You’re So Strong
I used to utter the phrase “You are so strong” to others when I had no idea what else to say. Little did I know how painful that was to actually hear until it was said to me after my losses.
Alice was our first loss, and an early one in the beginning of an unknown pregnancy. She was gone before we knew she was even a possibility. I had never had a miscarriage and, I was in shock. I was numb and honestly, looking back the emotions didn’t come for a few days. And when they finally did, I totally broke down at what ‘should have been’. And, like most women, I was told that it was a non-event, hardly worth grieving for too long. So, I mourned in silence ~ feeling weak and disconnected from the world. And I was told, “you are so strong” by people who use it to imply that I would surely survive this heartbreak.
Then I became pregnant with Amelia. We made it to 24 weeks and things were fine ~ until it all came crashing down. We found out that Amelia was sick. We were told that she should never have made it as far as she had ~ but surely it was because “She is so strong”. I could not reconcile the words that were dumped on us again, because the opposite was in fact true. Her body was deteriorating and would not survive outside my womb.
I was pregnant with a child that would die. I would never see her alive, but had to do my best to connect with her as she was safe within my body. And once again, I was told countless times “You’re are strong.” And so, I went on to plan a birth as well as a funeral. I advocated for my daughter in every way I could and gave birth to her lifeless little body when it was time.
And now, three years later . . . I still miss and grieve them. The loss is not lessened, but the burden is somehow easier to bear. Like any muscle that gets used over time, it gets stronger. . . so, in a sense, my strength comes from constantly grieving my children who are not here.
So, the next time I am told ‘you’re so strong’, I can happily reply ‘Yes, I am.”