“What kind of a mother are you,” screamed a lady, “who can’t even take care of a baby…sleeping all the time…kaamchor (lazy asshole)…keeping a babysitter, cook and maid…you can’t even handle household chores or a husband, not to even speak of mothering a baby.”
“Look, I will pay for your medication as and when I can, or else find a job to help support yourself”, said a man. “I have to spend money on bills, my parents’ treatments, as well as my personal expenses.”
“You need to adhere strictly to your medication, Jyoti”, warned a family doctor. “The way you are taking it, neither on time, nor everyday, can put you at risk. Please give your health the top priority – or else you will succumb to the virus and go into a second line which will then be more expensive than the present one you are taking now.”
All these voices rang in my ears…screaming mother-in-law, irresponsible husband and concerned doctor. I was putting my life at risk. If there was something I had to do, then it was only I who could get things done – instead of depending on others, irrespective of the consequences or the result.
My Viral Load count was not so good with detectable levels and my CD4 count lingered between 300-400. I needed to fight back. I love life, and even if that meant I might lose some part of me, which I might or might not get back, what mattered now was to live. And LIVE I did – though I LOST something in return.
Looking back, I have NO REGRETS. I signed the divorce papers after I found that he was in love with someone else, planning and preparing to get me out of the way so as to marry the girl. Moreover I divorced him because I felt that he found spending money on my medication was of “no value” – I say this because despite the doctor’s repeated advice, he failed to provide me with what I needed the most. And my life was at stake!! I went out in search of a job, that too outstation, leaving my child behind under the care of a babysitter, which resulted in my mother-in-law hating and verbally abusing me and my husband finding this an excuse to call off the marriage completely. No matter how hard I tried to save it, it was beyond repair. Therefore to “gain” my life, I “lost” a home, family and my child.
6 years later:
- Undetectable Viral Load
- CD4 count between 600-700
- Happily re-married to HIV-negative partner who provided a loving home and great in-laws
One thing void in my heart is my child – who is now all grown up – an 8-year-old intelligent boy. I doubt if he even remembers his “real” mother – but when the time comes, I will see him too.
About the writer:
Jyoti Dhawale is an HIV activist, writer, blogger and a front runner campaign into breaking the myth, stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV being HIV positive herself and telling her story, her experience and sharing knowledge. Also Community Advisor Board for The Well Project (USA), International Steering Member for Prevention Access Campaign (USA), Brand Ambassador for Being Positive (Bangalore), she has worked with countless number of NGOs, holding talk shows and blogging. Her interest is vast though travelling, motorsports and photography top the list.
Editor’s note: This blog post has been published with permission from the writer. The original blog post was published on The Well Project