While Stephanie prepares lunch, Eric starts talking about two other strong women from the Planckaert family: mémé Clara and Eddy’s mother Gusta. “It is said that you would be the perfect cross between the two of them,” he says. “I didn’t know Gusta long, but I was always a bit afraid of it. I always wondered if I was good enough for her,” says Stephanie.
The most frightening thing Stephanie ever had to do was tell Mémé Clara that she was pregnant at sixteen. “I was never afraid of her, but I knew that it would deeply affect her and disappoint her. I lived with guilt for years because I felt I had brought shame on the family.”
In the nursery, Stephanie looks back on her teenage pregnancy. She was barely sixteen years old when she gave birth to her daughter Iluna. “After the birth I was terrified. I wanted to have my baby with me, but she was sick and still needed to get better, so that wasn’t possible.” she says with a lump in her throat. Iluna had contracted an infection after her birth and Stephanie also became ill. “I constantly felt enormous guilt. I thought I made her sick because I gave birth prematurely. So much was going through my mind. I was sixteen years old, so I couldn’t put things into perspective.”