I don’t have a name. If I could choose, it would be Aroha, for love. Do you feel this love, or is it lost in the morning sickness that wracks your body and ruins your day?
My strength genetically reflects you, dear warrior mother, yet my very existence depends completely on your mercy. Consider carefully this universal truth; the virtues of the mother shall live in the child, blessed and worth preserving. Before you knew of my existence, your ever-present belly-laugh warmed my emerging soul, but there is no laughter now. I was created by one free-styling sperm finding a tiny hole in the condom; the most important race of my life won, with no regrets.
I heard your doctor call me a foetus, like I’m a thing that can be discarded to landfill. She says you have six weeks to make a decision about me. She does not feel my aroha.
Five weeks to decision day –
Nestled in your body, I hear your tears, and feel your pain. You have hopes and dreams, as do I. The future teases with images of adventures and riches. I have come at the wrong time for you, but this was the only time I could come, don’t you see? If it wasn’t now, then it would be never. I am unique, a one off, created by that sperm igniting a particular egg. You could choose to defer parenthood, but honestly, I am perfect, irreplaceable. You need to trust me on this. Think of me as your little surprise. Don’t you love surprises? Any future baby might obediently come at the right time, but he wouldn’t be me.
It’s not my responsibility, nor yours, that the condom was faulty, but we must live, or in my case possibly die, with the consequences. Millions of women have had abortions, and it was the right option for them, but please don’t assume that it’s the best decision for us. Encompass aroha.
Four weeks until D-day
Am I driven like you, destined for greatness, or more like my Dad, who you call a dreamer? Do my innate talents extend to soccer, ballet, or perhaps skittles? Will I be a child of the future, or happy to recline in the past? Perhaps it is me who will ensure your security in old age, after winning a Nobel Prize in recognition of finding a cure for the common cold. Can I look forward to exploring oceans, landing on Mars, or climbing mountains? Is there a place for me in a world of climate change and homelessness? Maybe I have autism, ready to bring joy in my happiness, pain in my frustration. Will I be the leader of the pack, like before, or a quiet hermit, happy in my own space, as I am now?
Your career goal is almost within reach, just peeping over the horizon, after years of hard labour. It would be tragic to have it all snatched away through bad timing. I’m sure we can work something out. You need to achieve your dreams; I hope you enable me to meet mine. Could I be an engineer, guide, or conservationist? An artist like you, (yes, I’ve seen your secret studio) or maybe a bookworm like Dad, or both?
Whatever I become, think of me as aroha.
Three weeks until D-day
You were having fun when you made me. I am not the result of some monstrous act, nor will my very existence kill you. If either of those were the truth, I could not ask anything of you. I am sorry to have come at the wrong time. Now that I am here, is there a win-win solution, rather than this abortion you speak of?
Dear mother, I understand, but I beg of you; having given me life accidentally, please deliberately let me live. I know you love my Dad; it’s in your voice. Does he love you? How do I fit into his dreams? Please don’t fight over my future, but find a path to make your decision together; two mighty powers united. I love you both.
You don’t celebrate my existence; are you ashamed? I am overjoyed to exist. Don’t treat me like a dirty little secret. You and Dad live together as a couple, though it beats me why you keep having sex; now that I’ve turned up, such stuff seems a bit pointless really.
I would be the eldest, your practise child; my siblings will have an easier time of it. I am strong, but don’t expect me to cover for them, or they will lack resilience. Forgive me when I push them off their bikes, or trick them into eating something disgusting; it’s part of my job. Even though we may fight, to the outside world we shall present as a team, united and strong. I will be the first to race away from you to school, the first to leave home, but maybe not the first to give you grandchildren. I’ve seen the pain of becoming pregnant too soon.
By the way, please stop drinking coffee. The caffeinated hyper-jumping that results is exhausting in this tight space. While we’re on the subject, I’m not keen on that processed sugar either. Fresh apples are so much better, and, to be honest, a good steak never goes amiss.
As I grow, your skin will extend and pull. My life-force will drain yours, causing exhaustion. You dread the dismissal of the bikini, and the endless comments about stretch marks and pelvic thrusts. Style will disappear into a world of baggy clothes, and shoes with sensible heels. At least you can get advice; I grow automatically, through DNA and instinct, with no-one to consult.
You have much to learn, about birth, child-care, car-seat prices, or maybe about the process for adoption. Not wanting to make this a competition, but I’d suggest that I have more to learn; how to smile, laugh, read, play, eat. Who will be there to help me?
I need love, nourishment, and a home. Can you make that happen for me? If its not you, then don’t feel guilt. I would rather you be happy, dear mother. Gift my life to the love of someone who will treasure and nurture me. I am sure you and I have bonds strong enough to survive physical separation, and we will find each other when the time is right. I look forward to that day. You and me, aroha.
Two weeks to D-day:
My hair will be black, like Dad’s, but I will have your eyes, that see the inner soul of those you love. My ears will be too big, like Grandpa’s. Connections are made through such things.
I have plans for you and I. Forgive me if I only sleep, burp, fart, poo and drink for the first few weeks. Apparently this birthing business is exhausting. But later on, watch out, dear mother! I want to know everything about your world; how it feels, sounds and tastes. I will explore with my eyes, and fingers. Stuff will be pulled in, out, up, down, and mixed together into a joyous thing you call a mess. I will try on your shoes, copy your words (especially the bad ones) and give you endearing smiles. You will make me grumpy with your silly rules and expectations. My life will be far too busy for chores or bed times.
Are you afraid of me? Afraid of being responsible 24/7 for a wee being that comes with no instruction manual? Maybe you are terrified that your intelligence will be swept away by the mythical baby-brain; how motherhood might reduce you to someone of no consequence. In my world you will be everything, and I shall champion your cause with love, aroha, bringing unimaginable blessings.
New parents on the same path await your friendship, though their babies won’t be as perfect as me, of course. Dad will meet other dads. We’ll discover swings, the best playgrounds, and which beach puts the most sand in our picnics; so much adventure beckoning us.
You may call me Aroha.
One week to D-day:
You wanted a nice house, the experience of worldwide travel, and to marry Dad, before I arrived. Are those things more important than me? There’s no headstone that mentions a nice house, or travel, but there are heaps that say ‘wonderful mother.’ As for the marriage thing, lets face it, you can get married real quick if you feel the need, but I’d rather you waited so that I can be the cute kid who steals the limelight, and the minister’s pen.
I’ve settled in now; I trust you not to ruin my day, nor destroy my life. Please call me Aroha.
I never had a name; it could have been Aroha.