by Jennie S. Bev
Life is a series of impermanence. People and things come and go. There are hellos and goodbyes throughout our lifetime. But the most painful goodbye for a woman is the death of her child, either born or unborn. I did not realize how painful it was until I experienced it recently.
Unknowingly already pregnant for seven weeks, suddenly I was pronounced expecting only to find out a few hours later that the baby had died. The surreal elated feeling of joy was suddenly overridden by deep profound sadness, the rare kind of grief experienced only by mothers who have lost their children. Every mother who has lost a child remembers him or her in every breath she takes for as long as she lives.
Two veins were one once and to be separated by death is more than profoundly saddening. It is heartbreak of the highest order. Perhaps it is only comparable to the death of a parent or a spouse.
As a mother-to-be who did not even know there was a new life inside her, I looked back and was able to see the overlooked signs of pregnancy glow and joy. I was happy and caring towards the world around me. I laughed a lot and was very accepting. My heart was opened in a way I had never experienced before.
I was giving much more than receiving and kept on going with an unknown source of energy, no matter how tired I felt during the weekdays, as if the whole world were my child to care for. I felt in love with the world once again that looked so rosy and bright, regardless of the economic turmoil that had just started at the time, during the first few weeks that I was pregnant.
My baby was a girl, not because the ultrasound confirmed it so, but a motherly instinct told me so. And I am now imagining her to be the sweetest, fair-skinned, little angel with rosy cheeks like mine, whose perfect nose looks like her father's.
But then I realize it was just a mirage. She did not live long enough to be born into this world. I blamed myself on the causes of her death. Was it because of all those crunches I did every morning at the gym? Was it because of all those weekend hikes at Lake Del Valle? Was it because of my burning the midnight oil trying to finish up with tasks at hand?
My OB/GYN physician, however, was convinced that it was a "typical" early trimester miscarriage caused by chromosome issues. In layman term, it was probably a weak fetus or even a fetus that did not have what it took to develop in a way that was meant to be. It was probably a weak fetus that did not have what it took to survive after being born. He assured me that it was better this way.
My baby was alive for seven weeks inside my womb. And to die that soon, it was better than seven years after being born into the world, which would only cause more pains and sufferings to herself and her parents. And to die that soon, some people believe that it was her good fortune for not being born into this chaotic, confusing and noisy world.
In a certain religious belief, babies who are not fortunate enough to be born into the world are the most fortunate because they get to stay in heaven with God. And in my belief in which life starts at conception, a baby is still a baby, no matter how small.
I loved and will continue to love my baby, my little angel who is now waiting for me somewhere in the afterlife. I will continue to mourn her, throughout my lifetime, as she was my first child. The doctor said I can always have other babies, which was quite comforting but also nightmarish because the other babies conceived in the future would not be the baby I lost.
For seven weeks, I was a mother. It was better than none at all. I was given the privilege to carry her inside me, no matter how short. And this, I will treasure throughout my lifetime. I promise to remember her for all those beautiful weeks that she was alive rather than the one day she died.
A good friend of mine cheered me up by saying, "With or without a baby, Jennie, you are still one strong and gorgeous woman." And that put a smile on my face. With my baby watching over me in every dancing step I take, it is like having an extra guardian angel.
I won't let you down, my baby. Your samurai mother just has a bleeding heart, but now the wound is healing. Once it is healed, she will fly high again like an eagle to captivate and mesmerize the world. Once more.
The Jakarta Post, December 2, 2008