By Ngosa Chibuye Muyatwa
When I found out I had been awarded a scholarship, it was with mixed feelings, because I had just had a miscarriage a few weeks before. I did not want to leave the comfort of my husband’s arms because of the grief I was going through, I needed familiar ground. I begged God hoping that all this was a dream (God must have laughed because, for the past three years, I had been applying for scholarships everywhere. I had been rejected once, the second time around I missed the Skype interview because I did not see the email on time, and the third time, I got accepted. I am sure God laughed and said,” Child, make up your mind”). If it was up to me, I’d never have taken it up. But alas, my ever-optimistic, supportive husband told me “You’re going to school”, in his calm authoritative manner. I looked at him, shocked as to how he could even imagine such a thing happening. “How can I leave you, at a time like this?” I asked. “We need each other, who will take care of you?” To which he responded, “I am a big man, I will be fine.”
When I was younger I remember my mom telling me about a couple where the mother tied her tubes (the surgical term is Tubal Ligation) after having a second child because the couple decided they were done having children. But, the woman got pregnant with their third child and they were over the moon and decided to keep the baby. As misfortune would have it, they lost the baby soon after its birth. When Mom recounted this story to me, I thought to myself, “Why would a woman mourn the loss of a child she never wanted?” My teenage brain found it strange and laughable. So when I had a miscarriage, at 8 weeks of pregnancy, I mourned the loss of this baby and laughed at myself for mourning a baby I did not know or had never met.
I remember feeling inadequate in my ability to do what was seen as a normal part of being a woman and I was angry at myself and my body for not being able to sustain the baby until full term. When my gynaecologist mentioned that the foetus was not viable and had to be removed, I remember asking her if by any chance we left it inside me for a few days, maybe its heartbeat would miraculously start. (She looked impatient with my questions) .
My husband and I visited a couple friend of ours once and when they announced they were pregnant, I pretended to be happy for them. However, on our way back home, seated in the car, I cried the whole way and my husband could not understand why I was crying. “Why does she get pregnant and I don’t? “ I cried. “Why is she special and I am not?” In those days, everything triggered me. Seeing pregnant women or mothers with their infant babies at the mall would make me cry. I reached a point where I never wanted to leave the house. I had a million questions and no answers.
And so, after a lot of back and forth and advice from older married couples, and marriage counsellors we were left confused with all the advice received. Indeed too many cooks spoil the broth. We decided to start the preparations and I left for my studies a few days after my birthday.
Going to school provided some sort of distraction and respite from my own life and I was excited albeit sad to leave the comfort of my home. God has a sense of humour and I saw this in that when I went to school, I knew no one there and I didn't even know the language but I made friends and these kept me alive, literally. I was put in an apartment with 4 other ladies from different countries and I was lucky to have other Africans within our building who I could go to for home-cooked meals or to listen to music from home. I also joined an English-speaking church and these two groups of people became my home away from home and my support system. I was able to concentrate on school because I surrounded myself with people who genuinely cared. I got used to the stares I would get in public because of the colour of my skin ( I got asked by children why my hair was so curly or why my skin was so dark) . And oh, I missed home. My husband especially! In my last year of school, my husband came to visit me and met all my friends. We have kept in touch with most of them to this day.
This was one of the hardest things I have done in my life but also the most rewarding because it brought my husband and me closer. Knowing that we would get back home to each other after the end of it all helped me stay focused at school. Even though so many people discouraged me from going to school, I’m glad I took on this opportunity and because of that experience, I have learned so much. My relationship with my husband has been enriched even more. I am also grateful that he encouraged me to do something I wanted for myself even though I did not want to at that moment. I believe maintaining our individuality and pursuing our personal goals while still being one has kept us together this long and kept things exciting. This is all that matters.
Ngosa is an Educator, an avid reader, a runner, and a mom. She documents her fitness journey on Facebook: Tales of a Zambian Running Girl/Mother.
Connect with her on Facebook: Ngosa Chibuye Muyatwa and Instagram: @Ngosa1
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Edited by Bwalya Mphuka & Natasha Chitimbe-Mukamba
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