Monday, 30 April 2012

What makes us beautiful?

My husband tells me every single day that I am beautiful. Some times he'll tell me twice or even more. Some times I find it hard to believe. Some times he'll tell me in the morning, when I really look my worst, and I wonder why on earth he's telling me right then. He some times asks if I believe him, and I often would say "I don't know, if you think I am and that's your opinion then how can I argue?" And he'll usually go quiet. But something has prompted me recently to do a bit of what you might call "soul-searching" about the subject, and ask myself when I look in the mirror "Am I really beautiful?" And I just wonder what that really means...

What makes us beautiful? 

The world would tell us it's what we see on the outside, and that if you don't have Zooey Deschanel's eyes, Julia Robert's smile, Keira Knightley's body and Liv Tyler's hair then you just aren't worth it.
And our parents will happily tell us that the acne, glasses and braces don't matter - "it's what's on the inside that counts." I'll tell you, when I was 14, I had all three, and still didn't feel that the inside was any better than the out. But maybe that's just the way teenage girls are...

So what is it that really makes us beautiful, if it's not these things? What is it that really makes people take a step back and hold their breath?

I have come to learn that we don't need to look like Hollywood, and we don't need to act like Mother Teresa to be truly beautiful.

The things that make us remarkable; beautiful, are the things that are the most difficult to see through, but we see them through anyway.

When I met my husband, yes, I'm sure he thought me fairly attractive - I certainly thought he was the most gorgeous thing I'd ever seen in my life - but what made him love me the most, was knowing the things that I had been through in this life, and seeing the person that stood before him.
I ashamedly told him things I had hardly told any other person. I asked him if he still loved me, despite the things that had happened to me in my youth, and he said "Baby, I love you more than ever." This astounded me at the time.

Peter and I knew when we got married, that at some point things would get tough. Just like when any two people truly devote their lives to each other, they realise that whatever one of them must go through, the other one must also. When I married Pete I knew that in the future we would experience all types of hurt and pain, but I thought to myself "At least we'll be doing it together." I knew that at some point we'd experience loss, probably of a parent, that there would be hardship of finances, in our early days especially, and that there would be trials and afflictions of all sorts along the way that we would have to try and see through together.

I never expected to experience loss so soon. When I knelt at the altar opposite my husband, being sealed to him for time and all eternity, I never knew that we would lose our very first child just six months into our Marriage. However, I did know that no matter what I went through - he would be there, and no matter what he went through - I would be there. And that made me feel a whole lot better about life.

And now, having lost our little boy, I am still here, and so is my husband.
He tells me every single day how beautiful I am. And he always asks if I believe him.
I used to hesitate, and maybe even question it, but now I just answer with one little syllable: "Yes". Not because I think I have a pretty face, or a perfect figure, or because I am nice to everyone.

But because I know that I am what he says I am.
For I have felt the stab of losing a child, I have wept for my child and for my husband's loss of him too; the doors of cruelty have opened wide before our faces and ushered us into their world of hurt.
But I have come back from that pain. I have come back from that sorrow. And I now stand hand-in-hand with loss, my husband by my side, and I am seeing this through.
{Me & Pete Sept. 2011 - Feeling beautiful}
And that is what makes me beautiful. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Over the passed few weeks, one certain question has come to my mind over and over and over again...

Am I a Mother?

It hurts to think about the answers that could follow the question.

At Church (read about "Church" here) I am called as a Young Women's leader. This means that I teach, look after, lead and guide young girls aged 12-18. There are seven Young Women in our Ward altogether, and I love them all. Part of what we do as their leaders is prepare them for later life; preparing for further education, or choosing a career, growing up with religion in an ever morally deteriorating world; but most of the time? Preparing to be a Wife and Mother.

As Latter-day Saints, this role is pretty important. We are taught as young girls to pursue education and have academic goals, but what comes first is Motherhood. As a teenager I always took this seriously. Marriage for Eternity and Motherhood were the ultimate and most important goals. As a little girl, I knew where my place was; with a pillow up my shirt and baby-in-pram I knew exactly where I was headed.

September 2011 came and the first goal was soon achieved; I was married for time and all eternity to the most handsome man in the world. Four weeks later we discover that goal number two was also on it's way.

And then came that dreaded day in March. It was in fact our six months anniversary when we found out our Little Boy's heart was no longer beating. We were devastated and heartbroken.
Days passed, and slowly I began to feel that what I had wished for all my life had been wretchedly torn from me - physically and emotionally.

Of course, before our little one passed, I was anxious, nervous, worrisome and terrified that I would be the only woman in the world who was not blessed with that "Mothering Instinct". But after he was gone, I soon realised how ready I had been to be his Mum. I was so looking forward to caring for and looking after my precious little one. I did not realise before he was gone how much it would mean to be able to hold him in my arms, and as the weeks passed how my arms would ache to hold him again.

But this evening, as I was writing to the Mother's of my Young Women at Church to invite them to a special Motherhood Appreciation Evening, I realised that I still held the title I so desired for my whole life.

My religion teaches that "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children." (Source Here) And as writing these invitations to the Mothers of the wonderful young girls, I read the words I had written;
We understand that everybody’s circumstances are different, and you have all had to be Mother’s in very different ways sometimes. We admire you all.
As I wrote these words, I realised who I was. "Everybody's circumstances are different." My circumstances just mean that I don't have my child here right now; I am no less a Mother than any other I know.

I conceived and carried my child inside of me; just like anyone else. I took care of, and nurtured my boy the best I knew how; just like anyone else. I had anxieties and worries and bumps in the road; just like anyone else.

When I asked my own Mother the question that stung my heart to think the answer, she replied:
If anything, you're more of a Mother than any other, because you had him and lost him, and you're still here. You went through the physical and emotional pain knowing you wouldn't hear him cry come the end, and you are still here. He's not in your arms, and won't be again for a long time yet, and you are still here. And you love him like any Mother loves their child; he is just not here.
I remember before my little one passed, how a friend described the feeling of becoming a Mother. How she held her little one in her arms and looked at his little face and pledged her whole life to that child; she would do anything for him until the day she passed into the next life.

And I remember holding my little boy in my arms, and thinking how I would have done anything for him to have lived, but knew he would not live in this world.
I looked into that perfect tiny form as I held him so gently in my arms and knew that from that moment on, that I will do whatever it takes to get back to him. I pledged my life to him from that second, that I would always and forever be his Mother.

So the question that maybe stings to think, actually holds my favourite answer;

Am I a Mother? Most certainly, YES, and possibly more than any other. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Stillborn. Still Standing.

Two days after I had written my first post in my all new blog right here, my precious little son Seth Peter Magpantay was born. Stillborn.

He was wonderful.
    He was perfect.
        And he still is.

There has been sorrow, tears, anger, hurt, pain, anguish, frustration, and every other negative feeling during this time.

But I am beginning to find my peace. My New Normal.

I am so sorry if you are here on my blog. Not because I don't want you to read, but because you are probably here because you're seeking solace after losing your little one too.
I am so grateful that you are here.

This blog has a new purpose.

I wish to comfort; to console; to help find peace.

I pray every day that any other person who is so sorely missing a little one like I am, will be eased from their pain in time, and I would like to help. I truly hope that the words you read here will bring some of the healing that you desire, as I search for healing of my own.

So this is me, Lou, trying to get by and learning to live with what has happened; without my son, and in his place, a broken heart.

But I know my heart will be healed from this hurt one day, and I will be reunited with him for Eternity. I know I will be able to hold my Seth in my arms again, and that next time I hold him - he will hold me back.

And now, even though my precious, precious son was Stillborn, I am Still Standing.