Strength

What is strength?

As I write this now,
after midnight
on a rainy night
3 weeks before my daughter’s
1st birthday,

I wonder.

Some women I know
who’ve also lost babies
get angry
when others say to them,

You’re so strong.
I could never be so strong
if I lost my child.

Of course,
these people mean well.

They mean to indicate strength
as a compliment.

But sometimes it can be taken
as an insult.

Implying a lack of love
because we are *strong* enough
to survive.

As if,
just by the fact that
we are still alive,
we are “strong” and “surviving”
and most mothers couldn’t do that,
because…
because why?

Because they love their children more?

I don’t think so.

(And I know people who say this
don’t mean that either)

It’s just that they don’t know.

The human spirit is amazing.

Against almost all odds,
it finds a way to preserve life.

I remember distinctly
feeling like I couldn’t care less
if I lived after
Malou
died.

Yet
I still knew, I didn’t really want to die.

But I didn’t really care to be alive either
because
it felt like there was nothing left to live for.

So surviving
doesn’t make us stronger than you.

You, too, will probably survive
if your child dies.

I hope, I pray, you never have to find out.

I hope, I pray, that no parent ever has to find out.

Enough is enough.
I wish someone in charge
would abolish children’s deaths forever.

But my original intention
in starting this post,
which has gotten a little derailed,
is that

I don’t think I could do it again.

I was looking at the video
I made of
Malou,
watching myself
from a distance of
almost a year,

and I am not sure I could do it again.

I don’t know how I did it then.

Maybe I did have an inner reserve
of strength.

But it is gone now.

I wonder,
will it ever come back?

Because I need it.

***
Edited to say I actually wrote this on Friday, the day before I found out I wasn’t pregnant. I can hardly believe I made it through the weekend when I went into it feeling like this. But grief is odd – and the feelings associated with it uncontrollable – but today I am feeling pretty good. Which is actually kind of miraculous. I need to remind myself that as bad as it gets, it always gets better. It’s just scary that it can also get worse. The ups-and-downs are so difficult to bear.

Oh, Malou, everything is so much harder to bear without you. I love you, sweet pea. Your daddy and I miss you every day. We talked about you so much this weekend, but even when we don’t mention your name, you are always in our thoughts and our hearts. Sov sødt, min egen…

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Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 17:44  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I understand what you mean exactly. I have been told how “strong” I am with some of my history. There is really only encouragement meant in these words but we have to keep going, one foot in front of the other, that’s just the way it is. Our exterior look is not really an indication of what is going on in our heads. Keep going, Steph, I am with you in thought all the way and every day.
    Hugs.

  2. Hi Stephanie!
    I was thinking of you very often this weekend and I`m glad to hear you are feeling a bit better now. The car is pretty nice. Now it`s time to fill it! 🙂
    Keep going. Pati


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