Stories about pregnancy

Ladies, don’t opt for abortions!

Florynce R Kennedy once said, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would have been a sacrament.” My maid refuses to take any birth control measures because her husband considers them to be a ‘yahoodi saazish’ (Jewish conspiracy) to sterilise the ‘flourishing’ Pakistani nation – just like the superstitions concerning polio drops. However, she doesn’t mind going to the local dai to get an abortion – illegally of course. When I admonish her and tell her that she will get herself killed, she replies, “Baji aap ko kia pata… woh bari tajrabakar hai. Bohat aurtain aati hain us ke paas aur bus kuch ke ilawah kabhi koi mari nahi hai.” (Ma’am ...

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10 ridiculous reasons for which I was ‘un-friended’ and blocked on Facebook

I am probably one of the very first people after Mark Zuckerberg to have joined this most readily available medium of connecting with old friends, existing colleagues and future soul mates; yes, I am talking about Facebook. Like every bald-headed, pot-bellied film director who does not even have the contacts to arrange the appropriate number of extras to dance behind a newbie actress in his never-to-hit-top-charts upcoming movie, but still insists that he is the mentor behind the success of every highest-paid star, I also take this privilege of being that one friend-in-need who invited nearly every close pal to this medium. If ...

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Pregnant and tired? Don’t induce labour till you read this!

The minute I began showing with my first child, I was subject to horror stories about labour. I don’t know why, but there is something about a swelling belly that triggers an impulse in every woman to share crazy, sometimes obscene and often exceedingly horrific labour stories. I still remember going out for lunch with friends and leaving my meal untouched, as ugly tales involving forceps and vacuums unfolded. At my baby shower, the hottest topic of discussion was lengthy labour, and although I later encountered opposition to the epidural, some friends at the shower made it seem as if the pain-killing injection ...

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Pir Sahab’s orders: Don’t breast-feed your child or eat meat

Recently, a two-month old boy, Faizan, was brought to the hospital where I work, by his grandmother. She complained that he suffered from severe diarrhoea. I immediately asked her to bring Faizan’s mother so that we could establish breast-feed for the baby. We are currently in the process of educating mothers about the importance of breast-feeding at our malnutrition stabilization centre, and are trying to help them establish or re-establish breast feeding. In reply to my request, she answered, “Who tou nahi ayegi kyunke uska perhaiz hai.” (She won’t come because she is on abstinence.) Seeing my perplexed expression, she told me ...

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What I did not expect when I was expecting

From the initial joy to the various apprehensions; the journey to the operation room to even afterwards, I was quite prepared for everything. ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ had been my constant companion during my pregnancy period. If not that, Google had an answer to any of the queries that ever came to my mind. However, I wish they had also imparted some advice regarding what to expect with your social circle, and more importantly how to deal with it. Moms to be, here’s what you should be prepared to deal with in the near future. The unwanted, uncalled for advice This ...

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Why do some mothers want to hurt their newborns?

New motherhood is no picnic. The indignity of childbirth, stitches in unmentionable places, the physical marathon of labour, the month-long bleeding and more. It doesn’t matter how easy your pregnancy was or how much you wanted a baby, the reality of motherhood usually comes as a bit of a shock. It’s impossible to overstate the major lack of sleep and the sheer exhaustion of looking after a newborn. Struggling to feed a newborn every two hours, cleaning sticky newborn poop and worrying as they inevitably get jaundice is all part and parcel of the deal. Add major hormone fluctuations as your body ...

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You and your cursed tongue

“Rashid, nooooo! Stop! For the love of the Almighty, stop!” My incessant pleas fell on deaf ears. By now my voice had transformed from a high-pitched wail to a dry, hoarse moan, stuck deep in my throat. I watched helplessly as he picked up that shovel, desperately trying to free myself of the fetters. I could see his thick-shouldered frame shifting laboriously from the mound of earth to the deep grave-like trench dug in the ground. “I told you, your tongue was cursed!” He grumbled, his voice dripping with frustration. I had to do something, but what? I tried to wrestle my way out ...

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Breastfeeding: Taboo or must-do?

“Sorry, what?” I asked, absolutely shocked. “Yes, madam, my doctor told me that my breast milk is poisonous and not suitable for the baby, and that is the reason she is sick all the time. I even got my milk tested as per my doctor’s instructions and it was indeed poisonous,” said the mother of a six-month-old, shrunken-eyed Maryam. The child was diagnosed as a classic case of third degree malnutrition and marasmus. I was taken by surprise. I had never ever heard of a healthy, physically fit woman like her producing poisonous milk; needless to say, I was extremely curious to ...

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I killed my unborn baby because I have too many

She had no remorse on her face as she sat in front of me sharing the story of her third induced abortion she had gotten done a few weeks earlier.  “I already have five children. I am working for your mother in Karachi. My family is in a village near Rajanpur. Who’d look after the baby?” said Sughra, my mother’s maid, when I asked her why she kept having abortions. “In my village, it’s a done thing baji. Every woman gets it done. All married women. The daai (midwife) takes Rs 300. She uses dawaai (medicines) or any sharp instrument. I nearly died in the second one, ...

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My little baby doll

The huge grandfather clock before me keeps ticking away. It is quarter after five; we’ve been waiting for almost half an hour. When will Dr Hussain, my gynaecologist, call us in? I absolutely hate waiting in clinics. Ever since I was a child, I’ve never liked clinics; there is always a peculiar smell…the stench of disease. Even the gynaecologist’s clinic isn’t any better. The dull coloured walls with cracks running through them, the unsmiling stern looking nurse who reminds me of the Hulk, the plastic flowers on the centre table, the old issues of Cosmo, Home and Garden, Motherhood ...

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