The things people say

17 May

Sometimes, it feels that after infertility, it seems that people try to explain why they deserve their pregnancy so much.  “I’ve been suffering for two years and it sucked big time so I deserve this pregnancy.  And because I had it so hard, I deserve for it go smoothly.”   What bothers me about that is that it implies that the ones who aren’t pregnant after three or four years, didn’t deserve it enough.  The ones that lose their babies don’t deserve them as much apparently .  It means that to them, I don’t deserve it.  I’ve been waiting for nearly six years and they only waited two.  So they must be a better person or more deserving of a baby.  That’s simply not the case.  It’s luck and it’s random.  If everyone that got pregnant did so because they “deserved” it, there would be no unwanted babies out there.

Someone in my support group had a successful IVF and she said she was feeling good and had no morning sickness.  She said it was because “God knew how much she suffered to get a baby, so he was making it easy on her.”  I didn’t say anything. I was too stunned.  Because what does that say about me?  I didn’t suffer enough trying to get pregnant so God threw in a good dose of morning sickness and pre-eclampsia and a baby death just so I would get the full suffering experience?
It’s like the saying that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  A comic, Tig Notaro, talked about that after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her mother died.  She was saying how the angels were standing back and saying, “God, what are you doing? You’re out of your mind.”  And God says, “No, no, no.  I really think she can handle this … Just trust me on this.  She can handle this.”  That’s insane.  Are you saying that if I was weak and crumbled at the thought of any stress, God wouldn’t put this on me?  You’re basically telling me that this is my fault.  You’re telling me that because I’m so strong, God is really piling it on there because I can take it.  The weak woman who wouldn’t be able to stand her baby dying:  that’s the woman who gets her baby.
It’s all just luck of the draw.  I know that we’re taught to believe that good things come to those who wait and good people get rewarded while bad people get punished.  It’s just not true.  Crappy thing happen to good people.  Good people lose loved ones, they get sick, they lose their jobs.  It’s not because of anything they did. It’s just the way life goes.  Anyone that tells you otherwise is either very lucky or just in the pre-crisis part of their life.
People don’t mean anything by it.  They just say things.  Things spill out of their mouth because they don’t know what to say next.  They don’t know how these things can hurt.

24 Responses to “The things people say”

  1. Robin May 17, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    I’ve always hated when people say things like “God only gives you what you can handle.” And, “You’re so strong,” because you’re exactly right. I don’t want to make it through the death of my son, but yet I’m forced to and I’m certainly not strong, I just have no other choice. I hate to think of God dishing out all of this shittiness to those that can supposedly handle it.

    And justifying how hard it has been for people really drives me crazy as well. Why can’t they just say, “I’m pregnant, this probably sucks for you, and I’m really sorry. I wish your son didn’t have to die.” It’s that simple

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      That’s just how I feel. I have no other choice. I have to be this way – it’s not strength, it’s life.

  2. brooke May 17, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Absolutely. I hated being told I was strong after Eliza died. Because, first of all, NO I WASN’T, and secondly, the unspoken implication is that I could handle it. Which I COULD NOT. Or at least, couldn’t handle it any better than anyone else. You’re absolutely right, though. People don’t know what to say so they latch on to trite phrases that have been so overused they barely have any meaning at all, except to sting.

    • allmyprettyones May 17, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      I had a co-worker whose daughter had a traumatic birth and she was in critical condition for quite a while. Luckily, she made it and she’s ok. But everyone kept telling her when she came back, “see, it was meant to be! God took care of you because he loves you. See? Prayer does work! She lived because you guys wanted a baby for so long, you deserve this” and I kept thinking, I’m sitting RIGHT HERE. Does God not love me? Why didn’t prayer work for MY daughter? How can you say it was meant to be that her daughter lived and mine didn’t? Are you saying I didn’t deserve it? Do you not think we prayed hard enough?

      • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

        That’s what makes me lose my faith. Prayer works but only for some people apparently. How does God pick who it works for?

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      Yes! I wasn’t handling things any better than anyone else. They just didn’t have to live through it so they didn’t know.

  3. Lisa May 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I so no what you mean, because I get prickly when people say things like this to me too. I know people mean well, they don’t mean to be hurtful, but in my already fragile mind, it makes me want to just punch them in the face….not literally, but I’m sure you know what I mean. Big hugs. Nobody deserves to go through what you’ve been through.

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      And that’s what makes it hardest… the fact that these people mean well so you can’t truly be upset with them!

  4. Lisa May 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    and by ‘no what you mean’, I meant ‘know what you mean’. Oops.

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Haha. I knew what you meant. 😉

  5. SM May 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    It really is just dumb luck. I’m not strong at all. I wasn’t handed four dead babies because I could handle it. I was given this because of luck. Stupid dumb luck. It sucks but that’s how it is. People just like to latch on to certain phrases because they don’t know what else to say.

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      Seriously. Why would God punish someone just because they’re “strong” enough to handle it?

  6. Cindy May 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    I’ve heard a few times in regards to pregnancy announcements that “it’s so nice to see good people having kids.” I once retorted to someone who knew we had multiple miscarriages “Since my husband and I can’t have kids that must make us bad people.” The person tried furiously to back pedal and ended up saying that God would give us a baby when he thought it was the right time. Most of the time, I just ignore it but it stings.

    I have been told so many times that because I struggled so much, I deserve a baby. I don’t deserve a baby. I wanted one. I lost three. Children aren’t gold stars handed out for sharing toys and washing hands before lunch. My sister has five kids and is a crap parent who can barely support herself. She is planning on having a few more with her husband and will probably have the same easy experience she had with the previous five. And she actually had the gall to say that when God thought we were ready for a baby, he would give us one. Sorry, I’m pretty bitter about this even though we have moved on and decided to be happy with the two boys my husband is lucky to have.

    What I really wanted to say is that most people have only been exposed to people who have had happy endings. There isn’t exactly a Emily Post book on talking to parents who lost a baby or are infertile.

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      That’s another one. God will give you a baby when it’s the right time. Yup, that makes sense. God killed me my baby who was 18 weeks from being born just because he changed his mind about the timing. Yup. Make sense. People are idiots.

  7. Kathy May 19, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    People do say really dumb stuff sometimes. What would be fair and what people deserve don’t have anything to do with what happens unfortunately. You would think that people who have children would understand more than anyone how painful it would be to struggle to have a baby and how devastating it would be to lose one.

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      You would think. But people who haven’t had to struggle don’t realize. And sometimes even those that did, forget.

  8. Alicia May 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I admire your ability to step away from the pain and work on understanding that people are saying these things without thinking before they speak. I have such a hard time when people do this and say these things… It makes me so sad for you, for me, for all of us in the community and for those not yet “out” about their struggles with infertility and loss.

    All of the loss and struggles we face ARE totally random. There is nothing personal about any of this – although I know you know this, I hope you believe it for yourself too. Sometimes I catch myself internalizing and personalizing my own struggles and have to make a conscious effort to stop all these irrational thoughts.

    I know that you started this support group as a way to start healing and to bring people in similar situations together. Is there any way to have a frank discussion with the members of the group about how these comments make people feel? These are comments that we are constantly fielding from people outside of the “community” … it’s a shame that people within it are perpetuating the same negativity…

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

      This is actually my infertility support group where this happened, so it’s not the one I started. It’s moderated by a therapist. And we have had some discussions about it but I honestly think that once people get to the other side sometimes they just forget.

  9. FCblacksheep May 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    I remember people saying to me when Floyd was in the hospital with botulism how it wasn’t fair we were going through this because of what we went through to have her. But why should we be spared? Would it have been any less awful if it happened to two people who didn’t have trouble conceiving? No. There’s no one up there doling out tragedies or blessings based on individual situations.

    • Anna May 19, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      And if there was, they would have a very skewed sense of who deserves what.

  10. chon May 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    I don’t like that people use god as a yardstick for who deserves and doesn’t deserve things.

    I know that at times people say stupid things because they don’t know what else to say so the most ridiculous banal boring cliched crap springs from their mouths. sometimes though they just don’t get it.They will never get it.

    However if i am brutally honest with myself at times I think that hell I deserve a smoother road – like a good baby because it took me long enough to get one. I know that individual situations shouldn’t mean anything but sometimes I think it.

    • Anna May 20, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Ha – well yes, sometimes I think I do deserve a smooth road. Hell, haven’t I suffered enough? But then I remember that the universe doesn’t give gold stars.

      • chon May 20, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

        I just handed one to you – did you get it?

        • Anna May 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

          Thank you. 🙂

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