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Broken Hearted–Part Two

It’s really hard to buy into the idea that everything happens for a reason when you’re at the mouth of mourning. Or in the belly of mourning. Or even being shot out of the anus of mourning. It isn’t until years later that you can finally look back and trace all the bad experiences and make up a story of how they helped stave off something even worse from happening. Or how they brought you to your baby (or, in my friend’s case, her b’shert).

But that’s the advice everyone gives you when you’re in the middle of it–that everything happens for a reason. And I walk a thin line on the side of belief while still dipping my foot from time to time into the deep waters of disbelief. Because once you take this thought out to its ends of predestination, it begins to fall apart somewhat.

Here is the part that trips me: reason. If there is a reason, then it means there was thought behind it. And if there was thought behind it, then who is doing the thinking? A higher power? Destiny incarnate? And if it is destiny incarnate or a higher power, take this idea into another direction. Does destiny keep things balanced? Or is there a strange distribution of crap? This is where the questions of doubt begin to unravel the idea that everything happens for a reason: why are abusive parents able to conceive and carry to term easily? Why do wonderful, giving people sometimes die young while mass murderers live into their nineties? You would think if reason was behind this that the correlation between deserving and receiving would be clearer. Unless the unbalanced distribution is part of the greater plan as well.

And that’s all I have to bank on to keep me on the side of believing that there is a point to why it takes some people so long to conceive or why it takes others so long to find their b’shert. And why we endure terrible losses.

My RE warned me that the best time to try again was within a year of the twins’ birth. And we didn’t. We just gave up that opportunity by sort of avoiding the whole thing. I don’t know why. Maybe because I became a bleeding psycho of worry every time we thought about trying again. That may have had something to do with it. And I’m not kicking myself now. I’m just mindful that I gave up an opportunity. Which may have not worked regardless. But it still looks like a little shining pot of gold behind me on the path that I failed to pick up. Even if it wasn’t a realistic find at the time. I mean, how was I going to carry that big pot of gold while holding two children? And how was I supposed to know that down the road, you still needed money in this lifetime?

And this is the little path of “reason” that I cut for myself in order to make sense of everything. My twins needed to be IUGR and premature in order to save a future child from being IUGR. Because they monitor you much closer with a twin pregnancy, and many times, IUGR is not caught in time in a singleton and stillbirth occurs. So the IUGR was caught in my case because we were having so many sonograms. And because the twins were IUGR, the doctor told us about thrombophilia. And because I didn’t try to conceive last year, I wasn’t pregnant when I finally cleaned up the mess by my bed and found the paper on thrombophilia (after first reading about it in a book that month after pretty much forgetting the OBs warning to have myself tested–I mean, look at the strange coincidences surrounding that). So now I am getting myself tested at the end of October. And if it comes back that I do have a clotting disorder, I may have just saved my future child. Because this next pregnancy, even if it’s a singleton, I will be closely monitored regardless due to the IUGR. But perhaps even moreso due to the clotting disorder. And that’s how enduring the first round of infertility (to bring me to these children) made entering the second round of infertility a bit easier. The reason behind everything we went through to get to this place.

And it’s a rosy little way to think about things. And you can only do it when you’re pre-ovulation and filled with a lot of hope. Don’t try this during the 2 week wait.

So why did my friend need to go through this terrible break-up? Because it kept her living where she is now (she had considered moving prior to meeting this man) so she could meet a person who would connect her to her b’shert? Because it gave her deep insights into what she needed from future relationships in order to make them go smoother? Or because he got her through a rough time in life that would have been too lonely and too difficult to get through on her own?

I don’t know. And I don’t think we can even begin to see these things until years down the road. And even then, are we just seeing what we want to see? Why does believing in those connections and reasons make the situation more bearable? You’re still enduring the same loss (infertility, pregnancy loss, a break-up). How does thinking up the possible positive make the negative more tolerable?


1 Piccinigirl { 10.04.06 at 7:24 am }

maybe because you wouldn’t get through it if you couldn’t think of one good thing that you got out of it? I have gotten through some really bad things by remembering that it could have been much worse and that I took something good with me (even if it was just ME that I was taking out of it) . I wrote about this in a way this week, we are going to hold off on treatments until January and the reasons behind it are solid, they make sense, they are responsible. Yet, I know that some part of that waiting will be hard for me , it will make me sad , I may look back and wonder why I did it. Yet, just as I cannot predict what will happen today or in January , I cannot make a decision for my life to change without knowing that there will be good and bad things about that decision.
I just have to trust that the pot of gold will be on another road and that I will find it because I will know what I’m looking for.

2 Anonymous { 10.04.06 at 7:49 am }

Yet another very insightful post – and one that hits close to home for me.

My therapist told me about a proverb about an old chinese farmer (see here on my blog: http://my-many-blessings.blogspot.com/2006/07/proverb-of-old-chinese-farmer.html). Every thing that happens in your life can affect every other thing beyond it – and we will either never know the WHY to it, or if we are lucky to eventually find it, it isn’t until much later.

I found my “perhaps” or my pot of gold when DH’s cousin told me that the reason she decided to keep her baby and get married was because she watched what I went through in mourning my miscarriages – she could not terminate her pregnancy knowing how I desperately wanted another child…nor could she terminate her pregnancy and later regret it (she would have regretted it anyway) if she had problems conceiving or carrying to term. She gave me my positive to my losses…and have been able to move on from there.

I need reasons for things that happen – and it sometimes causes me so much stress when I can’t find it. I guess sometimes we do have to allow “our God”, whomever that may be to each of us, to take over the wheel at times – of course, that is not so easy to do. 😉

3 Leggy { 10.04.06 at 8:44 am }

Oy- I have been struggling with this question ever since my brother died. My husband hates that line of thinking and finds it highly offensive when others suggest that there was a reason for his experiences. I also find it offensive when other people offer it to me about my life. Yet, ironically, it helps me to think about it that way. Do I really think there’s a reason my brother had to die at 25? No. But do I see how that shaped certain things in my life and made me strong enough to survive infertility when that hit.
There are no easy answers- I think its about finding a way to reframe your life when tragedy strikes so that your life still makes sense and has meaning. For some people, that’s where the “there’s a reason for it” thinking comes in.

4 C { 10.04.06 at 8:55 am }

I think a big part of it is about self-preservation. Like Piccinigirl said, why would we go through all this pain if we didn’t believe that something good would come from it? We know we don’t want to give up, we know we don’t want to stop trying, and we know that the only way to get through the tough moments is to hope that someday when we’re not living full time in the land of IF we’ll be able to look back on our expriences and see that they were all for the best. We at least want to believe that what’s happening to us now will lead us to a happy place we wouldn’t have reached if we hadn’t gone through so many rough times.

5 Ms. Once { 10.04.06 at 10:25 am }

This gets right at both the folly and comfort that turning our lives into story affords us. Linda Layne wrote a very interesting scholarly book called _Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America_, in which she spends a whole chapter discussing how miscarriage upsets our deep-seated notions of narrative, linear progress (that the story always gets better, when that’s not really true for those of us who’ve experienced repeated loss).
But I think it’s essentially human to try to make sense of the nonsensical. Myth, religion, our superstitions–all are bound up in trying to tell a story that will explain to ourselves how to reconcile the bad with the good.

6 Carlynn { 10.04.06 at 10:57 am }

I think we have to listen to what is right for us, with regard to your doctor’s comment about the best time to try for another pregnancy. Your best time was not in the year after you had your twins for you. The best time, medically speaking, for me to have had a baby would have been when I was 26, 8 years ago, but for me personally it would have been a disaster. I like to think things happen for a reason. I think because it justifies the experience to me in some way; I have to push through because it is part of a larger equilibrium. However, losing my son who I wanted and loved so much was awful and I cannot understand how that was for a greater good. Maybe one day I will understand why it happened and be able to accept the explanation. Even two months ago I would not have been able to say this but the thought that this year’s suffering fits into a larger picture which is being shaped by a larger being than me is comforting. Maybe it is simply a childish desire to be reassured that everything is actually under control and will be ok.

7 The Town Criers { 10.04.06 at 12:54 pm }

Maybe Leggy touched on something–it’s one thing when we engage in this ourselves and it’s quite another to have someone else tell us that it happens for a reason.

8 Josefina { 10.12.06 at 9:48 pm }

I know the story tina mentioned…I know it very well and many times in my life it has been some kind of “motto” to me…

I’m a truly believer that things not just happen for a reason, but they more like happen TO a reason..I know that’s not good english but’s the only way I find to translate…

There’s the problem underlying here about free will as opposed to predetermination (if everything happens for (or to) a reason, then there’s nothing we can do about it?)…but I’ve come to think as life being like a labyrinth (sorry if it’s misspelled), there are many possible paths, and sometimes we find ourselves trapped in a no-way-out path, so then we have to go back and find the road again. This meaning, that we indeed, are owners of our decisions, and they’re ALL related…and they’re all related to what’s in God’s mind for us…he just let us wander around until we ourselves realize the meaning or the consequences of our acts or decisions…

About terrible things that happen to good people (or good things to bad people), I haven’t been able to sort that out completely, but I still think it’s related to the labyrinth I was talking about (like, abusive parents raising children)…although I think we will understand everything only when we die…

Finally, I think that’s Faith what makes us rise when we’re down, and makes us comfort ourselves when there’s no labyrinth or farmer stories that can comfort us…

But well..it’s my (catholic) point of view and of course I don’t expect everybody to agree with me, and most of all, I trully respect everyone who thinks what I think is pure crap…LOL…but it’s what keep me going!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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