Today’s Google Reader delivered to me the New York Times magazine article on women who have cancer and are pregnant while getting treatment. It was fascinating, and of course, included the requisite discussion of whether fertility drugs cause cancer (the way I look at it, I’m going to die one way or another, but whether I have children is a much more open question, so why not bet on the one that is not a foregone conclusion?).
They also interviewed a woman who just went through the wringer: two terrible miscarriages, a third pregnancy and a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer all in one year. Not surprisingly, she was incredibly angry – I only had two miscarriages and I was fit to be tied. And, in the middle of all of this, she encountered a situation that I bet is played out all over the country everyday:
Shopping in a children’s store, Silver overheard a pregnant woman tell a sales clerk, “I really want a girl, but I’d be O.K. with a boy,” and she said she felt herself boil over with rage. How could someone take so much for granted and complain about something so trivial?
How indeed. I call this the Luxury of Cluelessness. It allows you to think about your preference of a boy or a girl, never mind that the birth of any child is nothing short of miraculous considering all of the possible outcomes. It allows you to buy baby clothes when you first learn you’re pregnant, never mind that you might (in my case, would) miscarry. For the record, should I ever get pregnant again and carry to term, I am not having a baby shower, decorating the nursery or buying any paraphernalia until after the birth. Until that child is safely in my arms and breathing, I will probably not even look at cribs. Seriously.
I think in general, Americans have this sense of entitlement when it comes to things that are supposed to bring happiness. We think we deserve to have uncomplicated pregnancies that let us complain that we’re having a boy and not a girl. We think we deserve to be clueless that things can (and do) go wrong and things can (and will) go wrong for us.
It is particularly frustrating when you have been on the short end of the entitlement stick and you see others taking for granted that which you so desperately desire. I want to take these ladies by the shoulders and (gently) shake some sense into them. But, for everyone of us who understands the gift, there are hundreds who are still Clueless.
I’m just glad that I am no longer one of the Clueless masses.