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My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 63

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, stopping off in Turkey before making the precarious crossing to Greece by boat. Now in Switzerland, she describes her life in a new country.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 4 minutes

In most cases, the body hosts disease for a long time before the symptoms begin to show. It seems that what I experienced back in Syria was similar – the symptoms developed only after I left.

The most difficult symptom is the mood swings: I go from extreme elation to extreme sadness, seemingly at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I even amaze myself – I don’t understand all of the emotions that are housed inside my body. What scares me is that there is a new life growing within this sick soul of mine.

Only two months after getting married, I discovered that I was pregnant. A little human being with a heart and a soul is growing inside of me. I did not mean to get pregnant – it just happened. How should I feel? Should I be happy? Should I be sad? I don’t know.

My reaction to the news was very strange, and it hurt my husband, who could not comprehend what was going on inside of me.

I was so exhausted by the move to our new apartment that I fainted, and they rushed me to the doctor. When I opened my eyes, I saw my husband standing next to me, with a big smile on his face, happiness nearly gushing out of his eyes.

He told me, his voice trembling, that I was going to have a baby and that he was going to be a father in a few months. There was love, care and appreciation in his voice, as if I had just given him the most precious gift in the world, but my reaction destroyed his happy world. I was stressed. I began to scream that I didn’t want the baby. I literally shattered his happiness, which I fear is becoming a special skill of mine. What is happening to me?

He was silent until we arrived back home, and then he asked me about the reason behind my extreme reaction. Was it because I didn’t want his baby? Was it because I was scared? Was it because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with him?

I couldn’t answer because I didn’t have any convincing reason to give him, or maybe I was just too embarrassed to tell him the reason. What do I say to him? Do I tell him that I don’t think that I’m qualified to raise a baby? Do I tell him that I cannot carry such responsibility? Do I tell him that I’m afraid that after all of the oppression I suffered, I might become a tyrant with our child? I blanketed myself in silence. I was stressed out for three days, but then I turned to my mother. I told her how I was afraid that the curse of war might follow my child. She laughed and said, “Wait until you feel him moving inside of you, and then come talk to me.”

In some moments, I just want to get rid of the baby, and be done with everything, but I stop myself because I know that this decision is not mine alone to make. Other times, I look at my body and I imagine how it will change, and I wonder about the movement inside of me that my mom mentioned. I do want to experience it. I do want to be a mother, but I’m afraid that I won’t live up to that title.

However, when I see the flowers blooming in our neighborhood, I tell myself that there is beauty with everything that is newly born, and spring is how the world is reborn every year. I tell myself that this new baby might mean a whole new life and a whole new beginning for me, but soon that other feeling returns, and the past, present and future become dark. I don’t know if anyone can understand – I feel imprisoned, and the walls are closing in on me. I am suffocating. How weak I feel!

I hate being weak, and I always do my best to survive, but this time, it’s too much for me. I can’t tell my husband all of this. I know that he wants to become a father. This is his right, and it’s not my place to take it away from him. I can’t do this to him. I can’t do this to my baby. And I can’t do this to myself.

But what if I fail as a mother? I realize how important a mother’s role is, and I also realize how much mothers sacrifice, and I do not know if I am capable of such giving. I am tired. Not knowing what decision to make hurts. Not knowing what I want hurts even more. This is where I am. I no longer suffer from the bombs and bullets, but from the fears and illusions that my body now hosts. I call them illusions because I’m trying to deny that they are real.

The only solution I see is to ignore these feelings, and hope that they die from neglect. I truly want to have a baby and raise him to become a strong person, but … I don’t know what’s going to happen. I truly don’t.

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