Which is worse? Stepping on broken glass, or on burning coal?
What about stubbing your baby toe on the coffee table, or getting a paper cut under your fingernail?
Now, what about miscarrying at 6 weeks, or 12 weeks?
Or how about if you’ve had 1 miscarriage, or 3? Have you tried to conceive for 2 years, or 8?
Comparison. It’s a dangerous game to play.
My husband and I have been going through infertility for about five years now. Three years ago, we miscarried at 6 weeks. Our baby would be two years old now. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about our baby and wonder who he or she would look like. What his or her first giggle would sound like, first steps, food, word…I’ll never stop wondering. I’ll always carry around the pain of my miscarriage. The pain of my infertility.
I’ve had a lot of people share their opinions and thoughts on our journey —more than enough unwarranted advice and suggestions. I’ve learned that most people mean well and I’ve gotten a lot better at handling these situations. There are certain things that I’ve been told though, that really stick in my mind. They’re hard to forget. I remember once being told by someone that they had a friend who miscarried and that they got over it really quickly. A friend of mine was once told by someone that they knew someone who miscarried and barely felt a thing. Heck, someone even told me that they had 5 miscarriages and that my baby was not actually a baby yet and that I’d be fine.
I remember how guilty I felt after hearing these comparisons.
Maybe I was overreacting. Wait, was I even pregnant? Was there actually a baby? Maybe I should just move on because my friend knew someone who had tried for ten plus years and never even got pregnant. At least I know I could be pregnant. I should just be happy with that and hold on to hope, and move on. Comparison made me feel guilty about my grief.
Once you begin comparing your story to everyone else’s, it can spiral out of control. It’s almost like the more you compare, the more comparisons you find. Which is worse, PCOS or Endometriosis? Metformin or Clomid? Injections or internal ultrasounds? It’s exhausting. It causes bitterness and breaks you down. Suddenly on top of all your pain and grief, you don’t matter. Your story is not as important as someone else’s. Can you relate to this?
Have you experienced this kind of comparison?
Has someone ever told you that your pain is not valid because there are far worse situations that others are going through? Maybe you’ve thought that because you haven’t gone through any fertility treatments that your infertility is not “as bad” as you friend who has gone through a round or two of IVF. Have you felt insignificant because you lost your baby before there was a heartbeat? I remember feeling guilty about my grief because I never even got an ultrasound photo or heard a heartbeat. So and so had a picture of their baby, so their miscarriage was worse.
Stop. We have to stop!
Myself included. Here’s the thing. YOU matter. YOUR story matters. It’s not a competition. We must stop comparing our stories and our grief. Infertility is hard enough as it is, there is no need to compare. We can’t compare because each and every one of our stories are completely unique. I know how hard it can be though. Comparison is ugly and lurks around the corner and it can be easy to take the bait. We need to do our best to turn around when we start heading down the road of comparison. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been suffering through infertility. It does not matter if you are infertile because of PCOS or Endometriosis or if you’ve gone IVF, or you’re pursuing adoption. Your story is yours and mine is mine and the truth is, we need each other’s support to get through infertility. If anything has helped through this painful journey, it’s been the support from the wonderful, beautiful, strong, courageous and brave women that I have met, who are my source of support. It’s knowing that I am not alone and neither are you.
Your story matters. Your baby matters. Your grief matters.
Have you reached out? Do you have support? One in six Canadians are affected by infertility. Contact Fertility Matters Canada if you need support. You don’t have to carry the weight of infertility and loss alone.
By Katie, warmwoollymittens.wordpress.com