Infertility and infant loss have left me with deep emotional scars. The scars that I carry from my struggle with infertility never went away. Even when I was pregnant with Asher, my reaction to other people’s pregnancy announcements remained the same. I felt like some people didn’t struggle enough to get pregnant and that fact irritated me. I felt as if I had some say in who gets pregnant and how long it takes them to get pregnant. Who am I to judge? I have no right, and yet I still do it. You know why? Because I’m human. I feel like we as humans have this innate reaction to compare ourselves to others. It’s not healthy. It’s not helpful. And yet I know everyone does it.
After losing Asher, a layer of emotional scar tissue formed on top of the already existent scars brought on by infertility, and the comparisons only got worse.
I mentioned in a post on my personal blog how it’s hard not to play the “one-up” game with grief. It’s hard to listen to someone complain about something that I deem trivial and not think, “Yeah… my son died,” like my loss or struggle is worse than theirs. Again, who am I to judge?! I have to be really cognizant of the fact that I am nobody, and that I can’t judge someone else’s struggle. If it is upsetting to them, then I just need to respect that and offer my support. I don’t need to compare their struggle to mine; they are not comparable because they are different.
Honestly, it’s hard for me NOT to compare, though.
I know it’s an issue of mine and yet I still find myself feeling annoyed with other people. The truth is I’m not annoyed with them, I’m annoyed with the unfairness that is this life.
It annoys me that I had to struggle for a year and a half to get pregnant only to miscarry that pregnancy. I’m irritated that I got pregnant naturally, only for my son to be inexplicably stillborn at 32 weeks. It’s irritating that some people could try for one month and get pregnant when I wasn’t so lucky.
I’m irritated that others get to be blissfully unaware of child loss.
It annoys me that pregnant women can push aside the fact that my son was stillborn and be jubilant about their own pregnancies—even though I wrote a post to pregnant women advising them NOT to allow my experience to cloud their pregnancies. Seriously, could I be more hypocritical?! I’m annoyed that I couldn’t even take my own advice with my first pregnancy. A vast majority of my friends miscarried their first pregnancies, which terrified me while I was pregnant for the first time. I knew nothing was guaranteed then and that being pregnant didn’t mean I would stay pregnant.
It irritates me that some women don’t live in fear that preparing for their baby early on will jinx their pregnancy. Meanwhile, I am over here unable to unpack baby items or prepare for the hopeful arrival of my twin daughters until we pass the gestational age in this pregnancy when we lost their brother. I’m irritated that some women are anxiety-free while pregnant, and I’m over here struggling to get through each day without panicking that something is wrong with me or my babies.
I am fully aware that the comparison of struggles with others is MY own issue and that my annoyances about things are extremely hypocritical.
It is something that I need to work through. I need to work to make myself a better person. I need to work to make Asher proud. I need to stop resenting others because of the experiences I have had to endure. Truthfully, I am happy that others don’t have to know the pain of infertility and child loss. But I am only human, and it hurts to know that I do. Right now, my infertility and child loss scars are bright red and angry. I am working on trying to make them fade to a barely noticeable shade of pink. Call me a “work in progress”.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother to her son, Asher, who was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017 and twin daughters. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project , an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. She hopes to help others by sharing her journey as she continues to navigate the bumpy road that is life after loss.