You Almost Killed My Wife
I’m not sure that I want any more children. When I was young, I promised my mother a bunch of grandkids. I wanted a basketball team that my future wife and I could coach through all of life’s challenges. I was idealistic, naïve, and hopeful. I didn’t know how hard raising one human, let alone multiple could be. I didn’t know how difficult it is for many couples to even conceive and carry a child to term. I didn’t know that Black women are three times more likely than white women to die due to pregnancy-related complications. I didn’t know much. Having grown up in a home filled with people, a large family felt natural. I wanted to be surrounded by love and love my children as my mother loved me.
This isn’t a tragedy. This is a love letter to the Black woman that I married. It’s a love letter to the Black woman that raised me. It’s a love letter to every Black person that has, will, or wants to experience giving birth.
“Babe, can you come here for a minute? I need your help.”
Those are the words that I’ll never forget; the words that made me stop pacing our living room, hands in pockets and eyes fixed on our gray tiled floor. Those are the words that brought me down the hall, feeling the perspiration gather on my brow; the words that made me enter the bathroom unaware of what to expect. Those are the words that I’ll remember, accompanied by a full, heavenly grin, and a pregnancy test with a blue plus.
“You’re pregnant! Are you serious?”
I wrapped her in my arms, suddenly unaware of what else to do with my hands. We exchanged a kiss and she asked, “Are you happy?” I ran into the hallway and jumped up and down for a full minute before her question registered. Happy couldn’t begin to describe what I was feeling.
“She’s hyperventilating. When she gets like this, it’s easier for her not to talk. Give her a minute.”
We were in the hospital. There was a complication that required additional tests and a risky procedure, and we were only four months in. The doctor kept touching Kandace, despite the recoil…