Monday, May 12, 2008

Deserving / Not Deserving

You're right (of course), I should cut myself some slack. I have this need to be perfect, and have a horror of being called a bitter infertile. When I am a bitter infertile, of course (but working on the bitter part). So people should just have to deal with that.

But I wanted to mention the deserving / not deserving thing. Because I think it's important.

Having sat around the IF community for a while, I feel pretty safe in saying that babies are NOT given out according to who "deserves" to have them. You either get pregnant, or you don't. End of story. There is no angel in heaven with the title of "Baby Awarder" who will give or withhold depending on whether we have been good girls, or whether we need punishment. Besides, even if there were such an angel, our notions of who deserves what are very human and limited, and we can't possibly say how such rules should be structured. Just because on a mean day I might think that a crack whore doesn't deserve a baby doesn't make it so. Maybe she is a victim of her circumstances, maybe a baby will help her clean her act up. Maybe she really does deserve it, but I just can't see it.

Anyway, I have never thought that I don't deserve a baby. [Well, OK, there's been an occasional question in my mind.] I mostly suffer from the opposite problem. An ego that thinks that I DO damn well deserve to have a baby. Because you know, I'm nice. Mostly. I think: "Why her? Why not me? Why is life so unfair to me?"

But the problem all basically boils down to our thoughts about this. It is our thoughts that cause a lot of the suffering. If we think we deserve a baby, and then we don't get one, we suffer. If we don't get pregnant, and then think it must be because we don't deserve one, we suffer. If, on the other hand, we accept that this is somewhat random and there's no discernable reason, we only suffer with the not getting pregnant part. We don't additionally burden ourselves with thoughts of how unfair life/karma/God is.

I think that's what the quote I wrote out is trying to say. It's not that we will never suffer in our lives. We will. But if we can accept that life has suffering, and our particular burden is infertility, we actually suffer less than if we spend hours brooding on and wailing about unfairness and deserving. And all that. We take on one set of reasons for suffering (infertility) without adding another set of reasons (life is unfair, I deserve a baby OR I must be bad, I don't deserve a baby). By accepting that there is suffering (infertility) instead of thinking that my life should be a bed of roses and that I should never have any problems, I end up suffering less over all. I think. I think that's what he's trying to get at.

I hope that makes any sort of sense. So by trying to neither think I deserve a baby, nor think that I don't deserve a baby, but instead take out that whole "deserving" part of the equation and accept that life is just awful sometimes, it should be a tiny bit easier to take. That's what I'd like to get to, anyway.


katedaphne said...

Sarah, I absolutely agree. There is very little in life that has to do with "deserving." Things come, or don't, things stay, or go. Whether or not we deserve it is immaterial. Whenever I start thinking about deserving, I think of the 100,000 people who died in the tsunami on Christmas Eve. Did they deserve that? Nope, but they got it. It doesn't take away any of my suffering, but it helps me manage it.

You've been on my mind a lot lately (though I am a bad commenter) and I am trying to send as much strength and peace -- and even a tad of good luck -- your way as I can. Hugs--

Anonymous said...

I so hear you on the deserving/not deserving. And, I think I get what you are trying to say on suffering. It made me think about a book I read after my first m/c called "When bad things happen to good people". It's written by a Jewish Rabbi who lost his son to a rapid aging disease. Now, I'm not Jewish, but found it interesting. And, probably appropriate for anyone regardless of their religious or not beliefs. The part that has stayed with me most is the laws of nature vs. laws of god discussions. Which touches upon what the commenter about says about the tsunami. Anyway, hope this makes sense as I'm dragging on a Monday morning and writing this during a work meeting. Deb (Deb2You2)

sarah said...

I couldn't agree more. I struggled so much during the year of ttc, every month feeling as if I deserved a baby, and that if I didn't get it, I was being punished for things I felt ashamed of. When I finally let go, and realized it was a biological process, and that I could only intervene, not control it, I gained some measure of equilibirum. It isn't that it doesn't surface, but I have better ways of putting it in perspective.

Almamay said...

Life is so unfair. I try and take some good things from this painful IF struggle we've had and finding your blog and enjoying your insightful writing is one of the good things.

Cindy said...

It definitely has nothing to do with whether someone is deserving of a baby or not. None of us deserve or don't deserve a baby. It either happens or it doesn't. It does totally seem unfair but to consider fairness would, again, be to consider why someone else is deserving of something we are not. Unfortunately we get what we get. The tough part is accepting that. I have had to do that with several things in my life recently and the best thing that I have done is just say, "It is what it is, there is nothing I could have done."

I also am trying to stop blaming myself for things I cannot control. Infertility is beyond our control. I hate that. I would think that spending large amounts of money on fertility treatments should "buy" me some control. That is the part that is hard to take. No matter what I try or how much money I spend, I STILL don't have control.

So, yes, taking the whole "deserving" part of the equation out really does help with accepting situations in life that did not turn out the way that we wanted.