I am amazed at how many people have said to me that I have shown great strength throughout this process, as if I have done something remarkable. I don’t feel particularly strong or remarkable. I feel angry, sad, confused – but not strong or extraordinary in any way. I have only done what I feel any mother should do: love my children to the best of my ability.
Looking back to even a few years ago, I was never sure if I really wanted children – partly our of selfishness for enjoying my no-strings-attached single life, and partly because I was in my thirties and unsure if I was ever going to be able to find a partner with which to settle down. I suppose there was also a part of me that was secretly terrified of what toll a pregnancy would take on my body given that I have a heart condition. How silly that all seems to me now that I have produced two beautiful girls! I cannot imagine life without them now, as they and their Daddy have completed my life in a way that I never could have dreamed.
Even given our loss of Bristol, I am thankful that we had the chance to love her, if even for a short time. She was the embodiment of strength, as she endured countless tests, x-rays, blood transfusions, needles, drugs – more than even most adults endure in an entire lifetime – and yet, she never gave up her fight. I think we counted that she ultimately had 11 blood transfusions in her 9 short weeks of life, and doctors and nurses were constantly amazed by her high tolerance for medications, requiring as much as 2-3 times the strength of doses usually needed by a baby of her age and size. SHE was strong. SHE was remarkable. BRISTOL was extraordinary.
By comparison, I was/am quite weak and average.
I guess people expect me to be overwhelmed by grief and sadness to a point to where I can’t even get out of bed. Or maybe they expect me to cry uncontrollably all the time. But I guess I can’t comprehend being that person when I still have so much to live for. I have Bella, a beautiful miracle who relies on me for sustenance. I have Blaine, who provides a love that gives me strength to keep going. And I have friends and family that show a support that shows me there are angels here on earth to watch over me when times get rough.
No, I am not strong. All I have done is to do my best to give my daughters the best chance at life, and in many ways I feel that I have even failed. I failed to carry them anywhere close to full term, putting them in all sorts of danger. And I failed to help Bristol grow a decent pair of lungs, which ultimately cost her her life. What I did manage to do is visit them everyday – though only for a few hours – and supply them with my milk. That is all. How is that so remarkable? Women everyday all over the world love their children and supply them with milk – that’s just called being a mother.
No, I am not strong or remarkable or extraordinary. I’m just your average mother providing love to my children.
When people would talk about me being strong, I was always reminded of this song: