More from Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, by Caitlin Doughty:
“Accepting death doesn’t mean that you won’t be devastated when someone you love dies. It means you will be able to focus on your grief, unburdened by bigger existential questions like “Why do people die?” and “Why is this happening to me?” Death isn’t happening to you. Death is happening to us all.”
I do not believe that “everything happens for a reason.” I do not really believe that anything happens for a “reason”. Life just happens. There is no reason that this happened to me or to my family.
My burden comes from seeing others. I am burdened by constant visualization a of people with their babies, or pregnant women. Happy, carefree people.
I have had horrible thoughts toward these people. I am so bitter that they have what I wanted, and still want. I watched through tears as several women gave birth around my due date with Nelle. Even pregnant with Iris at the time – it still stung. Now I will have to watch other pregnant mothers as I approach my due date with Iris. I can’t even look at photos on Facebook – I quickly hide the triggers from my news feed. But I know the information is still there, even when I cannot see it.
I know that I am not obligated to be happy for everyone in my life. But my bitterness is a heavy burden. I was caught very off balance by a woman recently, basking in her pregnancy and the ease with which she seemed to be pregnant. She had four beautiful children of her own, and was pregnant again with a fifth – as a surrogate for someone else. The news hit me hard and once again I had to be reminded of what I did not have and my pain. I could not be happy for her. Then she lost the baby. And the guilt consumed me. Never, in a million years would I wish my experience on anyone else. I wished I could take back all of my negative thoughts. I reached out and told her how sorry I was for her loss. And though every grief story is unique, that I understood her pain. And I cried for her. If she happens to ever read this, I want her to know how desperately sorry I am.
As I wrote this, the man next to me on the plane received a text. An ultrasound photo. Followed by another text with the words “our sweet baby girl.”
There is burden surrounding so many aspects in co-existing with pregnancies and babies. The burden is in accepting that life is sometimes grossly unfair.