It seriously bothers me when I hear of baby loss mommies being told to be strong. I'm sure they're well-meaning. But really? I think that advice impeded my ability to really mourn Cora. I think that advice was part of what made me feel so very alone.
I felt like I couldn't openly mourn around other people. It wasn't appropriate. They would tell me to "be strong," not wanting to see my tears. Most of them were people I know cared for me, so they probably were upset that I was hurting. I had a history of severe depressions, and I know that several were very worried that I would end up in that state.
But it made me feel like an outcast. They didn't want to see what I was really feeling. I had to go through it myself because they didn't want to be strong for me for a while. I had to just continue on with my life like nothing had changed.
And now I get praised at how strong I am. When even now...I'm not. I'm still fragile. I'm still vulnerable. I'm still weak. Even now, it's a struggle. It's true, that after four years it's different.
I no longer have to remind myself to breathe.
I no longer gasp or sob every breath.
I no longer feel like I have a gaping, open, bleeding wound in the center of myself.
But I still only go on because I have to. I get praised for how strong I am for surviving, but what choice did I have? I couldn't leave my husband, my parents, my friends behind. I couldn't just stop. That's what I really wanted to do. Just stop. Not die really, just not have to get up, to go on living, to do normal life things when my life was anything but normal anymore.
I don't think I'm any more strong than anyone else who is surviving. I've just survived long enough that some things I don't have to think about anymore. And now I have even more things to live for so not surviving is even less of a choice than it was before.
But it's not because I'm strong.