Embodying Ancestry: Sarah

Themes: mother-daughter relationships, birth trauma, maternal death, loss, disability, cerebral parsley, writing, guardian angel

“First of all, I do not know anything about my birth mom. My dad never talks about her. I don’t know if this makes sense, but even though I don’t know her I feel like I do. I can feel her presence within me. So part of my reason for participating in Embodying Ancestry was so that I could express that presence even more.” 

“I thought as I got older it would be easier to forget about [my birth mom], but the opposite happened. Now I crave information about her, especially because I am not that far away from having kids of my own, probably in the next 10 years or so. And it kind of freaks me out that I would not know one fourth of where their DNA comes from and what kind of medical history she had. That really freaks me out. I don’t know anything about my mother’s family. I don’t know her parents. I don’t even know if she had siblings or not. All her family is in South Korea. I have thought about going to South Korea to find my mother’s family, but I think it would be easier if I knew the language better. I am learning.” 

“So I guess the story starts about 4 years after my family moved to the United States from South Korea. My parents already had my older sister, but they wanted to have another child. They had me and my mom had a completely healthy pregnancy, but a few hours into into labor she began to seize. It turns out that the amniotic fluid got into her brain and caused a seizure. It could have been prevented if the doctors were monitoring her more closely. They performed a c-section, but she didn’t make it through the operation. And when I came out of her belly, there was one minute when I couldn’t breathe. That, in turn, caused damage to my brain which caused cerebral palsy.”

“This tattoo has a dual meaning because it is a semicolon and I am a writer and another thing about my mom is that she was also a writer. So I definitely got that from her. But the second meaning is a metaphor because when you use a semicolon you could have ended the sentence, but you continued. So I guess it’s just a reminder to continue no matter what.” 

“Even though I don’t believe there is a God, I don’t know what it is, but I do believe in a Higher Power. There have been many times where my actions turned out really badly. I used to fall a lot. And it’s a miracle I didn’t break any bones or didn’t end up in the ER. I kind of believe that it’s my mom that’s protecting me. It’s like there is a metaphorical net that catches me whenever I fall. Whenever I come close to a stranger who is nice to me, I’d like to believe that it’s her.”

“When I tell people that my mom died when giving birth to me, they say ‘I’m sorry.’ But the truth is, they have nothing to be sorry for. Because she gave me the most precious gift of all, the gift of life, and I’m expressing my gratitude by living the fullest life as I can. And I can just feel her smiling at me from up there.”

More Participants

Lontia | Marylin | Amy | Jasmine | Christie | Geraldine | Patricia | Laura | Angela & Diana | Tsedaye | Eddie | Lola | Briana | Simone | SINI | Italy | Ekua | Anika | Reem | Bobo | Kei | Macy | Sarah | DaMonique | Nandi | Anise | Yadira

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