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My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 64

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, has been sharing her stories of life in the war. With her mother and siblings, she left Syria and is now in Switzerland, where she’s dealing with a new marriage, her first pregnancy and the potential breakup of her family.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 4 minutes

The miner sees a mirage. He sees something glimmer, and believes that he’s struck gold. He keeps digging and digging, but finds only the glimmer, not the gold itself. He doesn’t know if he will ever find what he’s after, or if he should just stop, give up and turn away from the fool’s gold sparkling in front of him. I have been that miner ever since I arrived in Switzerland.

My marriage brought with it a sliver of happiness, placing me under the illusion that I was safe and that all was well. I thought that if I wanted it and strived for it, one day I would feel safe. But things are only getting more and more complicated. Unanticipated problems are constantly popping up, bringing me back to chaos and loss – two things that I had my fill of at home in Syria during the hell my country went through.

One of my problems is the little child who is coming – the one in my belly right now, who will enter into my unstable life. The thought of him coming sends me into the middle of an inescapable vortex. This vortex, full of darkness and fear, makes me think and ask: What misery is waiting for this poor creature? What kind of bad education will he receive from a mom who is exhausted, sad and in pain? Will I pass on to him all the pain and suffering, these incurable diseases I’ve contracted during our crisis in Syria?

These questions control my thoughts completely. I cannot find any answers to calm me down or diminish my confusion. Recently, I’ve realized that this is a test that requires me to make the hardest decision of my life. I have to be strong and wise. I must create some objective distance and look at things rationally. Practically, I am pulled to somehow get rid of the problem, but my heart stops me every time I think that way. I cannot be the one to kill such great happiness for anyone, especially not my husband, who becomes happier and healthier the more this child within me grows.

I feel that way when I look into my husband’s eyes. I see nothing but love and devotion. All of my hope comes from him, and that truly stops me, not because I’m scared of him, but because I feel that I must make a sacrifice for that love. I know that my decision to keep the baby will cost me a lot of physical and psychological work. But honestly, this is the first time that I have felt like I am a real wife – a wife who makes sacrifices for her husband, a wife who is no longer a dependent kid being taken care of by her dad, but rather, a giving wife who works hard to keep her life going and to establish a family. When I think about running away from my responsibility as a mom, I get a feeling that starts a debate within me, revealing the full range of my weaknesses. I will not run, and I will not back away, and I will try with all of my might to become a real mom and an exemplary wife.

If I disregard all of the negativity that it planted within me, the Syrian crisis has taught me to have strength and to face challenges. I will face my challenges. That is my final decision. Now, I am working on programming my brain in such a way that the coming of this baby will bring me indescribable happiness for my home – my child will become the medicine that will cure me of my problems. I want to rid myself of the negativity that has come into my life since I discovered I was pregnant. I realize completely that what I am saying is not an easy thing to do. But this is not impossible. I also know that this child is not the only challenge that I will face. Who knows what challenges await me in the future? Perhaps they are tougher than what I have already faced.

The second-largest issue affecting my life at the moment is the return of my family to Germany. I am scared that when they travel my weakness will return because through all of this, through the past five years of violence and sadness and fear, we have always stuck together and given each other strength … I’m reminded of the aphorism about wooden matches, about how it is difficult to break them all together, as a group, while it is very easy to break them in isolation, one by one. Sticking together as a family gives us strength. Unfortunately, the resettlement laws in Europe do not recognize that.

My mother is a strong woman. She is trying hard to stay here in Switzerland, doing everything in her power in the hope that we will find a way to stay together. But I’m afraid that despite her best efforts, we are losing the battle. She even tried sending a request to the German government, imploring them to allow us to stay here together. I went to visit her recently, after being unable to see her for 10 days because I was sick. She seemed tired, but her eyes shone with hope. She never lets go of that hope to keep us safe. Sometimes I am amazed by her. I wish I could be like her because despite the circumstances, despite her weariness, she always manages to give me strength. When she is close to me, I feel that we are overflowing with safety. She charges me with strength. When I saw her, my optimism rose and my ability to give, despite my sadness, gained strength. I felt, once again, the power and the will to create happiness for my husband, for my child and for myself.

Maybe a better life is waiting for me, hidden beyond all those hurdles. I must admit that I have started to seriously feel a happiness I’ve never felt before. It is a magical feeling to have a child within me, and to feel myself becoming a mom, but the idea of my family ending up somewhere else hurts me. I hope that the hearts of the governments of Switzerland and Germany will soften toward us. I hope that, somehow, we will be allowed to stay together. But I’m scared that soon my small family may be split apart.

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