Be honest. You’ve played this game, haven’t you? Someone tells you something awful, and you immediately weigh it against your own loss. It’s ok, you can say it. Tell you what, if it will make you feel better, I’ll go first.
My friend has suffered a series of miscarriages over the past couple of years and is now talking very openly about her infertility. She and I are kindred spirits…except that she already has a daughter. I have been supportive of her courage to speak out about secondary infertility, but that little voice in the back of my head keeps popping up. You know the one, don’t you? It’s the one that says, “Well, at least she got to have one baby. At least she got to experience pregnancy. I didn’t get any of that.” Have you ever caught yourself having those thoughts? And yet, is my friend’s loss any greater or less than mine? And does it really matter?
My thoughts on this crystallized recently when I started thinking about other losses. When someone loses a parent, do we dismiss that loss when they still have a surviving parent? If we lose a good friend, do we feel that loss less because we have other friends? No, we do not. And if we do, shame on us. How can you put a value on someone else’s grief?
And yet we do it all the time. All of us here have dealt with loss. Some of us have experienced childbirth, some of us pregnancy, and some of us have never experienced either. I don’t think that we can weigh one type of loss against another and say that one is worse or another is easier, because “at least she got experience [fill in the blank].”
Loss is loss, and it’s always painful. We’re all in this together, whatever our circumstances.
And now I think I’ll call my friend.