March 21, 2022

One of the meanings of my name, Akshata, is - unbroken, complete. I’ve always loved my name (good job, parents!), but it took me the most difficult experience of my life, to truly understand it.


In January 2020, I found out that I was pregnant. I remember feeling excitement and dread - that nothing would ever be the same again. And it wasn’t. With my mixed feelings, the uncertainty of a long distance relationship and some convinction, my ex-fiancé and I decided to terminate the pregnancy.


But the naive, practical, pro-choice me had miscalculated and grossly underestimated the emotional impact it would have on me. I went through the procedure alone, didn’t stop to take a day off work and spoke about it to no one for months, except my partner. Being isolated with my thoughts during the peak of a pandemic, didn’t help. An already unstable, unhealthy relationship ended. An already unstable self-image and my emotional stability crumbled.


Do I regret it? No. I’ve always stood by the decision.


Do I wish things were different? Yes, everyday.


But that’s the beauty of life. Humans are built with natural resilience. They have a knack of justifying everything. If bad X didn’t happen, good Y wouldn’t happen. And I discovered my own ability and strength to do that.


I learned to process pain and grief and connect more deeply with others. To come out of my pity-party and laugh without restraint, again. I learned to be grateful for all the amazing people who were in my life and entered my life after that. Old friends who showed up, new ones who gave me strength, my therapist who unboxed the demons in my head, parents who stood by me, teammates who worked hard with me towards creating meaning, mentors who inspired me and lovers who made me believe in butterflies and emotional intimacy again. I learned to be grateful for having been in Singapore, where I had had the freedom to choose without judgement, for moments of quiet comfort and peace in old haunts, and for books which talked to me when I didn’t want to talk anyone else.


I would have named my baby, Keisa. He/She would have been born, probably, September 13 - Roald Dahl’s birthday. I fondly call it my Bubble. There is not a day in my life that I don’t miss my Bubble. And there is not a day that it doesn’t make me push my limits further.


Sometimes I felt I couldn’t go on. But I worked through it 5 minutes at a time, remembering that I had to justify living for two, not one. There were situations that scared the hell out of me - but I took the leap, because very few things would have been harder. I have mothered children - just couldn’t do it for my own, and I carried the weight and maybe slightly delusional guilt of that, for the longest time.


Everyone moves on differently. Some move on by tuning it out and forgetting about it. Some move on with grudges and hatred. I moved on, by letting it be part of my life, letting it be my inspiration, strength and my reason to add value to the world, while I live.


This is a deeply personal post. And I thought a lot about the decision of making it public. I decided to do it anyway.


Sometime back, an acquaintance shared a similar personal experience. I recognized the pain, guilt and loneliness. But I didn’t reach out. We all have an evolutionary instinct to hide our vulnerabilities. I did and do too. However, it is almost never the vulnerability itself, but the fear of being judged for it that makes us weaker for it.


What I have struggled with the most, is the fact that I never let my Bubble have a real identity. This post, is me fixing that.


We are all unique. And we all deserve to be accepted for who we are, exactly how we are - and most of all, we deserve to be accepted by ourselves.


So, for whatever it’s worth, we are all unbroken, complete.