretend not to hear their feeble voices calling out to me. I’d fake a snore and hope it muffled the sound of my sobs.
And when my nerves caved in to those feeble calls, I’d dry my tears with the back of my hands, creep silently to the closet and take a little peek.
“You have to stop this!” I’d chastise “There’s just no room for you in this world.”
My babies would stare back forlornly, and I’d walk away, convinced that they’d been silenced, for good this time. But in windowless dreams, my babies sneaked in, somehow. And I’d wake, discontented and restless. But in the light of day, the amorphous clouds were always watching, always judging. And so I watered only the flowers that would please them.
Time went. And I began to love the flowers they loved. Well…I loved them only as much as you could a flower that gives you a bad rash or looks awful in your hair. But the clouds only laughed. Laughed harder, in fact, when I swelled up with failure.
I might have gone on like this, until one day, out of sheer frustration, I flung my empty hands in the air and screamed
“Nothing could ever please you!”
And that, was my eureka moment.
Nothing, could ever please this lot. So why the heck was I breaking my back?
I opened my closet. Found some of my babies, long dead – overtaken by time. Some alive, barely. I took them out to the sun and fed them.
Neglect had taken its toll. But every day, my babies grow stronger. Every day, I find that the pleasure of their company, far outweighs the misery that judgy society rains upon me.
My babies live, not for the clouds. My babies, simply live.
Conceived in my mind;
And left for naught for far too long;
My babies teeter with uncertainty –
Every step, a little steadier –
Making rhythm of the thunder claps
And in this expanse of freedom,
My babies begin to frolic in the sun,
And so do I.