A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just Deserts; or, How to Earn a Baby Without Really Trying

I'm 10 dpo, so to keep myself from going crazy (checking for hints of pms zits, spotting in my CM, or other surefire AF signs), I'm going to post on some general, non-2ww related conception stuff.

I've been thinking a lot of desert (as in "just deserts", not the Sahara) and how we conceive of what we do or don't deserve when it comes to making and having babies. On the message board I frequent for women trying to get pregnant after loss, we frequently write "You don't deserve this" or "No one deserves this" to stories about recent or ongoing miscarriages. And I believe that with all my heart. You don't deserve a miscarriage (or infertility) because you're not married yet. You don't deserve it because you already have children. You don't deserve it because you're too thin (or too heavy). You don't deserve it because you're too old or too young. You just don't deserve it.

And so far we're all in agreement, I'm sure.

But then a lot of time, women on the board will complain (understandably) about how unfair it is to read or see on the news or personally know drug addicts getting pregnant easily, or women who sleep with men in prison, or women without jobs with too many children to care for as is, or... you get the idea. And most of the time they ask, "Why them? I pay my taxes, I'm financially sound, I 'm responsible and have a job and got married and bought a house. Why not me?"

But I think the implication of this question is: "They don't deserve it. I do."

I have a lot of problems with this line of thinking. Because if no one deserves a miscarriage--if infertility is a fact of fate and biology, not a measure of success or worth--then no one doesn't deserve a child, the flipside of our struggles*.

Or to put it another way: I don't believe I deserve to have children. I don't believe you deserve to have children. I don't believe anyone deserves to have children.

No one is smart enough, kind enough, patient enough, wise enough, present enough, interesting enough, artistic enough, athletic enough, involved enough, detached enough, calm enough, and sane enough to earn the right to have children. None of us is truly worthy of this privilege.

On one of my darkest days in November, during the awful week between our first and final bad ultrasounds, I told my parents about my pregnancy, over the phone, while crying. (Not how I dreamed of that moment, for sure).

And my dad said, "This is why children are called a gift. We're so lucky when they come to us."

So where does this leave me? I'm forced to admit that women with infertility, women who've suffered miscarriages don't deserve their children more than women who don't or didn't. We don't "earn" our children.

But we also don't deserve them less. Super fertile women are not worthier or better mothers or "born" to do this.

They're luckier. We're unluckier.

Because it's not about desert.

*Obviously some people don't deserve to raise their children. Molesters, abusers, neglectors: you can forfeit your right to be a parent through your actions. But the simple fact of conception and delivery--let's just take the idea of desert out of that.


  1. I agree. We certainly don't "deserve" the bad cards we've been dealt - but at the same time no one "deserves" the gift of children. It's too great of a gift to ever earn!

  2. So very true... I don't deserve Baby Blakely any more than I deserved struggling to get pregnant.

    Whether you "deserve" a baby or not, you're going to be a great mom. And furthermore, you'll appreciate your gift more than many can imagine because it took so long to get there.

    Hang in there!

  3. This is what I love about the IF blog universe. We can go from talking about fluffy stuff like dresses (me yesterday) to these more serious and important subjects. Your post was really thoughtful and thought-provoking. I agree that no one "deserves" a baby. But it does seem cruelly unfair when folks who don't want them, or can't care them, get them. It's not "about us," yet it's hard not to think about it in those terms. I hope we all get our babes very soon. (And I hope your BFP is a few days away, my friend!)

    To completely change the subject, I will be in NYC for weddings the weekends of April 30 and May 21. We're staying in the WVillage. It would be fun to meet up!! :)

  4. E and I talked about this after our losses. I was comparing a couple we know who are in their 40's and who tried for years but never did have kids, with my 3rd cousin who got pregnant in high school and is now on welfare and the dad ran off. The couple who are in their 40's are independently wealthy with a huge house and plenty of time and money. They desperately wanted a child. My cousin, well, not that she doesn't deserve her child, but she just isn't as optimally poised to care for one. I was saying how unfair this was, and E said, basically, "I don't get what you're talking about. This isn't about fair." Oh. Right.

    That said, I think you deserve it!

  5. Just desserts, that is a good way of looking at it.

    When will you POAS?

  6. I jumped over here from A+B. I just love this post and couldn't agree more.

    I'm so sorry about your loss. My last m/c happened after having a heartbeat and it just broke my heart. Sorry again and best of luck with your cycle.