Saturday, May 28, 2011
Diary of a bereaved Mother: Testimony
Tonight, I made a special friend. Janice was calling the Powhiri (The traditional Maori welcome) to our visiting Fijian visitors. Then she explained the Hongi, generally known as the rubbing of noses, and the breathe of life. She explained if a baby is born without the breath, you smack it's bottom. In the hongi the ha, or breath of life, is exchanged and intermingled.
What she didn't know was seated at the back of the auditorium was me, who was impacted by this message, and modified my talk.
The title of my talk was Free to share.
Every year, nearly 600 babies are stillborn or die within 28 days of birth in New Zealand. Their parents do not feel free to share that they are bereaved because people just don't talk about it.
I was born in Borneo to a Chinese family. If I had remained in Borneo, I would be shackled by tradition. I would not have the freedom to share my story.
When I was in primary school, my aunt had her baby in the hospital. The baby died. Nobody was allowed to mention this baby. My mum paid $20 to a trishaw man to take the baby away to be disposed off as garbage.
The Chinese are shackled by this sad belief. They think that if a baby dies, his spirit will return to his mother and dwell in the body of her next baby. The next baby will die and the cycle goes on and on. If you give him a funeral, it makes it attractive to come back. But if you pretend that he was never born and treated a rubbish, he won't come back. You will bear healthy babies in future.
During the Powhiri, Janice Thomson talked about babies and the breathe of life. 21 years ago, on 29 Sept 1989, my baby son Andrew was born. He did not have the breathe of life even when he was smacked on his bottom. The doctors said he was dying that night. Amazingly, I had to wait 55 days. Long enough to love him. The wait was heart wrenching and I do not wish it on anyone.
On Good Friday, I launched my book. It covers my journey, the kindness of the post natal doctors and nurses, and sadly my disappointment and anger with the ante natal doctors.
When I went to my mother-in-law's house, I suffered the same fate as my aunty. My mother in-law told me to forget Andrew, burn his photos and get pregnant quickly. How could I?
I share my testimony publicly. Because you never know if it will impact someone and comfort them, or if some one will come and comfort me.
I survived because God sent friends/community to give me practical help, moral and spiritual support. He sent Olwyn who was always there for me.
God sent me his Holy Spirit as my comforter. I remember the Bible Verses I had memorised. These verses came to my mind in situations when I needed help. Assurance O f Answered prayer John 16.24 Assurance of victory 1 Cor 10:13
What had I gained from this excruciating experience?
An empathy for others, an ability to comfort.
A touching testimony to bring people to the Lord.
A reminder to myself that God had been great during my worst case scenario. God will continue to be with me.
In short, the good news is God did not fore sake me, and I did not reject God.
I wrote this book to inspire you, to tell you from experience that during trails and tribulations, Proverbs 3:5-6 is very real. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Janice came to sit beside me after the Powhiri, we briefly whispered before my talk. After my talk, she whispered that she too belongs to the exclusive club, the club nobody wants to belong too. See my synopsis. During dinner, a couple of women came up and said they too, are members of that club.