Why I Care About the Promise Walk? by Amy LynnMarch 22, 2012
Today to recognize the many reasons that we participate in the Promise Walk for Preeclampsia, we have a special guest blogger. Amy Lynn is a supporter of the Preeclampsia Foundation and a survivor of HELLP syndrome. She lives in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park with her husband, Brian, and their two boys, Gavin and Elliott. Professionally, Amy is an art therapist and licensed clinical psychologist with over a decade of experience working with women, children and families, and has her own practice in Chicago. In the years since her experience with preeclampsia, Amy has focused on resilience and growth, choosing to live life with purpose and meaning, which she calls “living with intention.” Her positive message can be found online on her blog “A Year of Positive Intention.”
There are many reasons I care about preeclampsia and the Promise Walk. Yes, as a therapist and feminist, I care deeply about women’s health issues. I care very much about advocating for research and awareness of a disease that is still silently killing women and babies; a disease that remains a leading cause of premature birth with all its complications and heartache; a disease that is linked to significantly increased heart health risks for women and complications in pregnancy.
But there is another reason.
His laugh floods my heart and his smile shines a light. Joyful tears come easily during our long conversations about life.
He is 4 years old. And he is a survivor. Like me.
He is my son. I am his mom. But there is something more between us. We triumphed in the face of death, teetering on the cusp, giving this life a go. He is my teacher, my spiritual guide and my determination to hold on when things are tough. I am his belief that life will be okay, even when things are treacherous, his faith that there is calm after the storm.
On most days, we have the things that are normal and real. The way his eyes light up and his dimple deepens when he makes me laugh. His jovial, self-directed pace of life; dancing between the whims of his fascinating imagination and his molasses pace. On other days, it’s not enough to kiss his soft cheek just once, with traces of his babyness pudge still there. I need to hold him extra. I need to feel his little breathing chest keeping pace with mine, reassuring me that we made it. We are here together on this earth, in this magical life of grilled cheese and tantrums and dinosaurs and good guys that fight bad guys and always win.
Yes, we made it and we’re here to tell our story. But I still think about the impact on him. I think about the trauma of the motherless emergency birth. I think about the months of postpartum depression and my newborn baby’s experience of a mother who was barely a shell of herself for his early months. I think about the increased risk to his future partner when she is pregnant with my grandchild. I think about his health and development, and about my own health and being alive and present for his adult life.
When I participate in the Promise Walk, I sense my tiny place in the larger preeclampsia landscape with survivors and grievers of all kinds, each with their own story to tell. We can’t change what happened, but we can work for the shared goal of raising funds and awareness in the hopes that someday women and babies will not die from this disease.