By Hannah Yeoh
What do pregnancy and elections have in common?
As the nation waits in anticipation for soon-to-be-held elections, this week I am 25 weeks pregnant with my second child. That is just crossing the six month milestone. I use ‘milestone’ because for a pregnant woman, every week that passes by is an achievement, bringing us one week closer to delivery.
Bear with me as I go through some description of pregnancy, before I explain how this relates to politics. The American Pregnancy Association reports the following:
There are approximately 6 million pregnancies every year throughout the United States. Of this number, there are:
- 4,058,000 live births
- 1,995,840 pregnancy losses
Two million American women experience pregnancy loss yearly. That is more than 30% of all pregnancies! Of this figure:
- 600,000 losses are by miscarriage
- 1,200,000 losses are through termination
- 64,000 losses are by ectopic pregnancy
- 6,000 losses are through molar pregnancies
- 26,000 losses are by stillbirth
While some women experience fairly easy and comfortable pregnancies, others do not. My first trimester was fairly tough. My body felt like shutting down immediately after lunch coupled with occasional dizzy spells. This was challenging when I had to drive to meetings. When I ate, I wanted to throw up. The stomach felt hunger but the throat felt extreme fullness. It was a confusing time. Nothing felt quite right.
As you approach the final trimester, your legs are all swollen. You become simply too heavy to move around. Sleeping can be painful. My hair looks like a dry nest. Your face is swollen and hormones can wreck your appearance.
The discomfort mentioned is precisely why pregnant women look forward to delivery. I remember when I gave birth to my firstborn Shay Adora, I was most delighted (not just because the pregnancy has finally come to an end).
There was pure unspeakable joy when my eyes met hers. She stopped crying when she recognised my voice. I could finally hold her in my arms. At that moment, all the discomfort I had felt, was transformed into great comfort. Nine months of ‘construction’ in the womb had finally borne fruit.
How does the pregnancy experience relate to politics in this nation?
We are approaching the 13th General Elections very soon, possibly nearing the final “trimester” of the pre-election period. There is great discomfort and restlessness throughout the nation, from politicians to the man on the street.
Political talks intensify in the news, in meetings, in the coffee shops and just about everywhere. Mainstream media will jump at every opportunity to highlight disagreements amongst the federal opposition, no matter how trivial.
The discussion on potential candidates will heighten. Those who may not be fielded may resort to criticising their parties openly. All this will then be highlighted to display disunity. When that happens, Malaysians reading the news may become disillusioned.
Party workers may throw in the towel. Voters may become disheartened to the extent they may not come out to vote. Just like the 30% pregnancy loss, some may ‘abort’ the attempt for change whether intentionally or unintentionally (through no fault of their own).
Can a country be born in one day? Can a nation be born in a moment? Let us all be mindful about the complications involved in bringing about change that our nation so badly needs. There is an imminent miracle awaiting us, a new future waiting to be born.
May this serve as an encouragement to us all to keep believing, keep enduring and let us finish running the final lap of this race. For those veterans who have been running for a long time before us, I salute you for your endurance and for not giving up all these years. We the younger generation are the beneficiaries of your sacrifices.
Every successful pregnancy has a baby in sight. Similarly, in the impending elections, we have nothing to lose. A breakthrough is forthcoming. Hang in there as we navigate the nauseous, anxious, and sometimes uncomfortable moments. When we finally get there, it will be worth it. Remember, the best is yet to come! -The Rocket