DaastanxStoriestoAction Story Writing Winner: Shoaib Rashdi

Shoaib’s story is one of six winning stories of the  #WeToo competition, a collaboration between Stories To Action and Daastan, where young people shared inspired by COVID-19’s impact on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

My dear friend!

It is true that it has been several years since we got in touch last time. I, Husna, your friend take the full responsibility, though you could have also tried to be in touch, damn you! Well, you must have been asking yourself why I got in touch with my dear friend all of a sudden after such a long time. Actually I want to tell you a story, my own story.

I strongly believe now that in our life we ultimately get what we desire for with our whole heart. But sometimes, we lack the vision which enables us to accept the fruit of our expectations. Compared with shallow ideas, what God wishes for us is of more benefit to us. Ask me how a temptation can turn into a blessing. Should I tell you? If the real character of the people around you is revealed as a result of a temptation, then would you think of this as a mere temptation? Will you? If my philosophy still doesn’t inspire you, then go on hearing my story, dear girl.

Before I got married, I used to stare at the night sky sitting in the courtyard of my house. Believe me, staring at the sky with no stars, I used to envy the prestigious status of a mother. My soul was also like the dark sky—devoid of stars and hardly blinking. Withering flowers in autumn also reminded me of my soul. I desired for new petals and stars for the dark skies of my life. As far back as I can remember, being a mother had been my first desire without which life becomes terribly bitter. When the opportunity of wedding knocked at my door, I accepted it immediately and got into the role of a wife. The first few months of our married life were beautiful but with the passage of time when there was no sign of expecting a child, Mr. Sufiyan and I turned to the doctors with full hope.

How can I tell you what happened in the coming months? When producing offspring was doubtful, the ground of married life becomes shaky. The wife is looked upon with weird expressions. She is taken as a flower with withered petals.

“Did the doctor say that I am infertile?” I asked Mr. Sufiyan.

“What do you mean?” my husband gave me an angry look.

“Nothing. Actually I am the cursed one.”

“Were you trying to tell me I’m infertile? Do you doubt my manhood?”

“Please see this is not the matter of male honour. Having children is above your honour.”

“I will not get myself tested. That’s it!”

In the coming days, I came to know this bitter fact that the role of a wife was just secondary and I would not be able to live my wife without being a mother. I finally found a solution and shared it with my husband.

“Listen, please.”

“Yes?”

“Have you ever been to the orphanage near our house?”

“I, in the orphanage? Why would I even go to an orphanage?”

“Why not? Doesn’t it hurt you not being a father?”

“What hurts me, my dear wife, is not having children of my own—I won’t bring home children off the street.”

“Why not? Aren’t they human?”

“Sure they are. But my blood doesn’t run in their veins.”

“What if they don’t have your blood? They can have your soul after all.”

“Are you out of your mind, woman?!”

“Mr. Sufiyan this is the dying wish of a mother.”

“Don’t dare doing something stupid. If you bring home some orphan, my mother will turn me into a laughing stock.”

“Would you forego the opportunity of being a father only for his reason?”

“Oh stop repeating yourself! Crazy woman, how would those orphans be my own kids? We wouldn’t be seeing this if you were not infertile.”

“Isn’t it strange, Mr. Sufiyan?”

“What?”

“On one hand we proudly call ourselves Muslims, and on the other our love doesn’t transcend beyond blood relations.”

“You’re talking about an orphanage again?”

“Please think about what I am saying. Can blood only write our fate?”

“Shut up, woman!”

“You call me infertile. I can’t live my life as an infertile wife. I can no more carry this honour.”

“Oh really? And what about me, who is still getting on with this marriage despite you being infertile?”

“I have no complaints with you Mr. Sufiyan except one.”

“What is it?”

“You have not got yourself tested. I believe keeping your honour above having children is a sin. And as far as I being a mother is concerned, the fact is that I myself am an orphan, and I can very well understand the agony of an orphan. Now I’ve started to understand what my fate has for me. I know the feeling of not being a mother and it is because of knowing this feeling, I really need to be a mother. If not, I won’t survive.”

“And what will happen to me, my dear wife?”

“To you? What will happen to you? In this modern world, you will find someone else who would consider being a good wife above being a mother. I would not abandon my galaxy because of the absence of only one star, Mr. Sufiyan.”

“What star, what galaxy, Husna?”

“The wife inside a woman may be infertile but a mother inside her is always fertile. Her seeds are all the children in the world who have lost their parents. Why should we think that only our own children deserve the motherhood of a woman?”

After our divorce, I used my haq mehr to arrange for my boarding and lodging in an orphanage and I’ve been living there since then. Usually when a badly needs a mother’s love, he creeps into my room and by God, this blessing is beyond the domain of having my own children. I thank God for taking me to the doorstep of having children—for releasing a mother from the shackles of being a wife! For saving the shadow of my motherhood from withering. If the shadow of motherhood is narrowed down, the real spirit of motherhood is lost. There is actually something universal about being a mother. I’m not trying to lecture you, my dear friend, but I do wonder why we women hesitate talking about motherhood. A mother is like a galaxy and children are like stars which illuminate the dark nights. My nights are now illuminated. God will always keep my nights illuminated with His grace. His light will make my flowers blossom.

And about children, I will just say that the identity of the children is not in the blood gushing through their bodies but in the emotions they have in their heart. Those who crave for love would accept any woman as their mother. A mother’s relation does not need love, just a loving heart. Now you tell me, can a woman really ever be infertile? The body can be infertile but not the heart. And if our society only looks at the body, then what is actually infertile—society or our bodies?

My friend I will wait here for you. I hope that together we can show the world the real meaning of being a mother. If a traveller can’t find a guiding star within the limits of his own town, he should travel to another one searching for the guiding star. By God, my dear friend, we women can gather all stars of the world through our motherhood. Motherhood is not stationary. This is the great plan of God for women like us. God’s temptations and blessings. And always remember—those who hurt motherhood will never and can never find peace of heart. And why would they? Can those who dishonour the sanctity of motherhood, honour anything else? Blood only has no sanctity, my friend. Let Mr. Sufiyan be happy with the social pressures and me, with my motherhood.

Your friend,

Husna,

An infertile wife, an expecting mother.

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