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.