The First Lady

Liberty's torch

I put the baby to my breast. She ate greedily. 

So tiny for such a strong suck.

He had not come home yet. He did not know that she was a she and not a he. He would be angry, I knew. Would he let me keep her or would he kill her as he had the other three? Would he beat me as he had before?

Look, she is so beautiful, so perfect! Why can’t you love her?

Why can’t you love me?

The midwife busied herself quietly putting the room back in order. 

He would never pay for a doctor or a hospital. Not for me, he said. I was not worth it. 

A woman. 

A girl.

Someday I would leave him. I would run away. Far, far away. But to where? And they would find me, wouldn’t they? They always did. If I was lucky, they would shoot me where they found me. If not, he would be allowed to stone me to death. He’d like that. Then he could take a new wife. Someone who would give him boys. He never listened to the logic of genetics, that the determining X or Y chromosome actually came from him and from not me. My education, my past… it meant nothing to him. 

Neither did my future. 

No. I will outlive him. I will NOT give him the satisfaction.

The little one scrunched up her tiny baby face and yawned. Enough eating for now, she seemed to say as she looked directly into my eyes and grinned a lopsided baby grin. Then she drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

Born on Independence Day. If I were going to name her I would name her Liberty after the giant statue they tore down decades ago. No woman will stand as a national symbol, they said.  

Now she was gone.

Just like my own Liberty. 

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109 thoughts on “The First Lady

  1. I understand this. First we had two boys. Months after my daughter was born I was reading on the issues and stats of gender select abortion and my ex became upset, after hearing what I was researching. Because I never told him it was an option. Thank goodness I carried the children and not him. Thanks for bringing this up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just finished reading a book on this very theme, set in India – Secret Daughter, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. This is a long-established practice in India where women are not valued other than baby-making machines. BOY baby making, to be precise.

    Reading the book was an eye-opener for me.

    Reading your post is startling because, until this moment, I did not consider that we are creeping closer to the vile practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As you said this is a practice in some parts of the world….what I find fascinating is that in the animal world, they kill bulls, rosters and other male animals because they don’t need them to make babies. I long for the time as in the long ago, when women were considered equals and held power. In some instances, they were revered. Give me the Goddess life any day!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Reminds me a bit of Handmaid’s Tale (and a few others). I hadn’t thought of Lady Liberty in this sense, a female representing the country. At a time when the VP is afraid to be in a room with a woman not his wife (and even then?), all health care and particularly women’s health care being threatened except for the very rich, and a psycho who thinks grabbing women is ok if you’re famous is now president… yeah, as a few have said, we may be closer than we care to admit. Well done, doc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our dystopian future. Good god, I hope I don’t live long enough to witness this frightening reality. It seems impossible to believe that his could very well be our world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The First Lady – The Militant Negro™

  7. This is a terrifying story. But I am sorry that it might provoke a radical reaction like the one I read here.
    “Such a dystopian look at the future. Is this after Islamic extremists take over, or Christian extremists?”
    In Australia as in the US there is a strong anti Islam trend BUT the countries that have the worst reputation are India and China. These are neither Islamic or Christian countries. But also the problem of sex based abortions occur in other countries as well.
    http://stopfemaleinfanticide.org/files/Femalefoeticideworldwide.pdf

    Liked by 4 people

    • Truly in this case it is more of a political statement as our government works to roll back healthcare provisions and protections for women. I think the bigger message, which you are emphasizing here, is that this sort of thing transcends religion, politics, and culture. We are all vulnerable.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. This is beautiful, thank you for writing it <3.

    I find it interesting though, that paying for a midwife is "bare bones" in this story. Although hospital births are more expensive, the out of pocket expense is minimal because most of it is covered by health insurance. Home birth, while more affordable, isn't covered by health insurance at all and the out of pocket expense is more.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was thinking the setting was some place else, where this type of thing does happen. Not that that makes it better or okay, but the final, revealing lines made me think of The Handmaid’s Tale and how dystopian fiction is coming terrifyingly close to real life.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. At first I thought, NO! Not here in America. Never here! Then, I thought, we will not go quietly. Then I thought, but if it ever did happen, we would go quietly: escape, hide, network, organize, survive, thrive. But let’s hope it never comes to that and that, as D Wallace Peach said, “a life of the past, not the present or future.” Not here, not anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of the current political discussions feel incredibly misogynistic and I wonder what will eventually come of it. Hopefully nothing. This is a reality in certain parts of the world. I, too, hope it is never us.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I awsn’t sure, as I was reading this, if it was a short story or something from an experience with one or more of your patients. I hope it wasnt the latter (but realise it could be) as the knowledge that something like this is happening and being unable to do anything about it, must be terrible. It is bad enough knowing that it does happen in many parts of the world. It’s a dreadful thing that needs changing somehow. Very well written, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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