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There is no better, there is only more worse

Yesterday I learned that my dear friend from graduate school–someone who helped me through some very tough times–had an early pregnancy loss. She didn’t even think she could get pregnant due to a variety of health problems, so the joy and devastation were both particularly acute.

PBF had a miscarriage scare early in her pregnancy, and afterwards I asked if she thought there were better and worse ways to have a pregnancy loss. For example, is it better to lose a baby you conceived in your first month trying as opposed to one conceived after a long battle with IF? Or is earlier in the pregnancy better than later? She said she thought there were only worse ways. Yes, a variety of things can make a loss worse, but that doesn’t mean better is ever applicable. In linguistic terms this makes no sense, but I bet you all know what she means.

At the same time, my grad school friend’s grandfather and mother-in-law are both dying. My sister-in-law had a miscarriage the same week her sister died. Another friend has been dealing with recurrent pregnancy loss and her father’s death. My father died while I was making my first RE appointment. Jen‘s father-in-law is declining while she’s mid-IVF cycle. WHAT THE FUCK IS UP with this heartbreaking combination of death and striving for new life? Why does existence have to be more and more and MORE worse for some people? Do they really need more punishment, more testing of their resolve, more pain?

Buddhists (of which I am not one) apparently say that the world is full of suffering, and rather than ask why me, one should ask why not me? But the distribution of suffering I see when I look around me seems statistically improbable. Part of it is a bias in my data–I’m more aware of certain kinds of pain. Part of it is the thirties–people start dying, and those of us who aren’t destined to have an easy time with reproduction make that discovery. And I know that the world is full of misery that would make IF and the death of a family member seem like a fun trip to the circus. But that doesn’t make our lives better. It just makes those of others more worse.

That was a big fucking bummer, huh? Let’s see…I will now share my all-time favorite joke. Q: What’s a foot long and slippery? Answer in my next post.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. ASP #

    Hi! Here from Jen's blog. I can totally relate to this post as every time someone is pregnant in my family–someone dies either expectedly or unexpectedly. When my sister was pregnant with her son, 11 years ago, our sister passed away in a car accident. When she was pregnant with her second son, 2 years ago, our Grandpa passed away from cancer, and finally, when I was pregnant/the day I found out I was miscarrying, our dad passed away. You want to talk about not fun while dealing with a funeral for your dad and having a full blown miscarriage at the same time. Super shitty timing (and coincidentally, my SIL was also pregnant with her daughter when our Dad passed away). Coincidence? I'm not sure, but it appears to be a trend in our family. There haven't been any deaths on my said of the family for a few years, but nobody has also been pregnant. Weird stuff and doesn't seem to only happen to me judging by this post.

    January 7, 2010
  2. Wow, I can relate. 6 months ago my grandmother died the day after my IVF transfer, and I wound up with a (painful, violent) early pregnancy loss. A superstitious friend had said, to comfort me over my grandmother, that maybe she had to be "on the other side" to help me with my pregnancy. When I lost it, though, did that mean my grandmother took my baby with her to "the other side?" I'm just starting a new IVF cycle, and I'm still not quite over that confusing juxtaposition of loss, life, and then loss.

    January 7, 2010
  3. I think it finally sunk in that I was a "grown up" when I suddenly seemed to be surrounded by sickness, loss and grief–in my own family and friends and in the lives of my clients, too. It seemed like someone somewhere just turned a faucet on, and every other week there were tragic diagnoses, unexpected deaths, etc. It's funny that marriage, a mortgage, health insurance squabbles, grad school, etc., didn't make me feel like a real-life adult…but somehow Loss did. I think being a social worker has always made me more acutely aware of pain and tragedy, but it was always someone else's pain and tragedy. IF seems to be the phenomenon that has made others' pain my own. Blurgh.

    January 7, 2010
  4. I haven't experienced the death/new life connection myself. But the way you discussed "more worse" really resonated with me. Sometimes I feel shallow for considering IF a personal tragedy. I don't have cancer. I didn't grow up in a poor or dysfunctional household. People all over the world are lacking the basic necessities to sustain life, let alone enjoy the rights and freedoms we have here in North America. Does that mean that IF isn't tragic? Maybe. I have become more and more grateful for the things I have, but I'm still missing this thing I really want.

    January 9, 2010

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