“Help! I’m pregnant!”
Anara blurted the words out almost before I had said “hello”.
I thought, hard and fast, forming in my mind the right words for a proper congratulations in her language. But the words never left my lips. Over the phone line I could hear the whisper of Anara’s muffled sobs.
What kind of pregnancy was this?
Anara has been married for a couple of years, and her husband is generally kind and responsible. Had something happened to him?
But my guesses were all wrong. When Anara felt weak and nauseous because of the pregnancy, she thought she was sick and got some strong Chinese herbal medicine from a pharmacy. After two weeks of medicine, she had finally gone to see a doctor. He told her she was pregnant, and that she must abort the baby straight away.
“Two weeks of Chinese medicine would poison an elephant’s fetus, let alone the baby of a girl like you,” the doctor had lectured her. “Your child will be deformed. It may be missing two or three limbs. It will never learn to talk. How will you find the money to care for a child like that? Who will pay the medical fees?”
Angry, and very afraid, Anara called me.
How could this have happened to her? Would the baby really be disabled, or was the doctor exaggerating? What should she do??
“God, help me to say the right thing to help Anara!” I prayed silently, and really, really quickly.
“Don’t be afraid,” I told her. “Life is a gift from above. It’s not up to us to decide how long or short it should be. You will be a wonderful mother, no matter what the child is like. Don’t worry when friends or family tell you to abort. Stick to what you know is right.” I gathered some details of the type of medicine and the stage of pregnancy, and promised to call my doctor friend for a second opinion.
But I never got to pass on that opinion. Anara miscarried the baby before her friends knew she was pregnant, and before she had to visit the scary doctor again. The loss of a little life is always very sad, but I’m so incredibly glad that she was saved from the pain and regret of abortion.
I still wonder, though: can a lady like Anara make her own choice?