The Journey from my Motherland to Motherhood
An immigrant woman faces the dilemma of re-establishing her career in a new country and becoming a mother.
I’d been in the children’s section of the store for 20 minutes, looking for something special. I planned to put the pregnancy test and a few baby things in the mailbox and record my husband’s reaction when he opened it. The sweetness of my news helped me to forget the difficult last months.
Life in Canada was more challenging than I had expected. Despite ten years of professional experience in Iran, the process of evaluating my law degree and finding a good job was going to take years. I decided to improve my English and my knowledge of the Canadian legal system by working. At the same time, I was in my mid-thirties and feeling the pressure to have a baby: the main reason we came to Canada. Through an agent, I found a job as a law clerk at a big firm. I had to work three months under a contract with the agent. Then, if the firm thought the job suited me, they would offer me a contract directly.
I approached my menial job with the attitude that no matter what I did, I’d do my best—even though I often felt lost and alone. But now I was pregnant. Hope erased all the bitterness of the last months. Here in the store, I saw a tiny pair of white shoes staring at me. I whispered to myself, “This is the first thing I’ll buy for you.”
Shoes would remind us of the path we walked to make a new life in Canada.
When my husband opened the mailbox that evening, he could not stop laughing. He held up the tiny shoes. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, the doctor confirmed it.”
After that, our nights were filled with talk about the future and our days with hard work to succeed for the sake of our baby.
At the end of my seventh week of pregnancy, I had one of those busy days at the office when I couldn’t leave my desk. Finally, I got to the washroom. I saw two tiny spots of blood on my underwear. Should I be worried? I Googled it. It was normal in the first trimester, but I still needed to see a doctor.
It was almost five o’clock. I called my husband and asked him to drop me off at the hospital emergency room. My husband was worried. “Are you having contractions?”
I told him I felt okay. I just wanted to make sure. I started bragging about how strong and healthy we are in our family. We were laughing by the time the nurse called my name.
In the examining room, she took my blood. I lay on the bed and waited for the doctor. Thirty minutes later, the doctor was examining me. By then, my whole body was shaking. My husband tried to calm me.
“Don’t worry, honey.”
I stared at the ceiling and repeated to myself, “It’s nothing. We’re strong.”
My bleeding got heavier, and they arranged for an ultrasound. The doctor said there was still hope.
The next morning, I went to work. I had been in that job for almost five and a half months, but I was still on probation and not entitled to a day off. In the afternoon, pain seized my body. We returned to the hospital. The clots and red blood took all my hope.
After a few weeks, my body recovered. But there is a blood spot in my mind forever, even though I got pregnant again.
My son will be born soon. I bought new shoes for him, hopeful about all the steps he will take in this beautiful land.
Mona Fayazbakhsh was born in Tehran, Iran. She got her law degree in 2004 and completed a master’s degree in Criminology and the Criminal Mind. She practised law in Iran for ten years before coming to Canada in 2017.