It's surreal to think we are entering nine weeks of COVID quarantine. I am one of the lucky ones, I still have my job, health and family. That alone gives me immense privilege. But I would be lying if I said the past eight weeks have been a walk in the park. As someone who usually maintains composure and a strong face at all times, this has been anything but easy. This has been one of the hardest periods of my life. The world changed drastically from March 9th, when we got the crushing news about our pregnancy, to March 16th, when we entered full quarantine mode.
I started this quarantine with my D&C on March 13. I didn't know at the time that would be our last week of “normal” as we knew it. I was lucky in that my doctor was able to schedule the procedure in less than 24 hours. Eight full weeks later, I am spent in every way imaginable. It finally caught up to me on week number eight when I just broke down in tears over random things. Sink full of dishes, toddler making messes everywhere, the need for groceries, every little thing got to me. The items listed might feel silly and trivial to type, but I think it is important to acknowledge because they are symptoms of a larger issue. I have been ignoring myself and what I have been feeling for too long. Frankly speaking, there hasn’t been time to acknowledge my feelings because I have been taking care of everything and everyone else.
As a woman and the eldest child, the sense of duty to others is very strong. This shows up in everything I do. The desire to keep the house clean, the responsibility to keep the groceries stocked, laundry, meals and dishes. My actual job: running an organization. And then of course there is Raza and keeping him educated and entertained. I do need to state that no one said that I needed to do all this. I just assumed I did because that's what women do. I also think it was my way of dealing with loss. My way of trying to maintain control when I lost all control over my own pregnancy.
I say all this to share that it's ok to admit when you're running on empty and need to recharge. Knowing I was hurting, I started sharing my daily joy with some friends -- things I was doing just for me and no one else. It also gave me something to look forward to everyday. I also asked for help, and that made me feel less alone. We all process tragedy in our own ways. I only recently heard the quote "check up on your strong friend - they're usually the one bleeding in silence." So if you are the strong friend reading this, it's ok to ask for help. And if you haven't checked on your strong friend, please do. I’ll always be hard on myself, but I’m trying to learn how to be more compassionate with myself as well.
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