Monday 20th September 2021

Women Of Courage Series. #72. Alice Leung. 113/2021.

Women Of Courage Series. #72. Alice Leung. 113/2021.

 

Two years ago… I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will continue to be published each Thursday into September 2021 when it will conclude.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Trigger warning: miscarriage and infant death. Information may be found at the end of the post.

 

 

To introduce Alice Leung properly I will say she is someone I admire greatly professionally and personally. We have met, so many years back now , at a Teach Meet when I was living in Sydney. Being on twitter, as a supporter of all matters education,  I see Alice’s tweets and know how much she puts into her education thoughts, and actions. In her late 30s now, when I asked Alice to share her story, I was not surprised when I read her response. I do, like many of her friends and family remember these experiences well. Alice and I determined that we include a trigger warning for this post, and information at the end of the story. Thank you Alice.

 

 

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

There has been two times when I had to be particularly courageous. The first time was when I lost my second child due to a miscarriage and the second time was when I gave birth to my third child at home (I didn’t plan for her to be born at home; she came too quickly!).

 

The miscarriage was a very early miscarriage. As a science teacher, I am very aware of embryo growth and understood that the baby was lost a very early stage when he/she was a bundle of cells.

I didn’t expect to feel the great sense of loss that I ended up feeling for “a bundle of cells”.

It was hard to deal with the internal dialogue of what felt like logic versus emotions.

I chose not to take leave from work and pushed through it.

It was not an easy time and my first experience of living through what I felt as a tragic loss while the world just kept going and I had to eventually also just keep going.

 

The birth at home was a very different courageous experience.

I didn’t plan for my third child to be born at home.

I just couldn’t make it to the hospital in time.

An ambulance was called and paramedics came right at the moment she was born.

Birthing a child away from a hospital setting and without health professionals carries high risk and that went through my head throughout the birth.

However, I carried on remembering everything the midwives told me with my first child, the advice that was over the phone from the triple 0 operator and just do what needed to be done.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I think both experiences have made me stronger as a person.

Whenever I have to do things that make me nervous like presenting to a large audience, I often joke that I’m not nervous because this is nothing compared to birthing a child at home yourself.

If I’ve done that, I can do anything.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

Courage comes in many forms.

Courage doesn’t have to be a highly visible and theatrical event.

It can be something that is very personal, private and simple like continuing to carry on when it seems to be impossible.

 

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes, because I’ve done it before and know that I can get past challenges.

So even though the situations that require courage may now be different and will be different in the future, I have more confidence and belief that I can get through it.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

One step at a time. And there will be steps back. But just keep moving forward and eventually it becomes easier.

 

Oh yes I remember the events you describe Alice and I am so sorry for your  the loss of your second baby. I do remember, like many who are your friends…and via twitter, hearing the news about your third child. It was an amazing feat for sure. Thank you so much for sharing. I like the way you compare what you did back then to when you are speaking in public, and via media. You are doing an exceedingly good job in your role supporting the NSW  Teaching Profession. Thank you for all you do there too.

 

Denyse.

 

 

 

These sites are Australian-based. 

https://www.panda.org.au/

https://www.sands.org.au/stillbirth-and-newborn-death

Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – Crisis Support and Suicide …

 

 

Alice’s social media.

Blog/Website:  aliceleung.net

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/aliceleung

 

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Alice. I am sure you are much stronger because what happened to you.

  2. What an awful ordeal to go through Alice. I feel for you. I also agree with your statement that being courageous ‘doesn’t have to be highly visible and theatrical’, it really can be just pushing on through. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us. Thanks Denyse for having Alice as a guest in your series.

    • Indeed it was an ordeal as Alice describes in her story and she has helped me understand this more too. Quiet courage is ‘being’ there and still showing up.

      I think that not everyone understands the grief or may not know how to react with compassion seems to magnify the silence when your heart has been broken following the early loss of a baby.

      Thank you Debbie,

      Denyse.

  3. Thank you, Alice, for sharing your story. I agree that courage comes in many forms. Many people push through their personal challenges and keep moving forward one step at a time. Thank you, Denyse, for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

  4. Hello Denyse & Alice,

    I easily connected with this post. My wife and I were just beginning to think about starting our family when a young woman I worked with lost her first, “collection of cells” child in an early, completely unexpectedly and was devastated, frequently crying at work while several of us tried and failed to comfort her.

    I thought several times, some versions of “why is this hitting her so hard? The child was barely formed”

    Fast forward to about a year later when we got the news that our first child was officially “in route” and we began counting the days, enjoying the ultra-sound images and listening to his heart beat.
    We bonded within days with that “collection of cells” and a few weeks later, we had a scare that proved to be nothing, I found then that I much more fully understood the grief suffered by my friend. Had we lost that child, both my wife and I would have been devastated.

    Alice – I’m so sorry you went through this but am thankful for the reminder of what parents experience at such times. Grueling!

    Blessings to you both.

    • Ah Gary, yes the connection personally as you now know makes a difference of course. However, I also hope as more families talk about and share the sad loss of a child they has already began loving…despite “age” of development there can be greater compassion and understanding.

      Alice’s story shared here will help others to connect with her too as you have.

      Many thanks for your kindness too.

      Denyse.

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