I try to be a positive person. I think it’s a good quality to look at the bright side of situations. I learned to do this at a young age but I recently started to see the danger in this.
In high school and college, I volunteered at a local homeless shelter and went on mission trips. I didn’t intentionally begin the comparison game. I thought it was a way of being grateful for what I had been given. When I saw other kids with something I didn’t have I found comfort in thinking, “at least I have ‘X’, a lot of kids don’t have that.”
I continued to use this as a way of seeing any difficult situation I went through, taking comfort in it being better than it could be. It wasn’t until recently that I began to see the harm in comparing. I thought as long as I was trying to see the bright side of a situation it was fine.
Last year we decided we were ready to try for our second child. We were lucky enough to get pregnant and couldn’t have been more excited. Unfortunately, I miscarried our baby at nine weeks.
It was a horrible few days leading up to the day I actually had the miscarriage. My best friend’s father passed away from cancer that Friday. His memorial service was held three days later on what would have been his 57th birthday.
I realized what was happening to me by 10 a.m. the day of his service and called my doctor to see if they could do an ultra sound. I stopped at the doctor’s office on my way to the service. They couldn’t find a heartbeat. My mind began to spin with all of the things that could have been. I started to focus on the things I thought would bring me comfort. I was ONLY nine weeks pregnant. We hadn’t told our friends and family yet. Of course the biggest one was, that I would stand next to my best friend while she mourned the death of her father. That was a REAL loss.
I loved her dad. He was funny and kind and always made me feel welcome at their home. She and I have been friends since we were in 7th grade. I imagined how horrible it would be to lose my own father. I spent the day with my friend and cried for her loss.
As the weeks passed I tried to focus on how much worse my situation could have been. I thought this would help me get over it quickly. I was wrong. Instead, what I did was minimize my own feelings and convince myself that I was being silly to be so upset. I tried not to talk about my loss, even with my husband.
We were able to get pregnant again and had a healthy, sweet baby girl. I feel so lucky to have her. I was surprised to find though that it didn’t erase the sadness of losing the other baby. I felt that I had robbed myself of the chance to mourn that loss. By focusing on how much worse it could have been I didn’t allow myself to actually feel sad. Instead I began to feel an odd guilt for the sadness I couldn’t push away.
I talked through my loss with a friend a few weeks ago and finally was able to express why it was so hard. I have prayed to be a mom and known I wanted children my whole life. When I saw the positive pregnancy test last year, in that instant I knew it was the baby I had prayed for and waited for. I could see the life I dreamed that baby would have. When I miscarried it wasn’t just a few weeks of thinking I was pregnant, it was the years of waiting, the planning for our family, the image of the family we would have that I lost.
This is one of many events in my life that I talked myself out of feeling the emotions I was actually experiencing. I don’t want to be a wreck over every sadness but I believe that I can find more of a balance. Finding the best in a bad situation can be good, but allowing myself to experience the sorrows of life are important too.