I step out of the house, reminding myself that the worst is over now. The farewell that I had been dreading has been dealt with.
Except, it does not feel like it is over. Rather it feels like this is only the beginning. The beginning of heartache like I have never known before.
They had warned me that it would be difficult. I had scoffed at them in ignorance, asking – ‘How difficult can it be, if I do not get attached!? It is all about the mind-set, you know. And I know what I am getting myself into.’ If only I knew then!
My steps are barely out of the house when I hear her wail. Everything in me demands to retract my steps and to rush into the house and hold her. It takes superhuman effort on my side to not to rush to her aid. She is not mine, I remind myself yet again as I have been doing since the first time I saw her. It is indeed strange how the mind says one thing while the heart sings a totally another tune.
She will always be mine… the thought both makes me happy as well as breaks my heart. What had made me assume that I would not get attached to her, that I can easily hand her over to them when the time came!?
The last few minutes that I spent with her will stay with me forever. I held her for one last time, inhaling the smell that was uniquely her. She made a soft cooing sound that tugged at my heart. She wriggled under the cozy blanket and rubbed her head against my chest, searching for solace, a solace that I could not offer her. God only knows how I managed to give her back when every part of me wanted to hold on tightly to her.
The tears did not come then, nor are they coming now, as I linger uncertainly outside the house, trying to find out whether her wails have subsided. She seems to have calmed down, for I can no longer hear her crying.
I turn around in the direction of the road that will lead me further away from her. I know that she is in capable and loving hands. But that doesn’t ease my pain of handing over what is essentially a part of my heart.
A mother is a mother, whether surrogate or natural. My pain is as real as the pain of any mother who is unfortunate enough to part from her offspring. I walk away from the home where my baby girl will now be brought up by another set of parents. Their happiness knows no bounds, so does my grief. I stove the grief away, fully aware that it will be my sole companion in the long days and unending nights that are in store for me.
Surrogacy is not for the weak-hearted, a lesson that I have learnt at a staggering cost.
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