As became the routine, when I returned home one afternoon from work Hemma was seated in the living room with tea for me …only this time there were some +sweets. And waiting for me there in our living room, the rest of the family had assembled.
I looked around the room searching their faces for a clue as to why the gathering and complete with sweets to boot!
My bhabhi= approached me and in a near whisper she said to me, “You are going to be a father. Hemma is pregnant.” I was shocked and then, I was taken by such a sense of pure delight! I announced I would call the doctor for an appointment the next day to get confirmation before we present this joyful news to everyone else.
Not long after tea and talk, I went to our room to change my clothes. Hemma was right in back of me. Behind our *closed door she hugged me, crying tears of joy and said, “This is our present from God!”
I responded happily with loving hugs and supportive whispers. I told her that going forward she must be careful. ‘You can continue doing the things you do okay, but no heavy lifting!’ and still speaking excitedly I told her that I’d take her once a month to see the doctor for a check-up.
Also I thought to say to her, ‘… and whatever your heart desires to eat, just tell any of us and we’ll get it for you!’ We were able to get to the doctor the next morning. My mother came along.
We got the confirmation we came for. He looked at my mother with a smile, then at Hemma and me and said, “You are going to be a mother, congratulations to the both of you!” Shortly afterwards he provided a list for Hemma; proper diet along with some exercises she can do at home.
Now we couldn’t wait to share the beautiful news with the rest of the family …the world! It was time to buy boxes of sweets and along with the good news, deliver them all over.
Every afternoon upon my return from work, she’d have my tea, hot and ready for me and we’d anxiously watch the belly grow. My mother and sister coached me along the way on how to become a father and a great dad!
About four months had passed and it was time for some looser clothing. I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible. I brought her some muumuus to wear around the home; certainly less binding around the waist!
It was in the last trimester, perhaps about 33 weeks when Hemma began experiencing some pains that seemed abnormal; not only to my wife but the [experienced] ladies of the house too were concerned.
It wasn’t but moments after we arrived at the hospital and Hemma was admitted. She was watched closely but the doctor didn’t seem distressed. One day, two days.
On the third day our baby boy was born! I was allowed to enter the room only minutes after his birth; I heard him cry! The nurse wrapped him in a blanket and handed him to his mother.
Hemma placed him on her chest and he stopped crying; he was comforted for sure. I embraced the two of them, gratefully.
Our son was born just about four weeks early and the incubator was on standby waiting for him. After twenty minutes or so Hemma handed him to me; I held my son, fully and completely and with all the love I had in my heart. God, he was so beautiful.
+sweets ‘sweeten your mouth’ is generally the saying when good news is celebrated. It is customary to provide sweets; not necessarily like candy but more confection-like. Similarity is “Here, have a cigar, I’m [going to be] a father!”
*closed door We are taught from early on that displays of affection between ‘he & she’ are to be in private