Sunday, June 10, 2018

Second Chance

Flashback, November 2016: I fought back tears as the doctor told me that the 11-week-child I was carrying in my womb had died. She feared the onset of sepsis and said I needed to get an emergency surgery. I told her there was a wedding in our family in a week's time. Could I wait? No! I sat in the car and sobbed. I apologised to my husband. He said it wasn't my fault. In less than half hour I had to lecture students at MSU. He told me he'd call up the dean and cancel it. I told him not to. We went home and I broke to news to my mother-in-law and then ran out to the car. My husband dropped me at the university. I climbed the stairs, broken. Thankfully, there was no one in the staff room so I sat there staring at the wall processing what had just happened. The dean walked in an apologised for taking longer than her allotted time. She said she'd given the students a 10-minute break. I didn't mind. I summed up all my strength and entered the classroom. I have never been bothered about the students' attendance because I teach only those who want to know and this time I was really glad that only half the senior masters' class had turned up after the break. I started haltingly, hoping I wouldn't break down mid-sentence. We discussed how videos turn viral and I gave the students a home assignment. Some of them wanted to linger and have a conversation after class. I even laughed when they made jokes. This is what teachers do. We leave our personal tragedies outside the classroom. The next day, I was ushered into the operation theatre to remove the remnants of the foetus. My body hadn't realised that the foetus had died so it took a while for it to recover from the shock. The death of a child, even an unborn one, can be devastating. It took me months to recover emotionally. Then life gave me a second chance and I now have a bouncing baby boy.

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