I read this post of Murgdan’s the other day, and for some reason, it got my brain a goin’. Maybe because of some of the drama last week, and seeing how different people have responded to pain in their lives, how different people have responded even to the same kind of pain and come out on the other side very different kinds of people. Maybe because I’m feeling my own brand of survivor’s guilt these days, having escaped X without any bodily harm and with comparatively few years wasted spent with him.
Murgdan talks in her post about how she realizes she had it worse than some, but so much easier than so many. She’s pregnant now, after one failed IVF and one successful FET.
If you hang around the ALI blogworld very long (or hell, just around the world), you can always, always find someone “worse off” than you, in some way. Someone who never got pregnant. Someone who had an unbelievable number of miscarriages. Someone who endured more loss than you could imagine surviving.
And then in great abundance, we all have, in our real worlds, those who seem to have it (whatever “it” may be) handed to them on the proverbial silver platter–pregnancy, babies, love, money.
If infertility and loss does nothing else, it cements for us the truth that life is unfair. (Somehow we trick ourselves into forgetting, don’t we?)
We can always find greener or browner grass somewhere, be it in the realm of fertility or relationships or general life happiness. To paraphrase one of Murgdan’s commenters, life is not a pain Olympics, though we definitely make it that way at times.
Back when Mr. X and I were in the throes of the IF war, I remember talking with a friend about another person’s apparent lack of awareness that anything could go wrong with a pregnancy (she announced to EVERYONE including her two year old the minute she got the positive pee stick). I remember being totally stunned by her actions, knowing that pregnancy could be a such a delicate blessing, especially at that early stage. I remember saying to my friend, “What world does she live in that it doesn’t occur to her that anything bad might happen?” and my (also IF veteran) friend said, “I wish I still lived in that world.”
It really took me aback when she said that, because, well, I didn’t and I don’t. Unlike some innocences that I’ve lost, this is not one I’d take back.
I haven’t talked about IF very much on this blog. But I’m in the club. I have PCOS, though I’m not sure it would have kept me from getting pregnant (X’s low-morphology sperm were much more the barrier to that dream). At the moment, it’s pretty much a moot point, as well, I am barely taking care of myself and Miss Famous. Someday it may be relevant again. The point is, I don’t live in “that” world anymore. The one where there’s no possibility that nothing bad will happen. You can be sure, after this year, if anyone doesn’t live in that world, it’s me.
But I’m not saying this to get a medal in the pain Olympics, but rather to come back to the idea of response. Cait’s Mom wrote a lovely piece about pain and compassion that hit me right where I needed to learn something. It’s very much worth a read.
What do we do with our pain? Do we let it open us up, bring us awareness? Or do we let it harden us, dull us to others’ pain?