2021 Keyword: Reflection

I had to take a step back from work this year.

Unfortunately, I had to do so. But fortunately, I got to do that. Because I was told by a health professional that I needed time to heal. And in my heart, I knew I did.

Starting in March, I was on this journey called “healing while being pregnant”. It was chaotic in my head — many thoughts, sadness, anxieties, fears… I didn’t know when and how to start to feel better, what to do to make myself feel a little bit better. Even a painkiller would have done the trick.

But there’s no real healing from quick solutions like taking painkillers.

Pain is part of this journey. It can’t be erased. It can only be transformed.

And transformation needs time.

My instinct was to not think about anything else in my life but focus on my pregnancy. Yet the pregnancy can’t prevent me from thinking about my own mother, who passed away not long ago. 

Life has given me time to work intensively on the biggest trauma in my life. 

Because I needed time. If I kept working and running around in this world, this wouldn’t be possible.

Interesting timing.

So I started thinking about the word “motherhood”. Never pondered on it. Ever.

As someone who never wanted to become a parent, I pushed myself into finding the little hope in my heart, shining through the cracks in a think brick concrete wall called “cynicism”. And that, the “cynicism”, was just fear wearing a mask.

What came with the hope I found was reflection. Day and night.

I reflected on myself. Who am I and who do I want to be? Where does this kid stand in my world when it arrives?

I reflected on my mother. Who she was and how she was like as a mother?

I reflected on my own childhood. How was it and what has possibly caused me to be me today? Both the pleasant and the unpleasant parts.

How do other people raise their children? What kind of mothers are they? 

I watched documentaries about babies and read books on children’s early development. I saved articles on the psychological impact of childhood on people, and mother-child relationship dynamics and their effects on the children’s lives.

I was restless.

Now I’m here. A baby in my arms.

I feel happy and peaceful.

I still relentlessly reflect on everything. I’m here, and still going on the journey of healing.

But I’m proud to say it’s been going well.

I’ve started this journey and been doing well without even noticing it. 

All thanks to focusing on my one and only task: learning about motherhood and parenting through reflection.

And when gratitude comes as a by-product of this process, healing is working in the background, silently.


Six roses for her

My mom was never a fan of gifting flowers.

“Such a waste of money.” She said, “They are beautiful, but will die in a few days… I will never buy them. And don’t gift them to me.”

She preferred something practical over something that costs more because of its appearance and what it represents.

“Better you don’t gift me anything at all.” She used to say to me, “Save your money for better use. I get the gesture. That’s all that matters.”

When I was in elementary school, I bought her a very pretty, fake ring. It had a blue plastic gem on its silver-like ring. It didn’t look fake at all — to the 9-year-old me.

With the same amount of money, I could have bought her a single carnation. But since I inherited her pragmatism, after selecting among different colors of gems and different ring designs, I picked that simplistic looked, blue ring.

“This will not just last longer than a fresh carnation. It’s also beautiful. Mom is going to love it.” I thought.

She did say she liked it. And she was happy too. But still, after thanking me, she spent a long time telling me the importance of saving my pocket money for more useful stuff, or “for emergencies”.

“Mama, why don’t you wear the ring I gave you?” I asked my mom a few days later. She wore it right after I gave it to her, for a few hours. But then I never saw it on her finger again. 

I was worried that she didn’t like the ring. 

I was worried that she’s still mad at me for spending money unwisely.

“Well, I can’t wear it all the time, since the sweat and water will soon make the beautiful color fade…”

“But mama, you know what it represents?” I looked at her, thinking whether I should say something more here.

“Of course.” She smiled, “I always know.”

As a child, I was told to show my love for my mom. But I didn’t know how to.

Besides buying her something, I didn’t know what to do to show her that I appreciated and loved her.

Now she’s gone.

Now I know even less about how to show her that I still love her.

Less than the 9-year-old me.

So I bought her flowers. 

They are sitting in front of her picture on my desk right now.

I’m thinking of her every day, missing her every day.

I’m giving my best to live the rest of my life.

I don’t think she will mind me spending the 3 euros for six roses.

Even if she still doesn’t like me buying her flowers, I believe she will understand.

She will understand that gift-giving is a two-way street.

Being able to show her my love in any way, even if not the perfect way she’d like, is what I need.

Getting a response, even if a short complaint about wasting money, would still be perfect.

It was not exactly what I wanted to hear when I was 9. But at least reassuring.

Now it is impossible to get one.

All I can do now is to let the roses bloom for a while. For her. 

That’s what I need now.