Ashley never wanted to be a mother. But what happens when she finally learns to love motherhood?


I carefully positioned myself on the pillow which was placed on the window sill. I always sat with a pillow on the window sill. It was extremely uncomfortable to sit without a pillow on the window sill. I picked up the bowl of maggi which I had placed on the window sill, a little away from where I was sitting. I wrapped my hands around the bowl of noodles. I liked the way the warmth of the bowl kissed my hands. I disentangled the fork from the strands of noodles which was mixed in tomato ketchup. I put the fork back into the bowl again, trying to wrap as many strands of noodles around the fork. The honk of the school bus which was approaching, interrupted me while I involved myself in performing this task. As the school bus drove closer toward my building, the squeaky voices of the children the bus contained, could be heard more vividly. They were talking collectively on high decibels. The school bus halted under my building. One by one, the children walked down the steps of the bus. Even after a long day at school, their enthusiasm hadn’t died down. They were as energetic now, as they were in the morning when they were leaving for school. They ran towards their mothers, who were waiting for them eagerly, below my building. Their happiness and enthusiasm was contagious. As soon as they clutched their little arms around their mothers, they infected their mothers with the same feelings of happiness and enthusiasm which they had brought with them.

My eyes suddenly fell on my swollen belly. For a few seconds, I jumped four years into the future, when the being living inside me would have grown up. I imagined waiting for my baby girl or baby boy below my building, much like the mothers of those children. My baby would run toward me, wrapping his or her chubby arms around me. I smiled looking at the belly when this particular scene played in my mind. I never wanted to be a mother. At least not seven months ago. But these seven months somehow changed my thoughts about motherhood. I had begun to attach myself and love the human being who had made a home inside me.

In the middle of my day dreaming, I was interrupted by Mark, who was calling out my name, Ashley! I shivered a little when I heard his voice. After a few seconds, I shouted back to him, saying, I’m coming! I got up from the window sill, carefully and then slowly I walked out of the room. I first went to our room. He wasn’t there. Then I walked toward the kitchen, assuming he’d be there. Whenever he was home from work, he would give the cook an off and would be in charge of the food. As I walked toward the kitchen the smell of dal grew stronger. He loved cooking. It was his way of de-stressing.

When I entered the kitchen, I saw him cutting an apple. He took care of me in ways I did not take care of myself. He always made sure I was eating healthy food. This was our first child. He always wanted to have a child of his own. I never did.

When I got to know that I was pregnant with the baby, he was more thrilled and blissful than I was. I walked into the kitchen and stood next to him.

I observed the manner in which he sliced the apple into various pieces. After he was done cutting the apple, he handed over the plate to me. He turned to go back to what he was doing, when I caught hold of his hand and pulled him closer. He put the strand of hair which was hanging loose, behind my ear and kissed me gently on my forehead.

I love you husband!
I love you too, wife!


We looked into each other’s eyes. We could see how much we loved each other. How much we cared for each other. He slowly rubbed his palm on my belly and then gazed at me, again. I could see it in his eyes how much he had already fallen in love with the little baby we had created. He was already a father and through these seven months, he taught me to be a mother. To embrace the motherhood that I didn’t want to embrace. I took the plate of apples. I quietly sat at the dining table, consuming the pieces one by one and Mark resumed cooking.

What’s for lunch, Mark?

There’s dal-rice and I’m going to fry the chicken which I’d marinated last night.

Ah, that sounds perfect! I’m actually also craving for some rajma.

I’m so sorry, Ash! There’s no rajma at home.

Ah, it’s alright. What you’re making is perfect enough. That’ll do!

It did not take me much time to consume all the apples. I put aside the empty plate and folded the newspaper which was left open on the dining table. I had stopped going to teach a few months after I got to know that I was pregnant with our baby. Teaching was something that I wanted to pursue ever since I was a kid, myself. I knew from a very young age that teaching was what I wanted to do, when I would grow up. Mark knew how much I loved my career. I gave my entire self to it. Temporarily putting it aside, was not something I was ready to do. But I had to, for the baby. Mark knew that I wasn’t very enthused when I got to know that I was pregnant. He did not force me into falling in love with the baby. It was something that just happened. I remember when we went for the baby’s first sonography, I saw the baby on the monitor. I suddenly found myself welling up. That was the moment I realized that I actually had a human being living inside me. That I was going to be a mother.

As I was walking toward the sofa, to sit and read my book, I saw a trail of droplets of blood on the floor. I called out to Mark and he came rushing into the living room. All I remember is him running toward me to hold me, when he saw me almost on the verge of fainting. After that, everything was went blank.

I lost the baby. That was the news Mark and my mother gave me a few minutes after I woke up. It didn’t ask what happened. I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t want to speak with anybody. I wish the baby hadn’t died. I wish the baby had lived to see this world. I wish the baby were at least alive to be with Mark. I couldn’t meet Mark’s eyes. It felt like I had disappointed him. Like I had hurt him in the worst way possible. It didn’t seem fair to him. And it didn’t seem fair to me. We had planned so many things for the baby, with the baby. We had dreamed so many dreams. Did the baby have to be taken away?