On 12 November 2013, I stood alone our Istanbul home holding a positive pregnancy test. Hubby was away in Athens for a job interview. So I held my tummy and cried tears of joy for the bundle of joy that I never thought I wanted. Now that she (yes, she) was here, I knew I wanted her. Badly.
Over the next few days, I told my family over FaceTime and a close friend the news. Everyone rejoiced. They were excited about how beautiful our child would be, and how at the ripe old age of 34, it was time that I got pregnant. I started to write love letter to my baby since William wasn’t home for us to hold hands and chat the nights away.
Before being wheeled into the emergency room, I heard him telling William that the operation would cost seven thousand euros and that they needed us to pay before starting the operation since we didn't have any health insurance. At the same time, he stated very simply that if I did not have the operation immediately, I would die. At this point, I lost consciousness and was vaguely aware of being pushed around in a wheelchair.
The rest of the time that we were in Istanbul as I was recuperating, friends came to visit. I told them the story. Everyone said I should have gone to a doctor before. I said yes I know, I'm so stupid! I told them the story of the money. They were shocked. And we laughed about my first class room. I told them how lucky I was to have gotten there in time and how I thanked god that the bank was still open and we had the cash to pay for my life. Thank god. I'm fine.
I beat myself up because I have so much to be grateful for. Who am I to feel this way when so many other people have more serious problems in life? I have everything I want. I'm fine! What is wrong with me? Just snap out of it.
I never mourned the loss of my baby because I felt like I didn’t deserve to. What with all the mothers in the world who lost their grown children, to babies who were miscarried at 8 months. What right did I have to be in mourning over an ectopic pregnancy? When I didn’t even hear her heartbeat? When I only had her for a few weeks? When I didn’t even know enough to get a check-up in the first place?
Many women I know put other people first. We go through our whole lives trying to please our parents, friends, teachers, bosses, boyfriends, husbands and children. Trying, trying, trying and always seem to be failing. Right after coming out of the operation, and seeing the relieved faces of my husband and family that I was alive, I remember having the epiphany that all I had to do to please my loved ones was just to “BE”. That if I died, they would mourn the loss of ME. So all I had to do was BE ME.
One thing that brought me down when I was going through this were clichéd one-liners that well-meaning and loving friends said, like “don’t worry, I have a cousin/ friend/ sister/ colleague who went through the same thing and she got pregnant again very quickly after and now they have one/ two/ three/ twenty children”.
I’ve learnt lessons, but right at this very moment, I don’t regret anything at all. I know that I did my best the way I knew how. Sure I could’ve healed faster, and would’ve been happier and should’ve done some things better. But if I didn’t go through these months of darkness, I wouldn’t learn that eating disorders stem from something deeper than just wanting a perfect body, I wouldn’t feel the depths of my husband’s love and compassion for me, I wouldn’t know that death does not feel scary, and I wouldn’t appreciate just how precious and fragile and special every single life is.
After all, isn’t life but beautiful chapters woven into a book?
Heather also blogs at Heatherifications.
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