A Brave New World

July 27, 2015


I am not a brave person.

When I was growing up, my idea of a courageous person was someone who charged forward into a battlefield, someone who bravely stood up to a crowd because they believed in something different. In my mind, these people were chosen for greatness and stepped up to this defining moment in their lives because they inherently had bravery in them.

But I was not a brave person.

Bravery was a quality that I didn’t possess, at least not the kind that demands greatness from you. I was someone ordinary. I was shy;  I kept to myself, and I followed all the rules that were designed to help you succeed in life. But then I found myself pregnant with my second daughter. I did everything that was designed to keep the baby happy and healthy while she grew. We saw her for the last time at her anatomy scan at 18 weeks. The following week she died quietly without me ever knowing.

I am not a brave person.

But the bravest thing I ever did was continue to live, after my child had died. It took everything in me to moving forward, it took every ounce of my being to not fall apart, to pick up all the broken pieces of my life, and somehow find meaning in them again.

To find myself again.

Losing my daughter was one of my greatest fears. I remember before my life had changed, that when hearing about other parents who had lost a child, I would always think “I would die if that happened to me – there is no way I could survive losing a child!”

But then, when I lost her, and made it out of the whole ordeal alive, I realized that she left me behind with an amazing gift: I am the bravest person I know.

I’ve lost her, and that’s the worst thing that can ever happen to me. I lived through it and here I am. Broken and battered, but still here. If the one thing designed to ruin you–to break you into pieces that will never fit like normal again–happened and you find yourself still standing:

You are the bravest person I know.

Courage isn’t always loud; it isn’t always the soldier on the battlefield, the social activist standing up for peace. Sometimes courage is the mother slowly treading forward into a new life without her child. Sometimes being brave doesn’t demand a greatness from you, sometimes you have to be brave, because that’s all you can be.

  • Malka Ahmed

    Malka Ahmed is a writer, and book critic and newborn photographer. She lives in Boston, MA with her two children and her husband of ten years. Her daughter Aurora was stillborn at 20 weeks, and things just haven't been the same. 

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