Prenatal Hazing

There’s a new show on HGTV called Deserving Design where some family that is disadvantaged in some way gets a room makeover from Vern Yip (formerly of Trading Spaces). I suppose it’s HGTV’s answer to Extreme Makeover – Home Edition, that sobfest of the highest order of schlock hosted by formerly cute-but-quirky-carpenter on Trading Spaces Ty Pennington. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed in Vern for buying into the schlock-fest, but he still does beautiful work.

I have a new show, too, called Deserving Pregnancy. How deserving you are of getting pregnant depends entirely how long and how difficult it was for you to get pregnant. Whenever I hear that someone is newly pregnant, whether I know them or not, I automatically try to find out how long they’ve been trying and how many roadblocks they’ve had along the way. An accident? Completely and totally undeserving. A few months with no drama? You still don’t deserve it. You have no idea how awful it can be. A year, no ART but with a miscarriage? You’ve been through a nasty setback and managed to get back on the horse. Good for you, but I’m still not entirely in your corner. Five years, ART and no prior pregnancy? You deserve every single moment of joy! I’m so happy for you! I hope you have the most beautiful baby (or babies) on the planet.

Call it prenatal hazing but the farther down this road I’ve gone, the harder I have feeling joy with or for people who get pregnant with no problems or even while using birth control (getting pregnant on the Pill is one of my absolute favorites). The worse the road you’ve been down, the more likely I am to genuinely feel joy with you when you finally do reach that milestone. When you read about the mechanics of how pregnancy happens and works, it is truly astounding that so many people get pregnant with little to no difficulty. And yet when something or many somethings go wrong, it is heartbreaking how difficult it can be.

I’ve tried on many different theories about why we in particular have so much difficulty and others have so little. None so far have helped me feel ok about it. Other areas of life where you perceive that you’ve been shafted, you usually can find some reason and off-sets the shafting. You’re smart but not that attractive? Looks are skin deep and you can always survive on your brains. Smart and attractive? Either you are also super sweet or just a plain bitch (either one is an acceptable counterbalance to being both smart and attractive). So what is a counterbalance to not being able to get pregnant? You have a great shoe collection?

I recently read a post by a woman who suffered a devastating loss of her baby and yet was positive enough to see that even though this particular part of her life was sucking big time, she could still take comfort and joy in the parts of her life that were working: her job, her marriage, etc. Maybe it’s not so much that there has to be a mathematical formula (you are allowed 67% maximum happiness and good karma at any given point) as it is about our focus. There are women who are pregnant who have no job and no husbands or significant others to help them. I think I can honestly say that I would much rather be not pregnant with a good job and a husband than the other way around. And, when all else fails, I just go to Cute Overload, and it’s all better. Meow.

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