Monday, November 9, 2015

Deserving #MicroBloggingMonday

Deserving is a complicated idea, isn’t it?

Criminals deserve punishment, right? Heroes deserve praise; hard workers deserve a promotion.

It isn’t that simple when deserving is attached to something that can’t be earned by meeting a certain criteria. Who deserves a happy marriage? Who deserves a steady, high-paying job they love? Who deserves a child?

More to the point, who doesn’t?

I have had people tell me I deserve a baby and that I deserve an easy pregnancy. They say: you’re a good person and a good mom, your pregnancies have been so very hard in the past. You deserve for this to be easy.

Sometimes I feel like I DON’T deserve those things- That Blue Sunday’s diagnosis was a test that I somehow failed and that IF is a punishment for that failure. Or perhaps the T18 was a punishment for something else- for when I was mean to someone, or because I had a storybook life up until that point (I actually married my junior prom date, people!) 

This idea, being deserving something awful, was mentioned to me in relation to the deaths of babies in more than one place this week. I know parents who feel that they deserved for their child/ children to die. They believe on some level that the death of children they love, want and cared for was a punishment for their past.   

They feel responsible for losing a child they love.

I think everyone can logically say that there is no past sin big enough for a good person to deserve death of their child. (I would argue that no one should have that hell be their reality, regardless of how "good" they are). No child's fate should be determined by parental morality.

I know it is easy, and natural, to say “you deserve X, Y, Z”. When you’re talking about something that can be given- a prize, a raise, a pat on the back – this is easy. But when you’re telling someone that they deserve an intangible- a happy life, good friends or something that cannot be given- a child, a good job- remember this:

Deserving works both ways: if you tell someone they deserve something good but that good thing isn’t something they have, you may be confirming a nagging thought they don’t deserve it at all. 



    And this is exactly how I stopped believing in a G-d that could hear me, and began to truly give myself over to the belief that random chaos was the only order of the universe and it was entirely out of my control. Because it seems to me that what we deserve, or want, or don't deserve has very little to do with the outcomes we see, whether it's our own personal desire to mother babies, or the desire of a refugee crossing the Agean Sea to have a warm shelter for the night. People live awful painful existences and it's not because they deserve it. If you fundamentally believe that your "good deeds" entitle you to something, you will be blindsided by disappointment. I truly believe I do good things in life, that I am a good mother and a supportive member of my community. But those things have to stand on their own and are not connected to what I deserve. Everything else will come down to luck. So turn off those nagging feelings my friend. You ARE good, you ARE worthy of the baby that you want. But there isn't a scorecard up above that has determined you aren't. You have been whacked by the universe and not for anything you did, but because that's how the universe works.

  2. I think "deserving" is a cultural construct. I don't think it exists except in our minds. No one "deserves" a baby who is going to die. Baby Blue Sunday was destined to die from the moment of his conception. Die before birth, die after birth, does it matter? He was never going to be able to live because of an accident of biology. Because the human body makes mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes make the greatest difference between life and death. I look at my child and see a perfect human body who somehow has this perfect little body even with the presence of an extra chromosome. Such a tiny difference between 18 and 21 yet it's an enormous difference in outcome.

    I hope you are able to be a mother to 2 or 3 live children. To as many as your heart wishes for. Not because it's something that you deserve, because it's what you wish for.

  3. "I hope you are able to be a mother to 2 or 3 live children. To as many as your heart wishes for. Not because it's something that you deserve, because it's what you wish for."

    I love what was written above!

    This is such a complex topic, right?! Honestly I think you are so right when you say that "deserving goes both ways." I 100% believe NO ONE deserves something bad to happen to them. A natural consequence is totally different (like burning yourself because you touch a hot stove- you don't 'deserve' it, it's just a natural life consequence).

    I think what has really changed my perspective on this from thinking more globally. The Jews didn't deserve to die in the Holocuast, the current refugees don't deserve to run from their homelands, and moms (like you) absolutely never deserve to lose a child. And kids born into poverty don't deserve to grow up not knowing what it's like to have regular food on the table. No one deserves these awful things.

    I also think the alternate is true. In my opinion (and arguably because of my faith) none of us really 'deserve' good things. I didn't used to think this. I used to think I deserved a baby, a healthy baby, or to be pregnant because I was a good person and I would make a good mom. But, I just don't think life (or God) works like that. I think that because God doesn't control everyone (we all have free will for sure), really, really bad things happen. But, really, really good things also happen. Like healthy babies, and financial freedom, and freedom of speech and religion, etc. But, my vision of God isn't of him giving out rewards for good behavior or consequences for bad behavior. I can't believe in a God like that because that would be an awful God (look at all the suffering in this world. He doesn't want it that way.)

    At the end of the day my faith tells me that even though bad things happen, God walks with those who chose to walk with Him. And that those who have been through the wringer and rely on God to be their comfort and strength let their faith see them through. And with my faith, I also have the ultimate vision of heaven with no suffering or pain anymore. And while we are on earth the goal is less about the aversion of suffering for ourselves, but more about serving others and loving God.

    But, umm.... I think my comment still doesn't answer your questions very well. I think this is a HUGE topic and these are just some of my confused thoughts on the matter. They aren't very organized I am very far from having the answers. But, I do know for positive sure that God really does weep with those who weep and longs to comfort them in their sorrows. When I have reached out to Him in my darkest moments I have found this to be true. He certainly hasn't taken away all my suffering or always given me what I wanted, but He has always been there when I stop being mad at Him.

    Sheesh. Sorry for the novel. I hope what I said makes a modicum of sense!

  4. When I accepted that having a child wasn't a reward for good behaviour, and that not having one (or losing one) was not a punishment (however much it feels like one) or a sign that I wouldn't be a good parent (don't get me started on the "everything happens for a reason" quoters), I lost the guilt, felt a real peace, and started to heal. I've written about this quite a bit. You may relate to this -