Friday, December 16, 2011

An Inconvenient Truth:

No, I am not going to start a debate on Global Warming, Al Gore, Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law or Rock and Roller cola wars (for those of you that don't know that is from Billy Joel).

That's a flame that can be fanned at another time on another blog.

What I am going to do is express my thoughts on a recent blog post that I put up for discussion.

I opened up my last post with an invitation to discuss Megan's post on:

Millions of Miles: Raising Human Beings and Life Lessons from the Duggars

There are many issues brought up in this post. Issues that resonate with all that I have been going through and thinking.

Here is what Megan's thought provoking post brought up for me:

...when did we get to the point where we feel like we get to tell a mother that her child deserves to die and secretly rejoice a little bit when someone goes through a tragedy.

I am truly grateful that no one posted anything but heartfelt sympathy for Michelle Duggar and her miscarriage.

I am blessed to be surrounded by like minded people but that wasn't always the case.

The idea that it would even cross someone's mind to say that she "deserved this" is unthinkable but I am not sure I always thought this way.

I am pretty sure I can hear the me I was long ago saying things like: " She's an idiot for having 19 children" or " What did she expect? " etc...

And I can hear my friends of days gone past echoing the same sentiments.

I don't think I ever truly understood what a gift creating a life was.

The me of days gone by, that person I don't even remember being, looked at as "getting knocked up". Something you didn't want to do.

And if someone miscarried, I can vaguely remember phrases like: "It's for the best." "It's a blessing in disguise".

A blessing to miscarry?

I do remember the attitudes and thoughts on getting pregnant and miscarrying when I was growing up and those attitudes and thoughts fell more along the lines of "accident" and "thank God".

And if someone got "knocked up" at a young age there was one solution that pretty much everyone agreed was the "best" solution. If the "best" solution wasn't chosen, then the consensus was the unfortunate girl that got herself knocked up just ruined her life.

There was never really the sense of the miracle or the magic.

I am sure if Michelle Duggar was around in my lifetime past, the characters of that time, myself included would have echoed hateful sentiments out of what I can only conclude would be entitlement.

God forbid you ever have to wake up and hear the news. Then you really might know what it's like to have to lose ~ Everlast....

I know for a fact I didn't understand the pain of a miscarriage until I had one.

I remember a woman I worked with, she had gotten pregnant at an inconvenient time.

She said her and her boyfriend were planning on getting married but I wasn't sure how true that was and her career had kind of stalled. She was only working part time with me at the time.

Sometime in her 1st trimester she miscarried. I remember actually telling her that it was probably "for the best".

I told her now she could wait until she got married. There was no rush. It was a "blessing in disguise."

A few months later she was pregnant again.

I asked her why, why would she go and get herself pregnant again (that phrase alone shows how arrogant and entitled my thoughts were at the time) when she could wait (once again entitlement) until she was in a better position to have a child.

And in case anyone missed it, that whole sentence above is filled with arrogance and entitlement. But those were the attitudes and thoughts I was raised with on getting pregnant.

She told me that the pain from her miscarriage was just too unbearable and that all she wanted was to get pregnant again and have a baby.

I didn't comprehend.

I think I might have called her an idiot under my breathe.

I just couldn't understand.

I understand now.

That is a pain I now know all too well and it is unbearable.

...and hurt so deep that you wonder if you will ever feel normal again.

I often wonder if I will ever feel normal again.

My mother said to me on the phone after my second miscarriage: "I just want you to be happy again."

But I was happy. I was over the moon happy. Rejoicing in the fact that I was going to be a mom. I was going to be blessed with this miracle.

I had never been happier in my entire life.

Until it all fell apart.

And I try to think back to who I was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago or even yesterday and I don't know that person. I am not that person anymore.

I remember about a year ago, sometime after my 1st miscarriage, I somehow pulled myself together, that's when I started blogging and I found the courage to cycle again. My BFF during one of our daily phone conversations, we were talking about all I had been through and how I had changed and she casually said to me: "I am proud that you are my friend."

That has always stuck with me. I want to be someone my friends are proud of and I am proud that she is my friend.

I have changed. Some changes are for the good. I would never think any women would "deserve" to lose their child or that a miscarriage was "for the best".

I now have a true understanding of the gift of life.

My child will be wanted, love and cherished.

I strive to be a better person.

But some changes are not for the good. I am broken, permanently damaged and forever mourning. I will never have that sheer joy of announcing a pregnancy and I will always feel the pain of loss.

I pray that I will be able to rejoice again in the knowledge that I am going to be a mom.

"I just want you to be a happy again"

Me too too!

I would think that no matter if it was your first baby or your 20th baby that loss is loss. Who are we to diminish someone's pain?

I sometimes feel that I did something to "deserve" my miscarriages.

That my cavalier attitudes toward pregnancy lead me to this place.

I have thoughts that it's payback for a time when I was so insensitive or a time when I might have utter the words like "deserve it".

Or a time when I would callously diminish someone's pain with worthless platitudes like:

"Well it could be worse, at least you weren't in your second trimester."


"You could have had a disable child, which would be worse than a miscarriage."


"At least you have other children"


"It wasn't meant to be."


"You could be homeless or starving or in a wheelchair..."

OR one of a million other "worst case" scenarios that people bring up meant to somehow make someone "count their blessings" instead of acknowledging the horrible thing that just happened to them.

We need to acknowledge, support and love. We need to show and feel compassion.

...but I also think that our society has shifted the way that we think about children. They are no longer viewed as blessings. They are seen as something we "do" for 18 years. We have lost out on the magic of what it means to care for someone.

And now here is where the Inconvenient Truth comes in because I do think people treat their kids as an inconvenience without even realizing it.

There is a reason I waited so long before starting my journey towards motherhood and that reason is because I wanted to be the kind of mother that took joy in her children. The kind of mother that saw them as a blessing not a burden.

There are so many people who say things like: "I was stuck with the kids."

"Stuck with the kids" like it's a death sentence. I can't go out and enjoy my life because I am "stuck with the kids".

Or they need to get their kids out of their hair.

They can't go out and have fun anymore.

Just before the summer started there was an article that got posted on Facebook:

"Parents Survival Guide for the Summer" with the introductory line of:

"Parents, are you secretly dreading a long, hot summer with the kids?"

A friend of mine responded to the article on Facebook with...

"This just pissed me off. Why have kids if you hate having them around?!?! I love when my kids are home for the summer...most of our best family bonding days are spent during the summer. Every year I cry the last day of summer vacation and begin the countdown to the next beginning of summer vacation. Love my kids and love spending time with them !!!!!"

I couldn't agree with her more. Imagine knowing that you are in your parent's hair, they are stuck with you and they can't have fun anymore...

Why did you have kids in the first place?

And why can't your children be your fun?

That's what I hope to do...

Have fun with my children.

Treasure every day.

Make every moment count.

My same Facebook friend eloquently posted another sentiment along the same lines:

"I think that some parents really need to lighten up a bit and remember that their kids will only be kids for such a short amount of time. If they could grasp this notion they'd have a whole different perspective on how they treat them. I am one of those people that never want my kids to grow up...I love every minute of them!!!!!"

They will be grown and gone before you know it.

I guess then you can start having fun.

...We are so tied to our technology and our careers and our pettiness that we forget that there are actual children wanting us to delight in them.

I was bartending one evening and a regular couple and their kids came in. I figured they would go into the dining room and have dinner.

No, the couple had to sit at the bar, so the plopped themselves down at the bar and put their children at a high top table behind them.

The mother then called me over and gave me a cake. It was her daughter's 10th birthday. She would tell me when to bring out the cake.

The whole night the parents sat at the bar and barely interacted with their children. The mother spent most of her time texting.

When everyone had finished eating the father, as almost an afterthought, said something to the mother about the cake.

She looked up from her phone and was like "Oh yeah...I guess you should bring the cake now."

Me and the other bartender went and got the cake, lit all the candles and walked out singing Happy Birthday.

The mother sitting at the bar with her back to her children continued to text.

The mother did not even get up from the bar and go to the table.

The daughter kept saying: "Mom! Mom! Come look! Come here!"

The mother didn't move.

I remember being appalled. I remember swearing that would never be me.

But what if I didn't wait to have children? What if this journey had been easy? If I had not miscarried? If I had easily "gotten myself pregnant"? Would I have in turn become a mother who is more interested in texting, drinking and getting her children out of her hair rather than one that cries when summer ends?

I posted to my friend on Facebook that she is the kind of mother that I dream of becoming. And she wrote back:

"And you will be because I know what kind of person you are! ♥"

No, it's the kind of person I've become...the kind of person I am.

But more importantly the kind of person I am not.



  1. While I agree that a miscarriage is a horrible thing, I can't help but think that maybe sometimes a pregnancy and loss does happen for another reason. Call it fate or whatever, I'm still not sure that I believe in that, but I can't help but think of an experience a family I know has been going through lately. The family already has five children, ranging in age from 7-20. The wife is 42, and they had no intentions of becoming pregnant again. When she missed her period in late summer, she went to the doctor thinking that menopause was starting, but shockingly, she was pregnant. This is a very religious family, but even still the other five children had mixed feeling due to the current financial strain on the family. At 12 weeks, she miscarried, and that is when the doctor discovered she had cancer in her abdomen. I can't help but think that the unplanned/unexpected pregnancy happened simply to draw attention to the cancer. If it had not been for the pregnancy/miscarriage, there is a strong chance the cancer would have gone undetected until it had spread. Maybe SOME miscarriages do happen for a reason. Of course, that still doesn't take away the pain and sadness felt by the family involved.

  2. Excellent post. Especially the part about acknowledging loss & grief... and not trying to find a reason for it - explain to away. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective.

  3. There is a saying that "until you walk in someones shoes you cannot really empathize with them". I so agree with that. I was like you. Before the whole TTC saga I "thought" I was very sympathetic but now realize I too was the type to say stuff like "maybe its happens for a reason", or the other platitudes you mention.
    My close friend had a difficult time getting pregnant and did IVF. I thought to myself - wow I would never be that radical. Then after she had her first baby, she wanted another and did IVF two more times. I thought she was crazy. "You have a child why on earth do you want to do it again" I was thinking. Fast foward many years, and here I am 4 IUI, 1 IVF later and looking at donor eggs. NOW I get it! Unfortunately its only when one has been down a road that one can truly understand the emotional aspects to it. I have family members who respond with "so how far are you going to go" or
    "maybe you should live child-free" - and while that stings I realize that they are not being meam, they are just unaware and that years ago I too was in that same place. If anything good has come out of this IF journey, its that it makes us a lot more tolerant and empathetic.

  4. This entire post resonates with me. Very well said. I think I may have been insensitive to a friend who had a miscarriage years ago. It's different when you are on the other side. It changes your opinion of things and not just things related to kids and infertility. I think you like who you are becoming and I know I like who I'm becoming. So maybe this is the little good thing we get from all this pain.

  5. When you wrote that sometimes you feel like you "deserved" miscarrying, my heart broke for you. I can't imagine anyone deserving the of pain the losing a child, no matter what type of person you were. I know it's sort of a cliche quote but like Maya Angelou said, "when you know better, you do better" Thank you for this post & reminding me to do better.

  6. Thanks so much for writing this post. There is a lot to relate to here, especially the part about our collective previous insensitivities regarding miscarriage, pregnancy, infertility, etc. I remember very well thinking people who did IVF were "crazy" and should "just adopt" and all those things. I'm deeply ashamed of that now, but I try to remember that I just didn't know better at the time. We grew up in the era of children being a burden, of killing our mother's dreams and standing in the way of her "finding herself". It's hard to shake that off until you suddenly find yourself actually wanting a child, which is a whole new uncharted territory. I still have single childless friends who make unkind comments about mothers we know, or pregnant women we know (and are probably saying unkind things about me). But I try to remember that they just don't understand because they've never been there. When, and if, they get there, they will understand.

  7. I can't tell you how many times I've looked back on the me that was in a past life and realized that she really wouldn't have ever been able to understand what the me who lives in the here and now feels about all that has happened. All that has been taken away. I do beleive that out of everything that happens in this life (both the good, and the horrific), we can be led to amazing things. But still... even in believing that, it doesn't really make the horrific any easier to get through.



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