Her World

FEATURE OP-ED TEXT NATALYA RAHAYU PHOTOGRAPHY PHYLLICIA WANG ART DIRECTION RAY TICSAY HAIR AUNG APICHAI, USING KEVIN MURPHY MAKEUP LASELLE LEE, USING TOM FORD BEAUTY I first experienced what the life of a single mother would be like when I was 20 weeks pregnant. It was when my daughter’s father, John*, decided that he did not want to support the pregnancy financially. My pregnancy was tough – I am diabetic, and my organs were working to their limits (and failing gradually) as the pregnancy progressed. I was advised by doctors to terminate the pregnancy or risk organ failure. My body was rejecting the pregnancy severely, but the baby inside me had a very strong heartbeat. Each time I was advised to terminate, I would ask the doctors to do an ultrasound to see if she was healthy. And she was! I decided to keep going until I couldn’t. Whatever the outcome was, I was willing to accept my fate. The morning before I was scheduled to be wheeled into the operating theatre for my caesarean, John came. He reeked of alcohol and was drunk, so I told him to leave. The doctors and nurses told him to leave as well; he left without much resistance as he ironically did not want to make a scene. When I was being wheeled into the operating theatre, I started having seizures, which led to an emergency caesarean. lOv E moTHe R'S PoWe R OF A THE A single mother who has faced homelessness, an abusive relationship and health struggles, Natalya Rahayu has endured a challenging life journey, but one thing keeps the 41-year-old going: her daughter. 86 HERWORLD MAY 2023