PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Reason Is: There Isn’t One

One of the many things I’ve learned from writing this blog is that it’s always been better for me to write what I’m feeling. Anytime I’ve ever written what I think people want to read about or what I think people want to hear, it just never works. It’s never as funny, honest, raw or even relatable. It’s when I say exactly what I’m thinking and feeling that readers seem to connect in some way. Even if they disagree, they know it rings more genuine than if I were blowing smoke up their fertility challenged ass.

In short, every TV series needs a "Very Special" episode; one that is not only funny, but that touches on a 'very special' subject in a way that only The Fonz from HAPPY DAYS could touch. This entry is my 'Very Special Episode'.

I mention this because I want to make clear that what I’m about to write about today is true for me and I know it won’t be for everyone. This is MORE than ok. If you disagree with me or anything I say in this entry, I totally respect that as ultimately, when it comes to coping with infertility, I’m all about whatever gets you through the day. Some people turn to therapy, others turn to Ben & Jerry’s. Some believe in God, others believe in snake handling. The point is that if you’ve found something that brings you comfort and it doesn’t hurt others, I support you one hundred percent.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how so many people believe that everything happens for a reason. How many times have we all heard that? ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ The more people say it, especially in response to some devastating tragedies; I can’t help but wonder who’s deciding these reasons and are they right?

I know so many people who have had miscarriages and one person or another have said to them, “It wasn’t meant to be” or “I’m sure there was a good reason this happened”. What’s even worse is some even go a step further and try to surmise the actual reason.

“Maybe you were meant to do something else right now.”

“Maybe this baby would have been a pain in the ass.”

“Maybe it just wasn’t the right time.”

I’m stunned at how people think this is at all helpful. I’m even more stunned that people who have never suffered from infertility or miscarriages could be so bold as to attempt to explain this kind of loss to someone. I know they are trying to be comforting and that they are coming from a good place but I just don’t get it. It would be like me telling someone who lost their legs in an accident, “I’m sure there’s a reason. You may have tried to tap dance at a party and been terrible at it. Losing your legs saved you the embarrassment.” Then I’d smile and skip away.

Even though I’ve never had a miscarriage, I’ve gotten my share of similar comments. The one I’ve heard the most is, “If you haven’t gotten pregnant yet, there must be a reason.” I think some people find this a quick and easy way to either dismiss you or the problem. I feel like they are saying, “There must be a reason, so don’t worry about it and let’s talk about something else that doesn’t make me uncomfortable, shall we?” Again, I know they mean well and I always nod my head and move on with the conversation but for me, trying to figure out this imaginary reason I’m having fertility issues always makes me more upset. Any time I’ve sat down and tried to figure out the possible reason we’ve lost thousands of dollars, why I’ve been somewhat physically tortured for almost two years and why we remain childless despite our very best efforts, I tend to get overly self-critical. I come up with everything and anything I could have possibly done wrong.

Am I bad a tipper at restaurants?

I failed Chemistry in 8th grade. That must be it.

Is it because I think my friend’s baby is ugly?

Would I make a bad mother?

I must be because I was nasty to that guy on my subway.

Perhaps it’s because it rained on my wedding day…

Maybe it’s that I don’t want it enough.

When I get like this, I think of the countless stories we all know of people who shouldn’t have had children; parents who abuse their children, or even kill their babies. Does that mean there was a reason those people should be a parent and I shouldn’t? No. What possible reason could there be for any of that? The only way to make sense of it is to accept that it makes no sense.

What also doesn’t make sense is the stories I’ve heard of fertility efforts gone incredibly wrong. In the past two years, I’ve heard three separate accounts where there was a woman who got pregnant through IVF or IUI after years of trying, spent all that money and went through all the heartache that it entails. One doctor or another thought there was some sort of issue and terminated the pregnancy. In each of these cases, it turned out that the doctors misdiagnosed the situation and the pregnancy was in fact viable but now, due to this unfortunate mistake, it was too late. The pregnancy was over and the woman was left devastated. Under circumstances like that, I can’t imagine telling any of those women, “There’s a reason that happened.” To try to apply any kind of logic is… well… illogical.

For me personally, I find it more comforting to accept that this is not the universes personal attack against me or anyone else. There is no reason to any of this other than life can be difficult and bad things sometimes happen to good people. I’m not saying there is no order to the universe. I barely can figure out how to use my cell phone so I certainly can’t comment with certainty on fate or destiny. However, even if there is some master plan, that doesn’t mean that absolutely everything that happens in this world was meant to happen.

Whenever I freak out or get upset or think “Why did she get pregnant and not me?”, I remind myself that I’ll never know. No one knows for that matter. Not Oprah, not the Dalai Lama, not the best psychic in the world and not even my mother (who genuinely seems to have all the answers). It’s just the way it is. I can’t control what’s happened or what is happening now. I can only control how I choose to deal with it. My method is therapy, watching movies (as well as RuPaul’s Drag Race), talking with friends, spending time with my husband and buying myself something nice on occasion. I’ve just got to keep moving and stop trying to figure things out… well… except for my cell phone. I’ve GOT to figure that one out eventually.

48 comments:

sunnymama said...

I was told by someone today that all 16 of my embies died for a reason. :(

bodegabliss said...

You know what episode I instantly thought of when you said every show has a very special episode? When Michael Keaton's (J. Fox) best friend died in a motorcycle crash on Family Ties. What an episode! That was theirs, I think.

And I agree with you completely. Bad things just happen. It's natural to try and find a reason behind it, but gah, isn't that exhausting!

(Also, it's good luck if it rains on your wedding day! So you should that that off your list. ;) )

SLESE1014 said...

A very special episode indeed....of course I thought of the "Growing Pains" episode where Matthew Perry who was Carol's boyfriend died in a dd accident.

I was talking to a friend of mine about how to talk to an IFer and sent her the info from Resolve. I know people mean well, but you wouldn't tell a cancer patient they had to suffer in pain for a reason....the only reason I can believe this happens to us IFers is we were chosen because of our strength and support systems. Those women who don't suffer from IF wouldnt be able to handle it.

Thanks for sharing.

Lulu said...

THANK you for writing this. I feel the exact same way. I hate being told that "God has a plan." There are so many unnecessary assumptions when you tell someone that. You're right that they mean well but they change the subject and dismiss your pain. I hate it. You wouldn't tell someone dying of cancer that there's a reason they need to die!

Julia said...

This. A thousand times, this.

Michelle said...

Your posts are always awesome.
I feel dismissed A Lot. I feel very much like most of the time, most people in my life are Sick of hearing about my vagina and the lack of children coming out of it.
You are not alone. At least we have each other. *hugs*

Katie said...

A-freaking-men. My biggest pet peeve is when people tell me that there's a reason for all of this. How on earth are you going to tell a woman that there's a reason her baby died? Or she can't carry a child? Or all her embryos didn't make it (like sunnymama)? It's just... wrong.

Thank you for writing this!

runnyyolk said...

Fabulous post! This: "“There must be a reason, so don’t worry about it and let’s talk about something else that doesn’t make me uncomfortable, shall we?” is so true.

I used to believe things happened for a reason. I don't think that anymore.

-Elphaba

unaffected said...

I think you might have stumbled upon the cause of infertility...it rained on my wedding day also. Thank you for clearing this up for me! :)

Alex said...

Amen, amen, amen!!! And a million more... I've heard that I'm infertile, that I've lost two children, that this is happening to me because THERE'S A REASON, and it's crap! My mother told me that maybe God doesn't want me to be a mother, that he has another purpose for me. I had to remind her that she adopted me because she couldn't get pregnant... I hate this so much.

Thanks for writing this - I couldn't agree more.

And it rained on my wedding day too... hmmm...

Nic said...

I have been told so many times it must be for a reason. I just believe things happen just 'because....'
There is no reason most of the time.
So frustrating

Red Power Ranger said...

I was told by a fertile that there must be something wrong with me when I miscarried in July. "You have to find out why you can't carry a child"???? Um well who carried my son then who is running around right now? Aarrrh! Great post, it's a message to those who have mo idea about IF or MC to shut the F up!

Cheers said...

You are so right!!! And unless you are experiencing it yourself, you will never understand how freaking ridiculous the "It happened for a reason" statement is!!
Love this post!

hopeisafourletterword said...

Great post, so true. I feel the exact same way, especially working at a children's hospital seeing a lot of people who shouldn't be parents.

amiracle4us said...

this is such a good post and well, so true!!!

Lori said...

Hey! It's ICLW and was just droppin' by to let you know I just gave you a blogging award- go and check it out! :)

Jennifer Bruno said...

This is great. I wish people felt comfortable enough to say things like, "I'm so sorry you are going through this," or "I can't imagine how you must feel", or "I am here if you need me". People just feel uncomfortable and are genuinely trying to "help" but it's so belittling, so dismissive, and so ignorant.

MrsJBT said...

I just found your blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this today.

ADSchill said...

I was JUST thinking through all of this yesterday! So weird how we are on the same wavelength. I agree 100% that it's not "what is meant to be", it's life. Just the way things are.

Sandy said...

Thank you for writing this. I was just thinking today that people can not relate to this if they haven't been through it. It's such a crazy journey!

The Infertility Doula said...

Honestly, I don't think there's ever a justifiable reason. How can one ever claim that "it wasn't meant to be" for the horrible things we've been through.

Being on the other side, the only "reason" I can give myself is that all those cycles and pregnancies didn't work out b/c none of them would have been my son K.

I'm not fatalistic (devout atheist here!), but that't the only peace I have been able to find for the shit I went through or for the shit any of us go through.

Anonymous said...

yes, it is sooooo incredibly TRUE! I hate when they say stupid things like that too. But they don't realize it and i'm tired of enlighting them and fighting with them about the opposite.
Oh well, not everything has a reason, for sure. I'm not even sure that anything has a reason behing it. Things just happen. Sometimes we make them happen, sometimes we try to make them happen and we fail at it... there is no reason behind it. That's nature. That's life. Like after trying for years and then conceiving.... looking back I see absolutely NO reason for waiting for so long and suffering so much. ANd no, nt even pregnancy and eventually a healthy baby can justify or make sense out of what happened to us and give us an answer. Nope, there is no way. It just happened they way it did.... why? No one knows. And probably no one will know.
GReat post like always! I am always so excited to read your new posts and I come back to check in every day :)

dee said...

I was told so many times "it wasn't meant to be" in an effort to comfort me after our failed IVF. Made me feel like crap every time. Who decided it wasn't meant to be? Certainly not me. I had one friend say something acceptable. She said "That fucking sucks". And she was right, it does. I wish everyone could acknowledge that.

Kelly said...

i gave you an award at my blog www.theempty-nest.blogspot.com

WaitingVicky said...

What worries me is that the "This is happening for a reason" isn't just an occasional comment. I hear this almost every time someone finds out we can't have kids.

I am baffled beyond belief that society views this as the proper response to our situations. I cannot figure out if it's lack of education on the topic, attempt at comfort, or what.

You raise an excellent point though. We shouldn't turn it around on ourselves. None of us deserve this, not even the tiniest bit.

My Hopeful Journey said...

I think the comment about things happen for a reason holds true in that wen you look back you have learned something or it has changed yoour life in a way that it may not have changed had you not gone through it. For me I feel like my experiences have formed me as a person. I would never be part of this IF community and doing what I am doing if I didn't go through everything that I did. Is that part of a bigger plan.. not sure? But I like to think that something positive has come out of something terrible!

Doogie said...

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/07/the-just-world-fallacy/

missohkay said...

I believe that there is a plan for me. Not a predestined one, but like a choose-your-own-adventure book where I'm currently stuck in a sucky plot line and there are any number of paths I could choose to try to escape it. I can't NOT believe that things happened for a reason or I would lose faith altogether. But I still lose my shit when people say that to me because it's paired with the presumption that I will roll over and say "oh okay, well if I was SUPPOSED to have three miscarriages then..." Because even though I do believe it, I'm pissed off that *this* is my plan when everyone else (present company excepted) gets to just get pregnant and have babies like it's not a freakin miracle.

Me Stork Lost said...

Agreed...people just don't know what to say, and 'things happen for a reason' or 'it will happen when the time is right' etc seem to just be easier for people to say and as others said move the conversation on to other things. But as others said, it doesn't help us or our pain.

N said...

Definitely agree. I'm glad you posted this. I think it's crap when people say that. I think it's pretty much a crap shoot and hopefully you get lucky most of the time.

suchagoodegg said...

Awesome post. My husband tells me this (basically what you have said above!) all the time as I search for the "reason why this happened to us." I wanted so badly to blame my running or my job or my inability to beg hubs to have kids earlier, or my OB for not helping me, or my own stupidity for waiting forever to go of the pill....I wanted to find how and why I was responsible.

The sick thing is that I personally tried to tell myself there was a reason...it wasn't all coming from the outside world (tho, my mom would say it ALL THE FREAKING TIME and it killed me inside, so I should know better). Thank you for the honest, raw perspective. I totally agree with you...tho it took me a little while to get there.

Kelly said...

Oh, I totally feel you on this. I heard countless stupid reasons why my miscarriage was "meant to be." I don't believe in that crap either.

Keep on keepin' on, babe. I really hope it happens for you.

Hope said...

Here, here!

I used to believe that there was a reason for everything. Then I had two miscarriages and someone (who happened to be in the business of helping women who are pregnant or TTC) came out and basically said I miscarried because I wasn't *spiritually* ready to be a mother. WTF???

After I found out about my MTHFR mutations and insulin resistance I stopped believing in that kind of reason. Biological reasons, sure, but metaphysical reasons, not so much. I agree with you than *no one* should ever tell people going through IF/RPL that "there is a reason for this." Even when I was still holding on to my belief that there was a reason for my miscarriages, it still hurt to hear someone else's interpretation of it.

(ICLW #168)

The Baby Race said...

I used to be a very firm believer that everything happened for a reason. Then infertility hit and I just couldn't find a reason. It was too cruel. And the more people kept saying "there's a reason" or "it's not your time" the more I wanted to start punching people in the face. Thanks for the post, it's totally true - there is no reason. It just sucks.

(@esqwearsprada)

Kakunaa said...

THANK YOU!!! Yes, sometimes things happen for a reason, or seem to, but horrible things? To teach us some sort of lesson? No, thanks, not gonna believe you. Maybe it's being an atheist...agnostic....what have you. Whichever, it is NOT a comforting statement for too many of us. Let's ban it.

sidewinder said...

Thank you for this (and your entire blog, btw, which I've recently spent far too much time reading back through.) I don't want to hear that I'm going through all of this because of some greater reason. Actually at the same time, neither do I want a pep talk from some of my friends about how I "shouldn't give up" and that "when the time is right it'll happen!" After 5-6 years I'm ready to come to terms with giving up just so I can get on with my life and come to terms with it without children being involved, which is how it's looking it'll be at this point. Basically I just want everyone to STFU if they haven't been through infertility themselves and not try to tell me how I should be feeling or why it did or didn't happen.

RhymeSchemesAndDaydreams said...

"Everything happens for a reason" is akin to "God has a plan" and "God works in mysterious ways." Something bad happens for no discernible reason, so we create this nebulous non-reason that's supposed to ease our pain. For some people, maybe it does. Some people find a lot of comfort in prayer for every situation. I try to find comfort in prayer sometimes, but usually I end up thinking about how religion is most likely a man-made attempt at explaining the inexplicable and making death less scary. That's why a lot of old people get religion; they know they're going to die and they hate to think that everything they are will cease to exist.

I don't have children. I wasn't sure I ever wanted any, and then my husband said he definitely didn't want any because he has health problems he didn't want to pass on. That's it then. When I have a wistful moment of what might have been, I use the stories like you mentioned, the killer kids and the ones who steal from their parents or the ones who get sick and die, to remind myself that just because I miss the perfect child I might have had, it could have been so much more painful to have one that didn't turn out the way I'd dreamed. That's me telling myself though. I would never say that to anyone else. Well, I take that back. If I were talking to a very, very good friend, and I only have a couple of those, I might feel I could say something like that. But just randomly, to someone I don't know well, of course not.

It's wonderful that you are adopting a child.

ICLW #104

Aramelle said...

My basic response to the "reason" statements was something along the lines of "yeah, life sucks." Not very poetic, but it summed up my feelings at the time.

BTW, I have an award for you on my blog. :)

stacie said...

I totally agree. I find no comfort in the "everything happens for a reason" line of thought. Some people do, and more power to them, but I personally feel much better in my belief that no, not everything happens for a reason. Otherwise I don't think I could get through the days.

Jay said...

I just wanted to thank all of you for your comments and of course, for understanding where I'm coming from. I'm still stunned at how many of you have been told under difficult circumstances that there was a reason. We all know it's meant to be helpful, but yeah, it's kinda not.

Also, @RhymeSchemesAndDaydreams -- I'm not adopting. I'm trying to enter in a clinical trial to do my second round of IVF. :)

Love and rockets to everyone and thank you again!!! xoxoxo

SLESE1014 said...

Jay-thanks for posting this...I believe we have all been told this at some point. I'm sure there are reasons....we just will never know what they are...so I'd rather not analyze them.

Also, I tagged you for an award...see my blog please!

Lovin Ma Soldier said...

Check out my blog Sunday for your blog award!! :)

MelissaP05 said...

I'll never understand why the universe makes some of us go through IF and others not. I've tried to make sense of everything, why we had so many embryos die and why all of a sudden we finally found one that survived. Sometimes you just have to say, "OK, what will be will be and I'm just along for the ride." I really think timing has alot to do with it though. Happy ICLW!

Erin said...

I love this post. Truly. LOVE. IT. I don't know why people say the things they say, but I often think it's because they don't know what else to say. I find myself sometimes wanting to ninja kick those assholes who make insensitive comments about how there must be a reason or maybe it's just not meant to be, but then I remember that I can't adopt a baby if I'm in jail. :)

jjiraffe said...

Here from ICLW, this rocks. Hard. You may have seen this already, but just in case you haven't: http://bodegabliss.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/one-postsecret-today/

Jess said...

I've been thinking a lot about this. I was always one of those people who believed that there was a reason for the seeming chaos of the universe.

After IVF and 2 losses, it's been harder to think of any possible "bright sides" to my heartbreak. However, I still stupidly cling to the hope that I'll look back on all this and be at peace.

That said, having other people tell me that there's a good reason for my losses will never be ok.

Thanks for writing and sharing with such honesty.

mrs. r said...

Love this post--so raw and real with the things so many of us have wondered in this crazy land of IF.

This is how I feel about people that believe in the Laws of Attraction--that you attract your future to you, like The Secret or something.

Uhm, no. If so, idk what kind of crazy shee I did to attract the struggles we have had to get our kids into our family.

Just sayin'!

Great post!

ICLW #163
www.therhouse.blogspot.com
infertility * adoption * hope

Anonymous said...

I think that you're allowed to say this nonsense phrase about your own life tragedies (probably after you've turned them around), but don't say it about someone else's misfortunes. I dropped my ex-friend Mya because she kept saying this. Yeah, I guess my life tragedies happened so she could condescend to me & pat herself on the back every 5 minutes. I guess that's the reason.

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