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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Giving meaning to one's own suffering - a real life story !

This is a beautiful e-mail I received from a reader of my blog (now my friend).  I wanted to share this e-mail with you all for two reasons: her life is so inspirational; she found a meaning in her life after her irreplaceable loss, and she has used her pain and suffering to shape her destiny for the better; she has also asked me a very soul-stirring question - “What is your memorial to your children?” This is a very thought provoking, life-changing question. Thanks a lot ‘H’ for your kind e-mail; for your willingness to reach out to me; for sharing your story and your wisdom with me. I hope many who go through suffering as a result of infertility will get the courage to infuse meaning to their life when they read your mail. 
Manju I am delighted to have a message from you!
I am sometimes not sure if people gain comfort from another person sharing their own story with someone whose loss is still so raw:  only 3 months for you.  I will for now just share some basic information about my story.  I am of course very happy to share more and answer any questions you have if you think it would help and enable you to move forward.  Please do not read on if you feel it might be too painful.
A few years ago, I had a career, had been married 10 years and had been trying to conceive for many years.  After a little help I became pregnant and my boys were due in January 2002.  My boys arrived at 20 weeks and my life fell apart.  Today I am single, a paediatrician and about to start another chapter of my life.  So how did I get here you might be thinking? I was so distraught by how I was treated by the medical profession whilst losing my sons; I thought I can do a better job than that.  All this pain and emotional turmoil has to be for a reason:  I needed to turn a negative into a positive.  Somehow, even at my relatively advanced age of 35 for a student, I managed to get into Medical School and my aim was to be an obstetrician.  Being in another part of the country was a new start; my studies distracted me from being buried in a world of sorrow.  People did not know me in my new city, they did not know my story and they did not treat me any differently. I could choose to share my pain only with those I chose and those who cared.  I was not plunged into awkward situations with people who barely knew me plus those who did know me most of who did not know what to say to me.  I initially went back to my career.  It was tough.  People would come into the store where I worked and could see I was no longer pregnant and thought I had my baby.  Other people, even those I would have considered friends outside of the work place sometimes crossed the street to avoid me.  In the UK a 20 week loss is considered a miscarriage; in Australia it is considered a stillbirth.  My medical notes recorded it as a miscarriage.  Many people in the UK see a ‘miscarriage’ not as stillbirth.  I am not considered a real mother by the majority.  You and I know this is not true. 
During my time at Medical School and I had to do an Obstetrics & Gynaecology rotation study where I have to work in wards.  It was emotionally more than I could manage.  Although much to my surprise I enjoyed paediatrics and this had more to do with the types of personality possessed by those doing the job. I had no experience of live children and could not see what I had to offer.  For my Foundation Training, 2 years basic junior doctor training, I chose a rotation which had 4 months paediatrics to confirm if this was the right direction for me.   Now I am a Paediatric Registrar and I have 4 more years to become a Consultant Paediatrician.  At the time I lost my sons I could not work out why: why me, why this pain, what a waste of emotion, what have I done wrong, why some are people so awful, thoughtless and outright unkind.  I still struggle with how I was treated by the medical profession and it is that which hurts me the most even to this day.  I had put my trust in them and they have let me down.  If I had been treated promptly the outcome for one of my boys may have been different.  I was robbed of that chance by people I placed my trust in.  I could, and can, cope with the pain of losing my sons and my dreams but not with being denied a chance of getting the right treatment. 
 It was my determination to do things in a different way, to be a different doctor than the lady consultant I first met that fateful weekend, which lead me to Medical School.  I did not become an obstetrician. I became a paediatrician and that is my memorial to my sons.   What will be your memorial to your son and daughter?
Is your blog your memorial or is there more in you?
I would love to have another message from you and to read your blog posts again when you feel stronger. 

She is a great example of a person who has changed her life for better using her pain and suffering; she has proved that attitude is all that what matters in life. She had two options in front of her: to get depressed, bitter, angry and lose all hopes in life, or, to use the pain she underwent to become a better human. She chose the latter and that is what has made all the difference in her life.

What will be your choice when going through a suffering – to get bitter or better?

1 comment:

Please do write to me! It makes me happy :)

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