Today a colleague told me “everyone has a purpose.” Not the “everything happens for a reason,” which I’ve gotten so many times before. Both comments are made with such good intentions, but hers really hit home. We are all put on this earth with some purpose. She has shared life changing moments with people. Moments that might not have come to pass if she weren’t there. I’ve had those moments. As a midwife, I have those moments almost daily. I am the first hands that greet a child on her way into the world. I have made women feel welcome and listened to. I have let women cry about the baby they know if going to die. I have cried with women about the baby that died for no good reason. I have helped women feel comfortable with their bodies and in control. And this is just my work life. I do volunteer work on the side. I am a good friend. I have had many purposes and have many more. This baby has a purpose too.
There are some things I just can’t think of a reason for. Why do children die? Why do some people who work so hard still struggle? Why do some women who would make such great moms, face infertility? Why do I, who consciously planned this pregnancy- took my folic acid, timed my ovulation, wished and hoped for a baby- have a difficult diagnosis. While others who don’t even want to be pregnant have a baby without any issues?
I’m learning not to compare- everyone has their own struggles and I’m not sure I’d trade mine for theirs. But my own struggle is not happening “for a reason.” It makes me feel like somehow I deserved this. Tell me, what is the reason if my baby ends up with open heart surgery? What is the reason if I lose my baby- tomorrow or in sixth months? There is no good reason to make children suffer. Or parents suffer for that matter.
Whenever I heard, “everything happens for a reason,” I would cringe on the inside. I tried to respect the good intentions behind the statement, and so respond in some benign way. Now I think I’ll respond- “I’m not sure if everything happens for a reason- some reasons are unknowable. But I like to think everyone has a purpose.”