Wesbank

Child-less

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 24 October 2018   |   By Tumie Forthright
Child-less

Barren wasn't a word I would naturally have used, not for anyone, not for anything, maybe for tilling land, but the more I looked it up which was plenty times, the more it made sense. Some days I sat and stared at nothing and tried to conjure up images of what barren must look like. I stayed up most nights too, with barren thoughts.

Metlha and I met when I started my third year at University; he was a freshman. His promises of how much he will take care of me if I became his girlfriend were so hilarious. In the end it was his humor really that convinced me. I wanted to laugh to eternity, but I knew I loved him. A year into our relationship we started getting really careless with the condom. He would say "I would love to have a mini you in our lives" and we would laugh and I would tell him not just yet. I would go around with my heart in my throat until the crimson stain on my underwear and we would be at it again and then wait again and sigh with relief at no pregnancy sign again. Then we really stopped paying attention to all of it.

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Two years post my graduation I was in a comfortable job and Metlha had just graduated and we were intentional about the sex. I too wanted this mini me. A year on, nothing, and then I worried.

I told Metlha, he dismissed it and before long we were seeing doctors and then specialists. He was fine. Great sperm count, healthy too, oh they swam good. Me? They probed and poked. Tests and tests upon tests, it almost became bothersome. I imagine they looked and saw just the Sahara. You know nothing grows there right? My head spun at the news, and I numbed up and went home and passed out. The following day I woke up and my heart pounded in between my ears remembering. I bawled my eyes out. I didn't report for work two days straight.

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How was this possible? I wanted this baby, badly. We went to see psychologists. We were told our many options; we could do IVF, we could adopt, but in my head I failed us. I could not do for us the one thing that comes naturally to a woman. I was devastated. Just last Christmas my little cousin was in trouble because she was seventeen and pregnant. She just had to look at a boy and bam, she was pregnant. I mean she said to me one evening "it was just once Lelo, and it was not even as nice as he'd said it would be, and he promised no one gets pregnant the first time". I didn't know in 2013 there were seventeen year olds that naive. Her daughter is five this year.

 I have had five failed IVFs. Will I still try again? I'm not sure. Do I ache for a child? The ache gets intense with every passing year and failed IVF. Metlha? He was right. He is taking care of me. If he could he would protect me even from life itself. My apparent 'failure' doesn't bother him. Yes, he is sorry we might never have our own children but he is not sorry I can't have children, and he always says "it's you I love, a mini you would just have been a plus!"

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Sebo and I had been trying to have a baby for about three years now, married five years. Each month like clockwork she got her period. It began to sit heavy on both of us but none would talk about it, like really talk about it. I wished secretly that she would go see a doctor about it; nothing. We stopped hoping. I don't know who between us first but we both did. One Friday evening she came home and said "love, my gynaecologist wants to see you". Why those words scared and shot through me the way they did I will never understand, but I remember it was the start of the end of my life as I knew it.

"Mr Leru, we have to run some tests. I have done all the possible tests on your wife but you know it takes two to make a baby right?" In my head I'm thinking "aren't I just required to give seed et voila?" I was sent to a specialist. The tests were many. Harvesting sperm in that tiny room with a porn film remains one of the many memories that reminds me of life as I know it now.

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I went for the results alone. See I lost my mother at a very young age. I must've been three and have absolutely no recollection of it except the many people at my house that time. I suspect that if I had been older the pain I felt at the centre of my heart when the doctor gave me the results, maybe, would have equaled that. I was without seed, none! There is weak sperm. There is also low sperm count. Me? No sperm at all. Shooting blanks had never made any more sense. If it weren't so tragic I would joke to my friends tonight and tell them about my non-existent sperm. I am here, having beers and joking about so many things and some complaining about their babies. We are at that age of five year, three year and one year old toddlers in our homes. Will I ever have a toddler run in my house? Will I ever complain to my friends about the rubbing of pregnant woman's feet at one in the morning like they have. Forget that, will I ever be able to tell my wife I'll never be able to lay seed in her, regardless what sex positions and what food the Japanese herbalist recommended? See we had tried everything under the sun before the specialists.

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It's been six weeks since that specialist told me my testicles only have water in them. I don't know what zeal really means but it's left my life as I know it. I am childless! She is childless.



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