This I remember like a movie in my mind. I was about to give birth in a provincial public hospital 14 years and 4 days ago today. I was crying in pain, maybe even excreting a bit. I was still not that “open” and I was lying down, bent like a twig. I was breathing hard and trying to breathe at the same time.
Then I heard a commotion. There’s a new mommy about to give birth coming in. My back was to the entrance of the hall and I cannot see what is happening. But I can hear them because for some reason, beyond my pain, their voices are so freaking loud.
There’s an interview ongoing. She said that this is her 8th baby. Doctor (or nurse maybe?) is asking for newborn baby diapers. (in public hospitals in the Philippines, this is not provided by the government) And she can’t (or her husband can’t) get them because they have no money for it. The doctor began ranting loudly about having more children than they can afford. This went on for about 3 minutes maybe. The lady about to give birth not saying anything. Then silence.
I remembered that I was in pain and about to give birth. I heard crickets.
Suddenly, doctor was on it again. Tatalian na kita ha! Kung hindi yung asawa mo ang puputulan ko! She proceeded to explain what would happen. Then the pregnant lady just suddenly lost it, crying violently and saying Wag po! Wag po! Maawa na po kayo! She was so vehement that I thought for a moment if I misunderstood something. Is someone killing somebody? I think I was a bit out of it because of the medicine and pain. But no, the doctor was offering a free ligate so she would not get pregnant again.
The doctor became livid and began shouting in equal loudness, Eh kaya ko nga gagawin yun dahil naawa ako sa inyo eh! Libre na! Di ko na pababayaran!
I could not remember what happened afterward. But I was thinking then, it was (is) surreal. During all that time. I was intensely curious and I wanted to get a glimpse of the woman, or the doctor, or even the reaction of the people around that tableau but I cannot move. So that was that.
All this in segue to this film in PBS titled Motherland. It’s showing this October 16 but I’m not entirely sure how to watch it. It looks like a channel in the United States. Motherland is a movie by Filmmaker Ramona Diaz about the busiest maternity hospital in Metro Manila, the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.
I hope I get to watch it and will be on the lookout for this movie. It looks very heartwarming.