Back when the worst scandal about the Clinton Administration was “White Water: How Bad Is It?” (which frankly, sounds like the intro to a really bad joke: “It was so bad that only a scandal involving an intern, a dress and a mysterious stain could be worse! Oh, wait, that happened two years later. Never mind. Those were the days.”), Nancy Kerrigan got the worst shock of her life.
A sledgehammer-wielding goon whacked her in the knees right before the figure skating championship competition and footage was blasted around the world of her on the floor sobbing, “why me?” Well, Nancy, it was because Tonya Harding, your competitor, had a real inferiority complex and wanted the competition out of the way. Of course, at the time Nancy didn’t know any of that. All she knew was that something inexplicably terrible happened to her for no apparent reason. That shit is scary when you have no explanation. It makes you begin to wonder about your place in the world and how insecure it is. It makes you begin to question your worth.
We all ask ‘why me’ at some point in our lives. Some people ask because they were inexplicably saved when others weren’t. Some ask when they are chosen from all others for something very special. I really began to ask ‘Why Me’ when we were diagnosed as infertile. See, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to get pregnant like everyone else does and be ignorant and clueless and generally mildly obnoxious about my fertility and spend my 30s worrying about whether Baby Einstein is really the way to go and whether I would continue to work or take a few years off and what will that do to my career? I was not supposed to have infertility just like I’m not supposed to have cancer or die in a terrible car accident or lose my sight at 40. That happens to other people, most of whom I don’t know.
I followed all of the rules. I didn’t skip school. I got good grades. I worked hard. I did everything that was required. I even got married first to someone I love. I was supposed to get what I wanted – within reason – on the timetable in which I wanted it. Isn’t that the American Dream? Wasn’t I raised on the principle that you work hard enough for something, you get it? I didn’t wait too long to start trying – I was 29 and three months. I didn’t put my career first and think about babies later. I ate well, didn’t drink too much caffeine, took prenatal vitamins, charted. And, it didn’t work.
We found out that it was male and female factor – he of the sperm kind and I of the clogged fallopian tube kind. I got mine fixed, we did IUIs to get around his, I get pregnant and then miscarry.
We move on to IVF, I get pregnant, miscarry again. Due to the same chromosomal abnormality.
We do another IVF, different clinic, slightly different protocol. Beautiful, textbook in every way except the pregnancy kind.
I have no answer because there is no answer. But, that doesn’t stop me from trying to come up with one. Am I less worthy than an 18-year-old crack addict? Am I not deserving? Because, frankly, in those dark hours after the light goes off and I can hear Mr. X beginning to snore in his sleep, I wonder about this. I question how it is that I did all of it, in the right order, for the right reasons, and I still didn’t get what supposed to be the right outcome. And, in that darkness, I come to only one conclusion which is that I am not good enough.
Now, before you tell me how deserving I am of becoming a parent, consider that none of us are likely good enough. None of us deserve what we have. We are just lucky. That’s it. And, some have luck in areas that others don’t. That doesn’t mean that they are better or worse people or that we are better or worse people. It doesn’t mean that they have courted favor with deities or made a deal with the devil while we haven’t.
I will remind myself that tonight when the lights go out.