The strong-momma mask

Child loss comes with a few unwanted pressures, among others. The pressure to be positive usually doesn’t go well with most bereaved parents.

“Life must go on”

“You gotta move on”

“Be positive”

You just nod in agreement, though you have different thoughts.

How do I hide my actual emotions and make others feel that I’m not a cry-baby? The loosely used words – strong, brave, courage – comes to your rescue. You put those masks on.

So, next time you hear someone say “she’s so strong, she’s doing so well”, pat yourself on the back. You’ve done a good job!

Of course, you wouldn’t want everyone to know your actual emotions. That would be reserved for a few very close friends & family. But, there are times when you just want to yell out “I’m not strong, I can feel the sand going away from under my feet…” But hold on, you’ve successfully put that mask on for a long time. You still do. You’ve set a benchmark for strength. You are a living example of how strong women are. So… sorry, you can’t yell that out.

In the meeting room, during your start-of-the-year office business review, when your boss has that one ice-breaker slide dedicated to the highlights of the bygone year in every team member’s life – you think of the cruelest year that you just had. No, you can’t say that. You can’t say – highlight of 2016 for me was that I became a mother. You also can’t say – I’ve done the toughest thing a person can ever do – bury my own child. More than others, you dread the awkward silence.

So you completely ignore that bit and frantically hunt for something positive, before it’s your turn to respond to the slide.

Oh ya, I had gone on a vacation post child-loss. Vacation is an over-statement. It was more of a change-of-scene trip. So, you put the much-abused mask on again, smile and say – I did a desert safari this year during my vacation. That was amazing. Something that I never did earlier. Applause! Good job again. You are getting better at it.

Over a period, that mask becomes a badge. A label.

When you’ve had an over-dose of “you’re so strong” in a day is when you come back home, keep the mask aside, slowly let those tears out, and blog about it!