The contractions were getting stronger by the minute, closer together and regular. Time seemed to crawl as Rene writhed, battling the pain. Her husband was by her side, reminding her to breathe in and out. The nurse had suggested an epidural but she had declined. Hooked to a foetal monitor, she tried to focus on her baby’s heartbeat. She was secretly missing her mother despite their strained relationship since her wedding.
“Rene?” called out a woman’s voice.
The voice soothed her. The next thing she knew, Lisa–her mother–was by her bedside, holding her hand tightly. It was all the analgesic she would need, Rene thought. In that instant, Rene knew she ought to stop resisting the pain. Instead, she started noticing the changes her body was undergoing to make way for her baby. The pain suddenly seemed more tolerable.
“You came…” was all an overwhelmed Rene managed.
“I’ve missed you terribly,” her mother confessed.
Rene found herself reminiscing. Lisa had always been a beacon of light in her life. Her mother had been a ready-reckoner on how to take joy and sorrow alike in one stride. During Rene’s childhood, her mother had been a partner in crime. During her teens, her mother had been a best friend, cushioning her fall. When she had started working, her mother had become a gossip partner. A punching bag and a confidante, her mother had guided Rene all along.
At any moment now, her mother would become a grandmother. Very soon, new-born cries filled the room. With that, Rene’s pain subsided and made way for pleasure and joy. Through the exhaustion, Rene saw her husband and her mother cradling the infant together. Hostility between them suddenly seemed a thing of the past.
“I misunderstood him. Perhaps, I was being over-protective,” Lisa admitted, kissing her granddaughter and placing her gently in Rene’s arms.
Rene smiled. “I already know that, mom.”
“You will make a wonderful mommy, darling,” her mother reassured.
“I have a wonderful role model,” Rene told her.