Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Over the weekend, a dear friend delivered her baby. I've known my friend for over a decade and from the beginning was aware of her desire to be a mother. A doula who went to nursing school with the plan of going on to become a midwife (ironically, that didn't happen and she's now moved into hospice care), she was there for me when the Beats first arrived. Just as she's been there for so many others as they welcomed their children into the world.

Her journey to motherhood wasn't an easy one, though. Like so many, she found herself unable to conceive and I mourned with her the loss of her biological children. I would then go on to support her as she made the decision of pursuing donor egg IVF. Then it was celebrating with her with that first positive pregnancy test, rejoicing with each milestone met. This weekend was the finale of her journey, involved a massive group text, with well wishes and wishes of encouragement. There was a lot of joy surrounding the news of the safe arrival of her daughter.

Then someone mentioned how much she deserved this. And for the first time, I was given pause.

Because even though I do believe my friend deserves every happiness in the world and I'm over the moon for her and her husband, this comment comes on the heels of other arrival news.

On Sunday, my MIL informed Grey that family friends were great-grandparents once again. Of the arrival of a baby girl to their grandson who could barely keep a job and his wife who refused to work as she felt she should be cared for. Of the elder child, who is now a brother to this infant, who is dealing with such severe eczema that his skin is peeling off around this wrists and face and at the age of 4 is still not speaking.

And on this, I thought about "deserving." Because if I'm honest, though I believe my friend deserve every happiness and her daughter deserves her amazing mother and father, this other newborn deserves better than the parents she got. Just as so many in this community that I consider dear to me deserve to also be parenting.

Infertility and loss fuck with you that way. Turning terms like "deserved" and "blessed" on their heads and making you wonder about the games that are played. The polar opposite reactions to the exact same news: in one case I'm celebrating and sending well-wishes while in the other I'm mourning for the newborn.

So I'm left with wondering quietly about "deserved." Because the truth is life is far from fair. And though there are many children who find themselves in loving families, I can't help but think the outcomes for so many would be very different if deserved truly did exist.


  1. Yes, a million times yes to this. I struggle so hard with the word "deserved" when it comes to becoming a parent. It, along with "blessed," definitely make me feel the flip side -- because a) there is no justice in the way babies are cosmically handed out and b) didn't I deserve to be a parent, too? And it starts to get icky with who is worthy of parenthood and who isn't. Although there are an awful lot of children who I have taught over the years who definitely deserved more than they got in the parent department and it BURNS MY BRITCHES to think on how they get to raise and damage children and I never really got the chance to be the (hopefully) good parent I so wanted to be.

    I struggle when people who I know from my fertility days have their child's birthday, and consistently call their child their miracle, their blessing from above, their amazing gift...because while it is of course perfectly fine to feel that way, when you put it out there into a group of people where some did not find the miracle, or receive the blessing, or get the gift...it feels awful. Sometimes they are sort of over the top like those awful signs and decals that say, "First we had each other, then we had you, now we have EVERYTHING" -- things like "my life began with you" or "you gave me a reason to live." Then I feel a little better that I have many reasons to live despite not "deserving" a child quite enough to be blessed with one before we lost the ability to keep torturing ourselves.

    (sorry, long comment...struck a bit of a nerve I guess! I love your thoughts on this. Tough thing to think on.)

  2. Yeah deserved is a crappy word. I used to say “you deserve this ( or better)” to people but then I started to question it. Now I believe life is tragic and the only way to have justice in the face of colossal unfairness is to be the best we can to each other.

  3. Yes. So much of this. “Deserved” is the wrong word... so many of them are. It’s like the word “real” when it comes to adopting- “are they real sisters?” I, too, am struggling with having a dear friend who has gone through a long fertility struggle and is finally having her baby, next to a family member who can barely keep food on her own table easily getting pregnant and expecting to be supported by family and friends alike. It’s hard. It’s all so hard.

  4. You've made me think. In fact, it was Jess whom I thought about first. Some people just don't get what they deserve. There must be so much in the bigger scheme of things that we just don't see or know. Because in the ways you say, things sometimes don't make sense.

  5. This is so well-said. Life absolutely doesn't give people what they "deserve" in so, so many instances. I love that you really bring the problem with using this sort of language out in such a thoughtful way.


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