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A Woman's Perspective on Pregnancy

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While Mary was enjoying a relaxed heavy slumber one Friday afternoon, an unpleasantness originating in her stomach suddenly distracted her. She had been suffering from what she thought was excessive acid production related to high stress level, for a couple of days already. But even her superpower antacid tablets didn't seem to work. Then 'bang!' reality struck. When was her last period? A quick trip to a nearby drugstore answered her question. She collected a few drops of her urine in her husband's shaving soap dish - the closest thing within reach. Using the test kit - the double blue lines appeared slowly but surely on the white gadget - convincing her that she was pregnant.

Do you know how confusing it is for some women when they find out that they are having an unplanned pregnancy? What to do next - is the big question. Abortion is not an option in this country, unless you want to contribute to the illegal activity resulting in the disposal of unwanted newborns under toll roads in Ancol. O my God, do you remember that? Who would be so heartless to do such a thing?

When is the right time to let your husband know? How is he going to react? Will he be proud to know that he has successfully planted his fertile seed? With a smart face he might say 'I told you so' - confirming that the late night at a bar gulping alcoholic drinks didn't effect his ability to create offspring. Or the other possibility; will he be mad to find out that the local condoms are of such poor quality? The thought of waking up in the middle of the night to tend the baby really turns him off. Especially if the wife merely wants children as something to fill up her boring life, sees pregnancy as proof of her femininity while the husband works two jobs as the provider and the father for 24 hours a day. Why do some women allow themselves to fall pregnant without considering their husbands' objections and say 'It's my body, my decision', but they still expect support from their husbands? The husbands could just as easily say 'It's your body, our decision, my money'.

Mary's next step was an appointment with her gynecologist. Being an Indonesian married to a westerner, her doctor's suggestions were a bit more complicated than what would be normal for a local couple. The first step was blood and rhesus type tests, which is quite common. But the second step was for virus or immunology test.

"We are going to check six types of viruses which might endanger your pregnancy. The results might be positive, which is common among women who are married to western men, as westerners are known to have different lifestyles," said her doctor. For common laymen, what the doctor said could be translated as follows. Women in mixed marriages are more prone to virus infections simply because they are married to white guys. Because, according to the doctor, western men tend to stray and sleep around with different partners before marriage therefore they pick up a large variety of viruses, which later on are transferred to the wives. Of course the local wives are always portrayed as naive, well-behaved women. It's highly impossible for the women to be infested with such horrible viruses. Ha! That doctor should get out more.

Beside the morning sickness and strict diet control which means avoiding caffeine, alcohol and heavenly tasting soft cheese, the other critical dilemma for pregnant women is the wardrobe collection. During the first five months, you try your best to wear clothing in such a way as to hide your growing belly. Anything from oversized short jeans with loose shirts to long dark coloured dresses with their slimming effects. Or carry a huge bag and position it in front of your tummy, or perhaps standing behind a huge potted plant at a party.

Reaching the sixth month, the method drastically changes. Your pregnancy becomes too obvious to conceal. Instead of trying to camouflage it, now you make it the central attraction. You find a set of white and pink flowery tops and pants to further enhance your femininity, your vulnerability, and your motherly condition - giving an impression as if you're really enjoying yourself, and are actually very happy to be pregnant. Although when you hear someone say 'Look at you, you look so pretty, your face is glowing', you know it's total bulls-t. Women know they look huge, less attractive and feel miserable when they are pregnant. Thank God it only lasts for nine months, though it still feels like forever. Listening to fake comments from sweet talkers like that is the last thing you need.

One day when her pregnancy reached five months, Mary was invited to a formal party in an ambassador's residence. Conscious of her belly, she dressed up in attire that drew attention more to her face and cleavage - which have magically become more attractive since becoming pregnant. Covered by a black jacket, Mary didn't look like a pregnant woman at all that evening.

Mary couldn't help but overhear a conversation by a group of blond women in the corner.

"Who's that woman dressed in a that low-neck pink blouse? All men in the room are drooling just looking at her," said one of the women.

"O, that's Mary. She's five months pregnant, do you know that?" answered the host.

"Bitch!" whispered the other women.

That wholehearted comment actually made Mary's day.

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