Bravery: The Indian Woman and I
Words by Arora Appleby
When I think of bravery, I think of her. I think of her raising her child so lovingly, knowing that she sacrificed the one thing she ever really wanted
I’ve known many brave people in my life, but there’s one woman who comes to mind when I think of bravery. A woman whose face I cannot remember and whose name I do not know. I stumbled into the small pale green room where the nurse told me tea, biscuits and crackers would be waiting for me. My hands shake as I bring my tea back to the empty table and once I sit, I notice two other women, also both at separate tables. I start to feel awkward, I feel like I should say something, so I do. I greet them both with a hello, the blonde one that sits on the far side of the room looks up and croaks hello back in-between sobs. The Indian woman on the other side keeps her head down and says nothing. I dunk a plain digestive into my tea and hear a nurse call a name, it was the blonde woman's name; the nurse takes her away. I struggle with awkward situations, I feel like I need to fill the silence and any rational thought escapes me and so, when just the Indian woman and I were sat in this small pale-green room, I ask her that dreaded question. “Do you regret it?” She looks up at me with tears in her eyes and says “Yes.” I let the silence linger in the air for a while until she breaks it. “A few years ago, my husband and I were told we couldn’t have children” she looks into my soul with her blurred almond eyes. “So we decided to adopt a child from India - where we’re originally from.” I look up at her as she lowers her head, looking at her shoes. A knot forms in my stomach as she tells me. “The adoption papers came through last week and we’re bringing our child back in a couple of weeks.” I instantly know where this is going and tears start to stream down my face. “I found out I was pregnant just after the adoption was finalised. It was a miracle. But I knew I couldn’t keep it.” I feel sick and want to crawl into a hole, how ignorant was I?! Just because the decision was easy for me, doesn’t mean it was easy for anyone else in the clinic. “So, I came here,” she waves her arms signalling the room “because I didn’t want to love my biological baby more than my adoptive one.” I’m speechless and all I can do is look at her with my tear-stained face and hope she forgives my ignorance. “I’ll probably regret this for as long as I live.” she finishes. I can’t remember what I say or do after she tells me that story, but I remember the knots in my stomach tightening after each word and my entire being vibrating with sadness for this nameless woman. When I think of bravery, I think of her. I think of her raising her child so lovingly, knowing that she sacrificed the one thing she ever really wanted, so her child could have all of her love poured into them, without having to share or compete.
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