Not alone in the terrible

To the 32 year old woman with no kids: “It’s cancer.”

To the 21 year old woman raped in a foreign country: “I’ve found an HIV prophylaxis drug that you might tolerate better.

To the first time mom whose baby died of prematurity complications at ten days of life: “I’m just so so sorry.”

In my days at work this past week, I have said many banal statement- reassuring pregnant women that their single pain is a normal growing pain that comes with pregnancy, telling a pregnant patient’s husband that yes, it’s okay for her- no, good for her- to walk the long distance at the work parking lot, informing patients that their genetic test showed they don’t have a risk for Down Syndrome and yay (sarcasm- sorry some bitterness there) it’s a girl. I talk to women about how they want to plan a pregnancy. I really want to get pregnant next September- well, good luck with that. I listen politely to how people complain or brag about their second pregnancy.

When I was struggling with all my little annoyances and grievances I had with patients throughout the week, I would remind myself of those other patients. The ones who had terrible things happening to them too- cancer, rape, babyloss- and how I was able to help them each in their own way. They don’t make me less annoyed at some of the interactions I had, but they do make me feel less alone. And they do help remind me that, yes, sometimes I can still be a good midwife. Sometimes…

Have you had any reminders that as bad as life is for you, others have it just as bad (if not worse)? How does it make you feel? Grateful? Bitter? Comforted?


8 thoughts on “Not alone in the terrible

  1. You’ve always been a fantastic midwife. Never ever ever forget that, even when you’re having these moments. I can relate (a little) when I hear pregnant friends of mine complain about their pregnancy after I’ve just had a miscarriage. And all I can think is, “I WISH I was peeing every 2 seconds, couldn’t sleep, had morning sickness, etc because all of that would mean I was actually pregnant, but instead I just lost my second baby.” I’ve had to bite my tongue quite a few times. Or just completely walk away. When I hear of someone having it worse than me, I guess I sadly do feel a little comforted that I’m not alone…but it also just upsets me that life is sometimes so unfair 😦

    • I think i picked the wrong word. Maybe we dont feel comforted. Maybe we feel gracious? Would that be better? Recognizing orhers have tragic, more tragic situations makes us grateful for what we have? Still does t sound right, but i sense you know what i mean! Yea, it upsets me too that life is so unfair!

  2. I’ve had a surprising number of people come up and share their own stories of loss, and that did make me feel less alone, and also showed that it seems to be possible to be happy again, someday. But, yeah, I do get bitter when encountering some of the all too easy ones – conception as dreamed of, blissful pregnancy, everyone alive…
    Also, I’m sure you are a wonderful midwife. And I think those in the tough spots need that much more than the plain old round ligament pain candidates.

    • Oh, well put! Hearing others survival stories can be inspring! And it is hard not to be bitter sometimes. I figure, its natural and recognize it, i own it, and thats a start. Someday maybe ill be less bitter

    • Yes! I feel i can relate on some way too. I also recognize things toi- like i dont know what its lije to have cancer and i dobt always know whT to say. It helps gove me perspective on what the non babloss feel when dealing with me. Perspective, but not always forgiveness. Working on that!

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