Dear Deeply Readers,

Welcome to the archives of Syria Deeply. While we paused regular publication of the site on May 15, 2018, and transitioned some of our coverage to Peacebuilding Deeply, we are happy to serve as an ongoing public resource on the Syrian conflict. We hope you’ll enjoy the reporting and analysis that was produced by our dedicated community of editors contributors.

We continue to produce events and special projects while we explore where the on-site journalism goes next. If you’d like to reach us with feedback or ideas for collaboration you can do so at [email protected].

My Life Outside Syria: Diary Entry 67

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, recently arrived in Switzerland as a refugee, where she is struggling with her first pregnancy and the potential breakup of her family.

Written by Marah Published on Read time Approx. 4 minutes

The tunes that play on the strings of one’s heart vary – some make you happy, while others make you suffer. Some tunes steal your feelings all at once, rendering you unable to distinguish between the barrage of emotions.

The past week has been filled with work and activity. I prepared myself to take the German language exam, I took it and I did quite well, which brought me a happiness I’ve not felt in a long, long time. The test was kind of like a challenge between me and my husband, and even though I am relatively new to the program, I scored better than him in the written exams. And even though the oral exam scores have not yet been released, I think we received nearly the same score.

I’ve proved to him that I’m a polite girl who knows what she wants. I used to become jealous if I saw my husband talking to Swiss girls before I learned the language, but this was because I had no clue what they were saying. Now, after four months in Switzerland, I am able to communicate with those around me to a certain extent, even if I don’t understand every single word that they are saying.

I cannot explain how I communicate – it is a mix of hand gestures and some phrases and small words. Even though it’s not much, it gives me a lot of confidence and diminishes my jealousy as a girl. Through my newly found maturity, I am able to silence all of those feelings, to hide them from my husband. You might laugh at me, and many men may not understand my viewpoint, but to tell the truth, those feelings have been my number one motivation to learn the language. Maybe the girls will have an easier time understanding my perspective.

That is how it has been, in terms of my academic life. When it comes to my health, I am doing quite well. Because I am carrying a baby in my womb, I have to visit the doctor regularly to make sure that everything is going well. A few days ago, the doctor showed me a picture of my baby, and I was torn apart with happiness when I heard the way my baby’s little heart was beating in perfect sync with my own. It was a feeling impossible to describe in any language – a truly magical feeling. To have a soul that is part of your soul, and a body that is part of your body, whose sleep is part of your sleep and whose food is part of your food … this is what pushes me to become responsible. I try to stay healthy and take my medication for his sake; I do so much for him and he is still in my womb. I wonder how it will be when he comes out. Maybe that is what motherhood is. I cannot believe that I was once a scared, shy girl, terrified of pregnancy and motherhood, when now I am so happy to simply see a picture of my baby, or hear his small heart beat. Altogether, this experience has turned me into a calm and passionate person. Oh how sure my mother was when she said, “If you want to get rid of him, then do so after you have heard his first heartbeat.”

She knew that this was going to happen because she knows what it is like to be a woman and a mother. I want him to come to life so badly, I have already imagined what I want him to be like. I want him to be strong like my mother, and sweet like my husband. As for me, I do not know what I want him to inherit from me. I know many of you are making fun of me, but I want to start creating that kingdom of happiness that I used to live in. I want to rebuild that kingdom, with the help of my husband.

I imagine that my friends would be surprised to learn that I am not that plain, exhausted, frightened little girl anymore. I am pregnant and will soon be a mother. I want to be known by my friends as the girl who regained life from the pregnancy that she once feared. Now I want the baby to arrive faster.

As a couple, our emotions are changing quickly, but there is always something dark deep down inside. It is very hard to get rid of that darkness because the human heart is complex, filled with emotions that change as quickly as the moments of time.

It seems as though I am returning to my old nature, and gaining more and more hope. It is very likely that I will become a woman who has truly survived a trauma that almost destroyed her. Yes, I think I just may have gotten rid of that trauma, even though it scares me when I hear about home, and how it is getting worse and worse.

The bloodshed continues, regardless of the season. I am always thinking of my city. I want to do something to help, but I simply have no idea how or where to start. I trust that I will not stop sacrificing for my country, and will help out as much as I can after I have built a safe and happy home for myself. I chose my field of study because I knew my country needed it. I hope that I might be able to help everyone who has been harmed by this violence. I will not forget what my eyes saw during that war: those who lost limbs, those who suffered horrors and those who lost lives. I will not let my happiness clear those images out of my memory.

Suggest your story or issue.


Share Your Story.

Have a story idea? Interested in adding your voice to our growing community?

Learn more