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Here I am. Fatigue, depression and infertility

I sit here typing and deleting, typing and deleting, again, another try. I keep thinking I need to go back to writing, to thinking out loud, to sharing because at this stage in my life, this is the only thing I know how to do.

I take a breath and I type.

I was once an illegal alien in The Netherlands. I was once pregnant. I was once reported to immigration services by a Dutch woman who knew I was both illegal and pregnant. I was once detained. I was once denied medical care while in a deportation center. I was once deported. I had a miscarriage (the baby was dead, I had a botched clean up procedure in an understaffed and badly maintained hospital in a suburb of Buenos Aires). I am now sterile.

That was fifteen years ago and this is now.

There, I typed it. That’s my story in a nutshell. And it’s the most difficult thing I ever typed in my life.

That was fifteen years ago and now I sit comfortably in my home in Amsterdam. I am no longer illegal. In fact, I haven’t been for over a decade. I hate the word illegal when applied to human beings. Yet, it’s a word that defines me. My incapability to bear children is illegal. It was brought upon me by the State. Illegal immigrant, illegal mother, illegal woman, illegal alien (I think of the alien abduction stories and ugly laugh, still, fifteen years later I sometimes cannot sleep when I get flashbacks of being taken away/ abducted by the State from my home, the home I shared with my then boyfriend, too poor to even consider applying for a residence card we could neither afford nor fit in the requierements that the State demanded, which have only gotten worse throughout the years; – European poverty, lest anyone thinks I am misrepresenting my poverty which was very different from my poverty “back home” that elicits oohs and aahs of sympathy from Westerners).

It is now October 2012. I sit in a waiting room surrounded by strangers at a fertility treatment center in Spain. My husband wanted to give me this. He thought it would help heal me. It would heal us. I could have a second chance. I would never have the baby that died while I was held in detention, (I knew it was a girl) but at least I would have a chance. Yeah, irrational, I know, but my life has been one hoop of irrationality after another so I am done giving fucks about that one little detail of knowing I was going to have a girl. I had named her. When I started bleeding I begged. I cried. I asked. I told the guards at the detention center I was pregnant. They said it was not important because I was going to be deported anyway. I was left to bleed and cry. And I sat in that waiting room at the fertility treatment center, terrified, the flashbacks coming at me, the lights in the detention cell on 24/7. I have read so much about detention of undocumented immigrants and no reports mention this detail. The fluorescent tubes always on. (I begged them to turn them off because I couldn’t sleep; I insisted I was pregnant; it didn’t matter, I was going to be deported anyway).

Later on, I lay down in the gynecological chair. A polished and friendly-professional doctor (in the way well paid professionals can be friendly to their customers) prods inside my vagina with “stuff”. An ultrasound wand, some instruments, more “stuff”. It’s cold. I am in pain. I have flashbacks of the botched surgery that possibly rendered me sterile. (Some stranger coming into the examination room while I was laying with another ultrasound wand inside my vagina; staring at a dead fetus/ baby in a screen; the stranger staring at my genitals, he was, apparently, in the wrong room; nobody thought to apologize). But that was then and this is now. Now I am in a shiny and friendly room with a shiny and friendly doctor and his nurses. They tell me how they remove the eggs, how they (scrap/ scrap/ scrap/ screech) check for “stuff” in my uterus. I am in a haze. It hurts. I lie, say it doesn’t. I doubt they can actually stop the kind of hurt I feel. “You can afford this now”, I tell myself, “now you pay thousands to try to fix what was broken”.

I have the list in my phone. I can access it anytime I need a reminder of who I am. Almost seventeen thousand dead in European detention centers since the mid 90’s. I have always added my own dead to the list. My dead wasn’t counted because it wasn’t official. I had never reported it to the NGO that keeps track of the corpses. And yet, since the day that I knew I was carrying a dead baby (an illegal immigrant dead baby), I have done nothing but honor her memory.

It is now November 2012. I am pumped full of hormones. For fifteen years I have struggled with flashbacks and memories but now I feel overwhelmed. I start to have suicide ideations. I want to cut myself and I don’t even know why. I tell myself repeatedly “You brought this upon yourself, you were an illegal immigrant, you broke the law, you had it coming”. It’s like every internet comment in stories about undocumented immigrants is now coming at me, alive, to remind me of my poor life choices. Every day, for ten days, my husband gives me a shot on my belly. Pump the hormones, the paradox of wanting to bring life into the world is that I want to kill myself as an unintended consequence of the medicine that is supposed to heal my sterility. I look at myself in the mirror, naked. I hate everything about my body. Crying in front of the mirror, I tell myself “this is what a broken person looks like”. I have never been pretty (not in the Western sense of beauty ideals) but I have never felt uglier. Every day, twelve pills with more hormones that will remind me that I am worthless. I couldn’t fulfill the very basic thing I was biologically designed to do, carry a child.

It is now mid november 2012. My husband jerks off in a sterile cup. I am not allowed to go into the room with him. Afterwards I ask him “did you remember that you love me?”. I don’t tell him this but I want to think that our fetus should know it is loved. I remember every trite self help advice “you can only love others if you love yourself first”. I sneer. That has to be one of the most inane legacies of the Judeo Christian tradition. I am very well capable of loving others in spite of the fact that I hate myself.

We picked this fertility treatment center because they speak my language. My husband somewhat anticipated this would be a “bumpy ride” and he wanted to make it slightly easier for me. We are not eligible for fertility treatments back home because our insurance doesn’t cover them. I am reminded of everything written in feminist blogs about reproductive justice. I am reminded that fertility treatments remain prohibitively expensive for the majority of people. “Only the rich can afford them to be able to reproduce, but Western feminism will only focus on the fact that the poor should always have access to abortions”, I tell myself and promise that I will write about it later, when I can have words back again. I struggle with yet another paradox, and realize how strange and uncommon this is: once an undocumented immigrant rendered sterile now wealthy enough to pay thousands to try to fix what was broken. The list, I tell myself, the list with the names of everyone who never stood a chance. My name should have been in it (and I have dreams of drowning and suffocating and my cat fights snakes in my dreams while I stand helpless and unable to do anything, is it the hormones or am I effectively crazy?).

I am often accused of being “resentful” or “racist against white people” or “irrationally angry”. I pity those who have never experienced the pain of having the thing they wanted most taken away while they are capable of calling someone “resentful”. My husband often tells me “but they don’t know what drives you”. I contend that even if they knew, they would still demand more proof, more suffering, more pain in order to believe. And that’s the reason I never spoke publicly about my past an an undocumented immigrant before. I always thought some people would try and use it against me to invalidate everything I stand for. “oh, but you are emotionally involved!” “you cannot possibly be objective about it” “you are too subjective about this to have an impartial opinion”. So, I remained silent in spite of the fact that I wholeheartedly believe that the personal is indeed political. I didn’t speak because I was afraid to victimize myself and, in the process, render everything I write about European Union policies suspect. I was also ashamed. Undocumented immigrants are “the scourge of society”, “they broke the law”, “they are illegal”. But since I haven’t been able to write anything for the past four months anyway, I have nothing to lose. Now it’s time for this story, my story to come to light. I might not be impartial or objective or “uncompromised” but neither is a State that renders people sterile because of immigration status or a State that sees fit to allow seventeen thousand people to die for having the nerve to immigrate without the correct paperwork.

It is now end November 2012. I get a phone call from the fertility treatment center. They have three zygotes for me (for us). I need to be in Spain next week to have them implanted. I am filled with a sense of dread. They are only going to implant one and freeze the other two. I fantasize about babies and baby clothes and a future. I am bloated and fatter than I already was because of the pills and the shots and the pessaries I need to insert everyday into my vagina. For the first time in my life, I hate my vagina. Not that I am inconvenienced by it or bothered or annoyed. No, I legitimately hate it. It is a symbolic representation of everything that is wrong with me. I am a woman with a dry and useless vagina that strangers prod and stare at and is incapable of bearing life.

I am given a paper robe (technically not paper but some paper thin fabric). I am led towards a room and told to get naked from the waist down and put on the robe. My husband holds my hand. I am self aware enough to realize how difficult this must have been for him. Living with my crazy, living with the memory of a dead fetus that was also his and very much wanted by him, living with fifteen years of my anger and my politics. He holds my hand, he says he loves me, repeatedly. I know this because every day I see it in his eyes but I am grateful that he says it. I am taken to the surgery room where a bunch of doctors and a nurse receive me politely. I lay down in the gynecological surgical table and they bring in the zygote in some futuristic looking metal vial (or is it a metal syringe of sorts?). The prodding begins. I am scolded for having too much fat in my belly that makes the ultrasound difficult. I am scolded for not having enough pee in my bladder making the ultrasound even more difficult. The doctor prods and scratches and god knows what is going on down there. I quietly say my prayers not asking for anything from any divinity but trying to convey the fact that I love. I love life, I love my husband, I love this zygote and I quietly say this in my prayers because this is what I believe in. The doctor cracks a joke about the way I speak and I tell him not to make me laugh under any circumstance because I will end up coughing the zygote up and accidentally splatter it into his forehead. He has to stop for a second because now he is the one laughing hysterically. It wasn’t painful. Not physically painful at least. It’s soon over and I am handed an ultrasound photo of the zygote inside my uterus. This, here, the doctor says pointing to a light gray grain, is the lump of cells. I am taken to a room and told to rest. The doctor gives me the follow up instructions. I am to take more hormones and “take it easy”. After three weeks, I have to take a blood test to see if I am pregnant.

It is now the second week of december 2012. For the past two weeks I have been sick and nauseous and terrified. I have experienced more physical pain than in any of my periods or PMS. My uterus hurts, I only have gloomy thoughts with rare moments of hope. I take the pills and the pessaries religiously. I do exactly as I was told. One day I wake up and I know I am not pregnant. I just know it in the same way I once knew that the baby I was carrying was a girl. Which is to say, I don’t know it through any scientific method but I just know it. Two days later I have the blood test that confirmed it. Not pregnant. I cry with deep sadness and afterwards I am eerily relieved. I can finally stop with the hormones and perhaps no longer feel that I want to kill myself all the time. I can maybe go back to not hating my body all the time. I can, perhaps, finally accept that I am never going to have a child. I cry frequently, I evaluate my entire life through my failures: this you couldn’t do; this you failed at; this other thing you fucked up; you are now too old to do anything meaningful and you are responsible for the death of the child that was, indeed, growing inside you; your infertility is a punishment for it. The days pass but nothing gets better.

Christmas comes and I have the prettiest tree I have ever had. I am not Christian but I love the tree. I celebrate winter because it is my favorite season. I celebrate the cycles of life and the blessing that is being around those I love. I avoid contact with almost everyone because I don’t want to have to explain myself. I stop practically every social contact except those that I can keep at a professional distance and won’t ask personal questions. I lose a few friends, I feel deeply betrayed by a couple of others. Days go by and the idea of socializing gets more difficult. I do not want to talk to anyone or have to explain why I failed at this. I don’t want to witness anyone’s pity for me. I’d rather be on my own and face my shortcomings. This, I tell myself, is what I deserve. This, I repeat, is what happens when you don’t follow the rules. But then, with the snow, comes a sense of hope. I have no hope for myself, I consider my life rather wasted in more than one way, but I have hope that I can live. I can, at least, attempt to shout that some things are just wrong and that nobody (except from me, that is) deserves this. That the women in detention centers do not deserve to have medical attention denied to them, that the people who are deported do not deserve to commit suicide because of trauma (a sad reality hardly ever spoken about). I tell myself, if anything, you can be a cautionary tale.

Now it is February 2013 and I write this. If I am ever to going write again, I need to tell this story first. If I am ever going to be normal again, this needs to be said. Her name was going to be Francesca. It was a pretty name for what I hoped was going to be a pretty girl. She died while I was in a detention center waiting for deportation. She deserved better and, ever since, I have done nothing but try to honor the life she never had a chance to live.

 

60 Comments

  1. s.e. smith wrote:

    So much ferocious love for you and your husband and Francesca, Flavia.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink
  2. I am sobbing for you and with you, Flavia. I am in awe, as ever, of your love, your depth, and your grace.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  3. I. Masters wrote:

    Thank you for this.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  4. Hannah wrote:

    This is immensely powerful, Flavia.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  5. Sofia wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  6. Ailatan wrote:

    No puedo escribirte en inglés: No me sale. Solamente te puedo mandar amor y algunas lágrimas que se me cayeron cuando leí tu historia. Espero que escribirlo / decirlo te haya ayudado.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink
  7. ri wrote:

    Thank you for writing this.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  8. Mary wrote:

    This post is unforgettable. Thank you — for sharing it. I hope I can do some small part to carry this memory and to change the circumstances that created it.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  9. baseballchica03 wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  10. K.E. wrote:

    Igual que Ailatan. Reiterando que ojalá te haya ayudado el escribirlo.
    (Se que suena contradictorio decirlo ahora, aquí, pero es bueno volver saber de tí).

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  11. CuriousGeorgiana wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Flavia.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  12. tiernafeminista wrote:

    Sending you so much love flavia.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink
  13. Jane wrote:

    Love and respect. SO MUCH love and respect.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
  14. Kiri wrote:

    Much love for you both. You are in my thoughts.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  15. Lisa wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  16. Faith wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink
  17. I can’t think of anything right now that I’d want to do except hug you (if you want that) and make you cookies (or whatever comfort food you like) and tell you it’s okay and you’re loved. So I send those thoughts over the internet and hope they count for something.

    Your pain is real. It is valid. It is not imagined, it is not the result of oversensitivity or a lack of objectivity (if the only objectivity they can imagine is that without emotion, I don’t want a part of it. Detachment and apathy at best, sociopathy at worst…what value is there in fetishizing that ‘objectivity?’) or any other defect. It is something you carry because something was done to you (many somethings), and even though it is a part of you now it is a thing of their creation, not yours.

    I don’t understand (know, yes, but not understand) why those names are on that list. Why there is even a list at all. What could we possibly lose by treating people humanely and with kindness? What resources does respect cost? What amount of righteous indignation is worth those seventeen thousand lives? What amount is worth that one life?

    I can’t think of anything, and even if I could, there’s no answer that would be big enough, important enough, rational enough to be right.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
  18. Kathleen wrote:

    Francesca and you deserved better. Love and respect to you for everything.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  19. I have no words, but I wanted you to know that I read this and that I love and admire you. Thank you for sharing Francesca with us.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  20. Nyssa23 wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Flavia. Your story, and Francesca’s story, and the story of every person on that list, matters. Sending you love.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink
  21. Annaham wrote:

    From the bottom of my heart, SO MUCH LOVE for you, your husband, and dear Francesca.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  22. Amber wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so, so sorry that these terrible things were done to you and your family. It’s senseless and so bewildering that human beings can treat one another like that.

    Thank you for bringing up the politics of fertility – I wrote off fertility treatments as being too expensive for too little certainty, and my husband and I are looking at adoption (which has its own problems), but it literally did not occur to me how unfair it is, and how feminists only fight for a person’s ability to choose to NOT have children.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  23. Sarah Jaffe wrote:

    thank you.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink
  24. Cyan wrote:

    OMG. Crying. So much suffering. So much suffering injustly inflicted.

    I know this feeling of “it was my fault and I deserved it” so well.

    I know the pain is just so loud that it drowns out what you know and have not forgotten and will not ever forget, but just so that the voice of truth is a little louder, I’ll say it here for you, with you:
    You were mistreated. You were abused.
    It was wrong.
    You didn’t deserve it.
    Francesca deserved to live.
    The people who did this to you and to her should not have done it.
    It was wrong.
    It was not your fault.

    You are not alone.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  25. nw wrote:

    Thank you, Flavia. What happened to you and your daughter was so, so wrong. Thank you for your story.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  26. Chloe wrote:

    I’m lost as to what I could say. But know that you are not alone, and what you have written here is truly powerful.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  27. Diana wrote:

    Welcome back. Welcome back.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink
  28. Devon Moore wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this. As I read it, I felt it, viscerally. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure so much physical and emotional pain. And yet I see how it has galvanized your passion. You ARE perfect. I, for one, am one hundred percent sure that your life is not a waste.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  29. Kristine wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this. It deeply affected me. Sending you love.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 3:15 am | Permalink
  30. Jennifer Tosch wrote:

    God bless you Flav for sharing your story with everyone.. I feel your pain and know from the precious moments we shared that you are not a victim, but you have been given a gift! I believe that by sharing your message you will be lifted beyond your pain and will breath life into Francesca again; and, together through the power of your voice, which I’ve heard you use in public before, you will help others, and will heal yourself in the process.

    And, for the record, you cannot lose a ‘real friend’. I love u!

    Jen

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink
  31. Jessie wrote:

    I’m so sorry you went/are going through this, and I’m glad you have a supportive partner. It makes me furious that people exploit and abuse undocumented immigrants and then turn around and claim they’re leeching off the state.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  32. Sarah wrote:

    Flavia, I hope you are able to forgive yourself. Thank you for your strength to share yor story with us. I can’t wait to see what else you can write.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink
  33. RR wrote:

    I assume the infertility caused by your botched procedure is intrauterine adhesions (although I guess it could be a massive infection leading to tube blockage). Please get in touch with a support group for those with Asherman’s syndrome. Who you’re treated by can make a huge difference in the fertility rate after treatment. A lot of doctors are quite ignorant about the condition, even those who claim to have treated it before.

    I wish you luck.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  34. koj wrote:

    I have always been a huge fan of yours, Flavia; I think this is one of the best, most powerful things that you’ve written (that I’ve read).

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  35. Susan wrote:

    Flavia, I was horrified at your story of the detention center, the origin of your fertility problems. One thing stuck out for me. You said you deserved it for having been an illegal immigrant. NOBODY deserves this kind of pain. Much love to you and I hope that one day you will have everything you’ve always wanted.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm | Permalink
  36. E wrote:

    I think this may be one of the most impactful/heart breaking things I’ve ever read. Your story is not falling on deaf and unsympathetic ears, so thank you for sharing it.

    Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink
  37. Phoenix wrote:

    Thank you for writing this.

    Friday, March 1, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  38. Jennifer wrote:

    Love and thanks.

    Friday, March 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  39. f. wrote:

    Flavia, I have so much love for you.

    Friday, March 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
  40. Rebecca wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry for all that was forced upon. No one should ever be illegal.

    Friday, March 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink
  41. I can’t find adequate words to thank you. I am so thankful that you shared your story.

    Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink
  42. Helen wrote:

    My country incarcerates hundreds of women and children on hot, deserty islands behind razor wire, with limited access to medicine and education for their children. Both parties competing for this year’s election are dog whistling and talk of “illegals” is rife. We have to tell people again and again and again, the UN convention on refugees to which Australia is a signatory means that no one is illegal. Sadly this does not penetrate.

    Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 5:29 am | Permalink
  43. August wrote:

    Thats so fucked, it sucks. Im in Australia, where we also detain ppl and treat then like crap, but I’m sorry to say I had no idea of the European detainee death stats you gave, Im apalled

    Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink
  44. Chelsea wrote:

    Thank you.

    Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  45. Karen wrote:

    You are a powerful, strong woman AND a kick-ass writer!

    Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  46. Joy wrote:

    Endless love and respect.

    Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
  47. Arin wrote:

    This broke my heart. I never knew the Europeans were as hateful as we & treated others just as inhumanely. We have such a long way to go to get to equality & loving one another & seeing each other as simply human, part of one tribe. I pray for that day. I am so sorry for your loss, dear lady. I can’t begin to imagine your pain.

    Monday, March 4, 2013 at 2:14 am | Permalink
  48. Sian wrote:

    x

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink
  49. Diana wrote:

    Thank you for this powerful, beautiful post, Flavia. Much love to you and your family. I have missed your voice on the blogosphere these months! Thinking of you from America.

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  50. Angie unduplicated wrote:

    Please learn to love yourself for your honesty: it is so scarce and valuable in this broken world. Learn to love your resistance against oppression. Learn to love your body-sexists hate it and that alone is proof that it is worth loving. Love yourself as a parent would love a hurt child, because that child always will be with you in spirit. You are so much more than the sum total of your childbearing value, or of your legal status. Sending one multicolored hug, if you want it.

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink
  51. Hayley B wrote:

    I’m just another commenter in this sea of support–but I want to add, if anything can be added, if quantity helps in any way:

    Thank you for writing. Thank you for this.

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
  52. Molly wrote:

    I have so much admiration for you. Your vision is clear and true. I honor your anger, and your pain, and your doubt. Your writing helps me honor my own anger and pain and doubt. I want so much to support you, to spit in someone’s eye on your behalf, to offer you some shelter. The best I can do is tell you I think you are wonderful.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  53. Jenn wrote:

    Your phrase “my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit” has been ringing in my head recently, leading me to visit today, and here you go and post one of the bravest, most powerful things I’ve read in a really long time. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  54. Anna wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This really touched me, cut through all the bullshit, and reminded me what I’m supposed to be doing. Noone is illegal.
    Sending love and respect, and wishing you strength.

    Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink
  55. D.D. wrote:

    I’m crying reading this. Thank you so much for writing this. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    Monday, March 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink
  56. Anna Rallo wrote:

    Dear ms Dzodan, it is march 2013 and I have a five weeks old daughter named Francesca. I am crying as I write- it seems presumptuous to be sorry for you but I am hurting for your history. Thank you very very much for telling your story. Please be well.

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  57. Earswithfeet wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I will be thinking of you, your husband, and Francesca for a long time to come.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink
  58. HellaNova wrote:

    This was so very brave.

    Thank you for sharing something so incredibly intimate, so powerful.

    I wish you love and healing.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 1:31 am | Permalink
  59. IrishUp wrote:

    Thank you, Flavia.

    Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  60. Kat wrote:

    I am full of rage for what was done to you and taken from you. No one deserves to be treated with such inhumanity. And I echo everyone else’s support and gratitude – this was not your fault, and you are incredibly strong for sharing it with us.

    Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink