2009-04-04

My Lesson In Being The "Strong Black Woman"

Recently I talked about being black women being expected to hide their emotions. Some people felt we shouldn't show our emotions because it shows our vulnerability and it gives more people ammunition to ridicule black women.

On April 1st, something awful happened. I lost my baby at 20 weeks gestation. Five months. My baby was a girl, just like I had suspected. Just like I wanted. I went into preterm labor and had to go to the emergency room. My husband was there with me. I tried to stay positive, because like always I could feel her kick, and when they went to look for the heartbeat, they heard it, it was the same strong heartbeat my baby always had at prenatal visits. I had hope, because I fully didn't realize what had happened to me at that point. When I was told the news, I still held out hope at the small chance, she could make it. I felt her kicking, giving my body the usual internal beat down. I had to keep hope. I was scared, but I had to think my baby was going to make it. She was the textbook pregnancy baby. She was 20 weeks, at that point, the idea of miscarriage is just about out the window. At about four in the morning, I delivered her, crying as I pushed her out, not because it hurt, but because I knew that pushing her out means I no longer have my baby girl.

When the white nurse told me the bad news, I cried, I literally wailed. I laid on the hospital bed and cried, I didn't give a damn who heard me or saw me. I didn't care about that white nurse seeing me cry. I cried again when I delivered in front of the hispanic male doctor and the white anesthesiologist. I cried in front of the three different nurse techs who took my vitals every hour on the hour, the egyptian one and two white ones. I cried in front of three other white female nurses. I cried when my husband's best friend's wife called, the white woman I have just mentioned recently. I cried to my mom, and I know my poor husband has seen my cry more in this last few days than in the last ten years.

Hell I cry when I wake up in the middle of the night, I cry in the morning, I cry when I go to sleep. Hell, I crying right now. That has been the routine the last three days.

I say all this to say, that I am hurt, I am hurting really bad, not physically, but mentally. I say all this to say that I am more vulnerable now, than I have probably ever been in my life, and I know I gotta live up to the stereotype. I am supposed to be strong. I am supposed to be the example set for other black women, and I am not supposed to shame or embarrass black women everywhere by crying and showing my emotions.

Right now, I don't give a damn, I don't care. I don't care about other black women, I don't care about white, hispanic, asian, multiracial men or women. If the world uses me as ammunition, I just don't care. When I am not sad, I am angry, when I am not angry, I am numb, and when I am not any of those things I am either asleep, or taking my medicine my doctor prescribed to "calm my nerves". There is nothing I can do at this point to hold back the tears, to keep me from crying to keep the hurt from happening, and if people happen to see it, so what, I don't care. Right now my concern is getting over the hurt, anger, and frustration. I want it all to go away, and right now, it just ain't happening.

My baby is gone. All I have left of her now is the footprints they allowed me to have, the patient ID bracelets they put on her, and the options to see the pictures they took of her after I delivered her. That is all I know right now, and there is little I can do to control how I feel or how I express myself. I am not reserved, but raw and exposed, and maybe it makes me a bad person, I don't know, but I don't know how else to be right now.