As i was reading on qualitative research methods, i came across a talk by feminist scholar Cynthia Cockburn. These ideas seem interesting to consider for my research but more so, they spoke to me about what i have been doing (exploring might be more accurate) here…
It’s common ground among memory researchers that a given memory shouldn’t be taken as “truth” but rather as evidence, to be interrogated, mined for its meanings and its possibilities. A memory should be seen as something to be critically interpreted in terms of both form and content. Both individual and collective memories of given events and moments change with the passage of time. Memory studies aren’t just concerned with the past. The crucial thing is they’re about the relationship between past and the present.
And as to the photographs… They may seem like representations of historical events and moments that may be understood at a glance – but photos are tricky things. They’re not transparent in this way. […] A photograph is contradictory because on the one hand it has a secure indexicality, it can be traced back to an actual time and place. But perversely, its meaning actually changes as time passes.
(Source : « Using photography in connection with social research », http://www.cynthiacockburn.org/BlogPhotographyinResearch.pdf)
Everything changes so fast in a baby’s life.
As soon as I have the impression of figuring out Aimé’s routine, it changes, sometimes radically.
As soon as I am delimiting the outer edges of what he can and cannot do, he learns new skills.
As soon as I think I am grasping some sort of essence of who he is, he transforms.
I can’t describe his personality yet. Lire la suite
L’année dernière, à un moment particulièrement difficile de mon deuil, alors que la réalité de la mort de Paul me pesait de tout son poids, au sortir des premières semaines passées dans un brouillard qui avait adouci un peu le choc de son départ, j’ai entendu parler du projet de livre d’Emily Long, Invisible Mothers.
Emily souhaitait parler à des mamans n’ayant pas d’enfant vivant. Et moi, j’avais besoin de parler, de dire l’histoire de Paul et la mienne. Je suis heureuse d’avoir pu apporter une toute petite pierre à la construction de son livre, et je suis honorée de partager aujourd’hui un magnifique texte d’Emily, à la veille du lancement de son livre.
Last year, at a particularly difficult time in my mourning process, while the reality of Paul’s death really hit me after the foggy first weeks, I heard about the Emily Long’s book, Invisible Mothers.
At the time, Emily wanted to talk to mothers who had no living children. And I needed to talk, i needed to tell Paul’s story — and mine, as i was just coming to terms with his absence. I am happy to have been able to bring a small stone to the construction of her book, and I am honored to share a beautiful piece written by Emily, who will be launching her book tomorrow.
When my first daughter died, everything changed.
How I looked at life.
My level of trust in the goodness of life.
What it meant to be alive.
How I loved.
How I saw the world.
What I thought about myself and who I was.
My sense of security in the world.
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On facebook earlier today, i came across this post, titled This is what the Syrian refugee crisis looks like. Don’t look away.
There was no trigger warning. How could there be? The link displayed a gut-wrenching image in a large size. A young Syrian boy, dead, on a Turkish beach. Another victim of is being called a « migrant crisis ».
I cried when i saw this image, like i have cried in front of other images of refugees, of children suffering, of our humanity being questioned by the way we treat each other on a global scale. I cried, thinking of this child’s parents, wherever they are, of how desperate they mut have felt to embark on such a dangerous journey with their little boy, of the pain they must feel now — if their lives weren’t claimed by the Mediterranean sea.
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when you have fallen asleep in my lap
i carefully hold the book over your head
i turn the pages quietly
making sure not to wake you up
in another universe
in someone else’s life
but often i raise my eyes to take in all of you
but i come back to you
your fragrant skin
the folds in your forearms
your long eyelashes
is to escape
i want to be here and now
This post was inspired by The Prompt.
Click here for more posts around the weekly prompt « To read »:
On February 1st, 2014, my baby died. His name was Paul. He was four weeks old.
The shock caused by his death was so violent i had the impression i would not survive it. I was hurting and crying so much i thought i would die. It’s not that i wanted to end my life, just that i wanted so hard to not exist. For weeks, i could not imagine surviving, let alone living a fulfilling life again. I had already experienced important losses. Both my parents were had died by the time i was 18, so i thought i knew grief. But the pain of losing Paul was so immense, incomparable to any other. Lire la suite
How do you find calm in the turmoil and agitation?
Somewhere in me, i know i need to wait for this baby to be ready to come on his/her own, i know stressing out doesn’t help me, and doesn’t make time speed up as i wish it would. I know my state of mind in this limbo between when bébé-lentille could have been here and when s/he will be is not unique. Mothers have lived through this anxious time forever — or at least for a few decades as the timing of birth has become more and more predictable and precise.
I need to be patient, i need to find calm, and peace.
I need to find a way to stay in this inner space that allows me to stop waiting and just be.
I thought bébé-lentille would be here with us by now, that i would be able to hold him/her in my arms. But i need to remember i am not the one to decide when this will happen. I need to release this urge to control the unfolding of the next few days.
I need to find a way to rest, to wait, to relax.
Perhaps then, in this space between calm and excitation, filled with love and expectation, i will be able to open myself entirely to welcome my may-baby.
Inspired by The Prompt… More posts about Calm here :
I have been trying to stay busy and not focus all day on how I am looking forward to bebe-lentille’s birth. Yesterday as I was browsing Netflix looking for a way to fill an hour or two, I came across a documentary I had been wanting to watch for a couple of years but had missed when it was shown in theatres, Pink Ribbons, Inc., by Lea Pool. It is a 2011 documentary based on a 2006 book by Samantha King, Pink Ribbons, Inc., Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy.
The film explores the industry that has grown around breast cancer awareness campaigns in the last decades, from the birth of the pink ribbon symbol to wide-scale “pinkwashing” as a marketing tool for corporations that often participate in the distribution of products linked to cancer (cosmetics, bovine growth hormone-boosted dairy product, etc.). Pool conducts in-depth interviews with researchers, activists and women dealing with breast cancer, whether they identify as patients, survivors or allies, questioning the large social consensus supporting pink-ribbon initiatives across North America and beyond.
Pink Ribbons, Inc. offers a lot to take in and reflect upon – interests of large corporations, including those that belong to the “pharmaceutical industrial complex”, lack of fundamental research and prevention, racial and class-based biases in research and treatment, etc. – but I thought one of the most interesting aspect of the movie was the discussion around the cheerful discourse that has become associated with the “fight for the cure”. Lire la suite
Last week, P. and I went to Detroit to visit my brother, sister-in-law and brand-new-adorable niece, S..
An intense journey, both physically — a very long drive for my very pregnant self — and emotionally. A travel through space, through time, in a way, as i was reliving vicariously the vertiginous first few days with a baby, but also a travel into an unknown, unexplored reality.
A reality in which my little brother is now a dad, in which he is learning to parent as i struggle not to be able to have more perspective on this role i should be well acquainted with by now. The jealousy and envy i have felt at some points since knowing Paul would have a cousin before i could give him a brother or a sister has receded, but as the days pass, i wonder how i will feel once S. reaches and sails past 28 days of life. I don’t know what to make of this reality but accept it exists, and go along with it.
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“It could never happen to me,” is a lie people tell themselves in order to put the most distance between themselves and what happened. Yet distance is not what’s needed when tragedy strikes. What’s needed is the bravery to close the gap by stepping right inside, square in the middle of someone’s pain. And just be with them in it. Which means feeling all of it too. Terrifying– I know– but imagine how much more terrified your loved one is. You at least get to go back to your normal life. This is their new normal– forever.
A few words from a thought-provoking piece by Angela Miller, published today at Still Standing Magazine.
I was incredibly lucky not to face the kind of devastating comments the author speaks of (“How did you let this happen?!!”). Instead, I heard the doctors who took care of Paul tell me several time « This is not your fault ». I heard these words coming from people close to me too. And they told me again and again I was still Paul’s mom, and that P. and I were good parents. Lire la suite