Monday, February 26, 2007

Measuring pain

Today has been an odd cyberspace day. Someone I really liked bowed out of a BabyCenter board that I was dipping my toe back into. I took a chance and emailed, and I'm glad I did. She and I have such similar timelines with a first pregnancy and then miscarriage. I just felt like I knew what she was thinking before she spoke. Do you know?

So I send her the link to Amy's blog. Because you know it helps to read. It helps to know you are not alone.

When I pulled up Amy's blog, I found this entry. Then I followed it to this entry that refers to this entry. Which then totally screwed up my Bloglines love for the day. Anyway, it turns out that two of my favorite bloggers have been having a little dialogue about something that I have been thinking about without even realizing it.

To totally trivialize it: Is my pain greater than your pain, and if so, does that mean I win?

Where the miscarriage is concerned, I have been on both sides of this self-destructive game. I didn't miscarry until 12 weeks, so I have had the passing thought that I was more attached to my baby than women who miscarried at5 weeks. Then again, one of my dearest friends' first child was stillborn on the day he was due, so she should be more sad than me. These thoughts are completely disruptive and I found myself realizing that we are all women who are facing enormous amounts of grief. Enormous. All of us.

What is this, measuring grief against each other?

I hurt. I hurt like hell. Every damn day I wake up and wonder how I'm going to go through the details without breaking down. I wonder if I'm going to make it through a shower. Am I going to put on real clothes? What about makeup? It hurts to even go through the motions.

And am I going to measure that against someone else's grief?

Not anymore.

I did though. I did measure my grief. But not only where my miscarriage was concerned. Everytime I heard about another lost child, I cried. It didn't matter to me how far along the woman was, or if they had kids already, I bawled. Because I knew how I felt, and I didn't want anyone else to ever feel that kind of pain.

Plus, and I hope it is okay to say this finally, my Sil, my sweet wonderful Sil, lost her baby right before mine. We were to be due right about the same time. The only difference is that she has four children already. Does that mean that I miss this little niece or nephew any less? Not on your life. I cry for the little one that I will never meet. I cry for the pregnancies that we won't share together. I cry for the cousins that won't grow up at the same time. No kids. Four kids. We hurt the same. Sil and I.

I am more guilty about measuring pain where my parents are concerned.

I have a friend who is in her early 50's. Her parents are old and sick. Her father is in his late 80's or early 90's and has Alzheimer's. She will frequently lament over his health and how awful the disease is. She is dramatic. I complain about her.

My friend. I complain. Because I am in my mid 30's and my father has Alzheimer's. Doesn't she realize how unfair that is? Doesn't she realize that she has had so much more time with her father than I have? Doesn't she realize that she doesn't have the right to tell me how sad she is?


That is just wrong.

And I have thought it over and over.

She has every right to miss her daddy just as much as I miss mine. I am a selfish bitch for ever thinking otherwise.

The thing is this: PAIN IS PAIN. We all feel pain. Every reason that we feel it is unique. We feel what we feel due to our own life's circumstances. Start comparing them to other people and you just end up kicking yourself.

Bless Amy's heart. She typed out what I have thought in my head. And bless KD's heart, she also typed what I have thought in my head. I love them both. I have cried for them both.

We all hurt.

Isn't that why most of you are reading?

It is certainly why I'm still writing. The pain doesn't go away. It just works itself into my life as I find ways to adjust to it.

It's funny. I sometimes wonder when the pain will drive you all away. Today, I realize that it is the pain that draws most of us together.

We all hurt.

It feels better to hurt together though. For whatever reasons that we hurt. Whatever reasons.