Paging Nancy Kerrigan

mg-911Back 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.

Why me?

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.

Why me?

We move on to IVF, I get pregnant, miscarry again. Due to the same chromosomal abnormality.

Why me?

We do another IVF, different clinic, slightly different protocol. Beautiful, textbook in every way except the pregnancy kind.

Why me?

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.

18 thoughts on “Paging Nancy Kerrigan

  1. I am so sorry that you are going through all of this.You don’t deserve it. Before my surrogacy journey, I was on a cancer journey. Someone told my hubbie that I may have stepped forward in place of another person bearing the pain. I found this interesting. (I can assure you that if I did step forward on a spiritual plain, I am done now and would like to stay healthy and have a bab(ies), please.)
    Sometimes I wonder whether there is any rhyme or reason. I do know that I have gained so much understanding about other people’s pain and heartache, something I was rather oblivious to before, and something that I continue to work on.
    I am so sorry that you have been going through this. Stay strong and hopeful, and it will happen.

  2. For the same reason I too was channeling Nancy Kerrigan when I found out my donor was a dud… I ask myself this all the time. Especially when I see those undeserving getting everything they want… and more.

    You are right, it’s luck. Dumb luck. If it was anything more than that I doubt I could get up in the morning and function as a human.

  3. Beautifully written! I totally understand the “why me” questioning. It’s hard to reconcile feeling like we’ve done everything right with understanding why we can’t accomplish this.

  4. You’re right, dear: It is just luck. And our only choice is how to deal with the luck. Asking why is one of the ways our poor brains try to reason their ways through randomness.

    And just so you know, on the “deserving” front: I think you’re great and don’t deserve this deep sorrow. I hope it’s soon transformed into profound joy. With any luck at all…

  5. Oh wow. This post just nails it – my throat’s all closed up and now I’m snotty and I don’t have any kleenex. Going back to read it again…. 🙂

    I wish I had some magic words to make things seem shiny and happy and new for you, but I don’t. I’m down there in the pit with you. Some days I can climb out on my own, some days I need to wallow a bit before I remember how to get out. On some very rare days, I forget there even is a pit. But that just makes falling in yet again that much more of a shock.

    Knowing none of it’s your fault doesn’t make it suck any less.

  6. I can remember sitting on the bed in the ultrasound room that fateful morning I learned my daughter’s heart had stoppedbeating — the tech having left me there while she went to inform the radiologist (!) — & sobbing into the towel she had so helpfully handed me before disappearing, “Why is this happening to me?”

    Excellent post, Mrs. X. Very well put.

  7. I remember thinking, when I had my miscarriage, why me? And answering myself at once, whyever not me? Everything else in my life has at one point or another gone tits up, so why should this be any different.

    Eh. Not a happy thought, that.

    But I don’t know how to have happy, or peaceful, or even accepting thoughts about this issue. I wish I could accept that it was just bad luck. I don’t sleep well at the best of times.

    Thinking of you.

  8. I think you hit the nail on the head. Even scripture says, “The rain falls on the just & the unjust.” I know how blessed I am & that I in no way deserve what I have.

    Good post.

  9. For five years I’ve asked that question. And the answer I got was life is unfair. There is no such thing as true security. The day I stopped asking that question was indeed a happy day.

  10. Great post. Having no answers adds to the pain. We have male and femal factor as well. It just sucks. I wish I had some words of encouragement but I have asked the why question as well. The only insight I have is that I appreciate things more now. I understand what it is like to go through something painful. Not that I wanted that but it was bound to happen at some point. After 5 years I still find myself “remembering” that I am infertile. I guess my brain likes to shut down sometimes and pretend I don’t have this problem to deal with everyday.

  11. Wonderful post. I too have reached the conclusion, in the darker moments, that this is all happening because I just don’t deserve what other people have. I think that’s naturally where we go when we are trying to make sense of it. But truth is, it’s all luck and doens’t have to make sense to be reality.

  12. This post was beautifully written.

    My own answer to this came finally when I realized that I had actually been very lucky in many things in life. I live in a peaceful country, have good friends, enough food, and the necessities of life, met a wonderful life partner, have satisfying work, enjoy good health… many things other people do not have. I stopped asking “Why me?” about infertility and started wondering “Why me?” about all the great things in my life. Not in a negative way, just realizing that many people have heavy burdens, infertility is the main one I deal with, other people have others. Very few people make it through life without some bad stuff happening to them. Life is like that.

    It helped me, your mileage may vary.

  13. I think this each and every time I see a teenager in the mall texting while her baby is crying. Or smoking while pregnant. Each and every time. I question every day why my husband’s ex, who has no money, a dead-end job, lives like a pig, and neglects my stepson to the point of doping him so she doesn’t have to deal with him (I’m talking to the point where all he wants to do is sleep, cause the meds are so strong) gets to have children, and I don’t. Every day. I’m so sorry, hon. *hugs*

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