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.