Monday, October 27, 2008

Common Ground

It really is amazing how common miscarriage is.

I had lunch with a friend of mine today, and after a couple hours of chit-chat, she confided in me that she had been pregnant in January and had miscarried sometime in her 7th or 8th week. Of course, I then told her about my recent miscarriage and we went on to talk about how common it is.

I was also talking to someone else about miscarriage on the phone last night. She went through IVF treatments and now has a healthy baby to show for it, but we were talking about how infertility, miscarriage, and loss in all forms are things that are just not spoken about. It's really quite amazing to me that infertility, which affects so many, and miscarriage and loss (which affects 25% of women) are like dirty little secrets that people feel almost ashamed of.

Something that I'm having a difficult time grappling with is the almost... I don't know... competition (?) between women with different issues. Is it harder to have infertility issues that make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant, or is it harder to have multiple miscarriages? Does a woman who has a healthy child (or two, or three) have less validity to her grief over a miscarriage than someone who has no children? Is it fair for an infertile to judge a pregnant woman for complaining about her pregnancy symptoms using the "I would kill to be in her shoes" line of thought? Is it fair for fertile people to think, "you can just adopt," or "why are you so bitter?" about people who are infertile? Is it even fair to judge someone who is a great parent, has had no dealings with infertility, but who feels overwhelmed with their kids sometimes?

I'll tell you the truth. I've known people who've gone through IVF and then have gone on to have children. They still complain about the pregnancy symptoms. They even *gasp* complain about their KIDS sometimes after they have them. No matter what you've gone through, some of the symptoms of pregnancy are NO FUN. Some days raising children is NO FUN either!!

NO pregnancy is easy. You get nauseous. You get headaches. You have cravings. You worry about gaining too much weight. You worry about not gaining enough weight. Your skin doesn't fit right. You get stretch marks and varicose veins. Maybe you're constipated and get hemorrhoids. UGH. What's fun about that??

I guess my point in the end is that it's so easy to get lost in our own specific issues. I'm not trying to minimize the personal stories of each individual, but it seems to me that there is so much common ground. If there's something that I've learned from reading so many blogs, it's that the old adage about walking in another person's shoes really is true.

I've gained so much from reading other people's stories. I hope that now or in the future if I write something that you don't agree with, (and you can count on it) you can at least file it into your "common ground" file, and remember that the roads down which we all walk are really more similar than they are different.


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic post, I cannot agree with you enough. We all have our own stories, and can't possibly all completely 'get' one another. But we can support each other!!

Yvonne :)

Wifezzilla said...

Pretty spot on. I hate though when people complain, but only when they complain to me about their pregnancy issues, after knowing what i have been through.

what i was wondering today - is it harder for someone to deal with infertility for years (let's say) and then have a baby, or for someone who has actually been able to conceive only to lose it. right at this moment, i cannot imagine it being harder for someone who has not had something to yet lose. hopefully, if i ever do get to be pregnant again with a viable pregnancy, i won't be so bitter.

*sigh* good post, though. it's a thinker.

Anonymous said...

Good points.
And as far as it being not talked about-so true. It bothers me that our society ignores difficult issues.
I know for me-I try not to 'judge' other ppl's childbearing issues. A 'loss' is a loss, no matter what. Whether you have no children or 10 children, everyone who has had a miscarriage has felt that same sense of loss.
I have to admit though that friends complaining to me about pregnancy symptoms wears on me after a while. I think many people forget to realize what a blessing they have. Sure, pregnancy is hard (from what I've experienced), but I know I would go nauseated and vomiting everyday if that meant my baby came out healthy in the end....
Idk, just my two cents!

Anonymous said...

You touched on a lot of good things here.
Sometimes I wonder about that too, what would be worse, which would be more painful out of different scenarios. But loss, infertility, etc, they all suck.
And you are so right...just because you had to work hard to get a kid into this world doesn't mean you forfeit the right to have a "bad day" just like any other parent! You just have to use tact and make sure you aren't venting about it to someone who is struggling with infertility.