Friday, August 26, 2011

For the bravehearted

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of supportive comments, private emails, sms/whatsapp messages, etc. following my last post. It is a blessing to know that there are prayers and good vibes being sent our way. On behalf of our little family, thank you all so very very much.

There were some wonderful ladies who shared with me their own losses and their own personal journeys (in the comments and via private email) and I want to specifically thank those ladies for speaking up. Those are brave, strong women.

My resolution for this year was to live in the present. Not to worry about what might or might not happen in the future, not to fret over the past. This experience put me to the test.

I know many people, including myself, who want another child but who will never tell you outright that they are trying. In public, they dismiss it casually, like an afterthought - "Oh, if it happens, it happens". Or they give the impression that they're halfhearted about it - "We want to, but we have no time/no help/no childcare options/no money/no space/[insert any excuse you can think of]". I've even heard, "We're trying but not actively" (I have no idea what that means). We keep looking at the "ifs" and "buts" and we distract ourselves from the present.

Maybe we don't want to tempt fate, maybe we don't want to jinx things, maybe we just don't want to share. More often, I think that we want to protect ourselves from disappointment. The more we want something, the more disappointed we feel when we don't get it, and most of the time, we want that baby pretty badly. So we feign indifference, we act nonchalant, we behave as if it's not a big deal. All the while, we're secretly crossing our fingers for that positive pregnancy test.

When we do get pregnant, we become even more secretive. We think that the pregnancy is not yet stable so we can't share the news. We think that the secrecy protects us and our baby. In truth, it makes no sense at all. If the pregnancy goes well, all logic will tell you that keeping things secret was not the reason for success. Now, what if the pregnancy does not go well? We then find ourselves isolated in our grief. Nobody knew about the baby so there's nobody to listen to our sadness, nobody to tell us that things will be all right. There is the husband, but nobody else. And the husband, not wanting to burden his grieving wife further, has nobody. So, having kept the pregnancy a secret, we then bury its loss. As if it never happened. As if it was too insignificant to be remembered. We put on our happy face and attack life with a vengeance. Now we shouldn't be moping around being miserable forever but we should allow ourselves time to grieve. If we don't acknowledge it, if we don't respect it, if we don't permit ourselves to mourn it, if we try to bury it or toss it off casually, we may never heal completely. And all this pretense and secrecy ain't helping us one bit.

Yes, it's not easy to listen to your heart, to embrace life's ups and downs, to keep the faith, to live fully in the present. It takes a brave woman to shout out and admit that yes! she's trying! and trying hard! for a baby. It takes confidence for a newly pregnant woman to declare her pregnancy and in doing so, make herself vulnerable to disappointment. And, in the wake of loss, it takes courage to tell others, "I didn't make it and I'm devastated that I didn't."

Well, I got the last one ticked off. The next time round, I'll get the first two.

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt.
Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."


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