A better person for it all?

I was talking to a friend yesterday, and she said, "So, how are the infertility treatments going?" Yeah, this friend doesn't always pay attention to what I say, or what is, in reality, happening in my life. I am not actually doing any infertility treatments, at all. In fact, technically, I'm not even what you would consider infertile. I'm just getting really good at having miscarriages, and the doctors haven't figured out why. I told her this, and she said, in a glib and almost happy tone, "Well, maybe all of this is just a test." I've heard a lot of things about why I'm having miscarriages, and people have said all sorts of awkward, silly, and insensitive things, but this one was new. A test? A test of what? My nerves of steel, my strength of will, my uterine lining? I told her if this was a test, I'm ready to pass and get my prize. Unfortunately, though, I don't think the Lord works that way. Then she said, "But hasn't all of this made you a better person?" Hmm...a better person. Is that what adversity is supposed to do? It's God's plan to make us better? I told her I wasn't sure if it made me a better person. It's changed me, surely, and she said, "Well, that's better, right?" Well, I'm not sure about that, either. Sometimes the change meant that I was angry at God, and that can't be better. Sometimes the change meant that I felt so depressed that I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning, and surely that's not better. This friend, who has also suffered a miscarriage as well as the death of her own mother, insisted that all of those things that happened to her have made her a better person. I was stunned that she would insist that losing her mother improved her life, and say it with such cheerfulness, but maybe this is her way of dealing with it all. Me, I'm just wondering, if this is a test, what exactly it is that the Lord thinks I lack that I have to learn it with such painful lessons? And isn't there an easier way to learn them? Maybe there's not. Maybe the only way to become who God needs us to become is give us trials, and maybe there is some sort of reward at the end, even if it means waiting until we meet God to get it. For the record, though, if this is some kind of test, I would, in fact, like it to be over so I can get my prize. And I would actually prefer the prize to be given to me here, on this earth, in the form of a sibling for my child. That's just me, though.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear mommywars....
i like your blog .its time someone speak out! Dont worry about miscarriges.. it sometimes happen. They say that miscarriges happens when the baby is not perfect. Put it this way.. God is trying to give you a PERFECT one...

8/31/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Beanie said...

We have just barely scratched the surface on our infertility problems (3 yr. TTC). It doesn’t even surprise me anymore all of the insensitive, nosy and personal questions that we are often asked. We just moved into a new ward…so what if we have been married 4 years and don’t have any kids yet, is it really any of there business? We don’t mind telling/discussing our problems with people, but I really don’t like to divulge our problems to strangers, people I’ve just met, or people who are just trying to make casual conversation, or people who don’t know what I’m going thru (even though they act like it). I don’t mind talking about it with really good friends (who actually listen and really care about me) and family. My husband and I both have very supportive families, I know that if I said that I really don’t want to talk about it, that they wouldn’t get all bent out of shape, and that they would respect my feelings. But I need the support, so I do talk about it. I have one sis-in-law that has been very helpful, from all of the phone calls, to all of the useful web sites that she sends to me, she even mailed me literature that she had as a resource. I am grateful for family. As for it making me a better person…no I really don’t feel like a better person. I don’t like the days that I look in the mirror and see the person that I have become (a person shouldn’t have that much anger inside). I don’t like to feel defective or broken, or that God is punishing me (because I know that He doesn’t work that way). And if this is a test, let’s just say that I’m no “A” student. I’m dealing with it better emotionally now (or lets just say the best I know how), but I still cringe when I know someone is going to ask a question that I really don’t care if they know the answer to or not. Sorry for the long post, I’ve been reading a while now and finally got up the courage to comment.

8/31/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kitten Wife said...

I think my miscarriage made me a better person by providing understanding for others going through the same or similar experiences. Having lived it certainly helps me have compassion for others' losses. I find it odd that your friend's miscarriage didn't contribute to her ability in the sensitivity department.

I don't feel like any other aspect of my miscarriage especially helped me be more celestial, but maybe I'll find out differently when I get there. :) And Heather, I don't have any platitudes for you--just to say I know it's hard and it stinks.

8/31/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger fMhLisa said...

I too wonder about the whold "test" idea of adversity. I was really angry about the whole Idea a while back when watching this program on child sex-slavery on PBS. I'm thinking, "What the hell kind of test is this? To be kidnapped at three, tied to a bed and raped for ten years, then die alone and unloved."

I can't imagine what those children would be learning or how they would be growing from a "test" like that.

I've decided I'm not to fond of the idea that God would design these things as tests . . .

I guess in the end I think these things just happen. Because of evil. Because of nature. Because of because. I am the I am. And all that.

Trying to give them a "reason" rarely satisfies reason.

8/31/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

Here is what I think, and I just found this scripture the other day.
God doesn't give us challenges just to test us.
However, he offers us help for each challenge, and we can choose how we react to each challenge.
As I pray for him to protect my children and family from harm, I realize that he won't necessarily stop the next hurricane, car accident or fatal disease that might happen.
However, these words seem to make sense to me about how I should pray when praying for protection and guidance through life.
"Ye must pray always and not faint, that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ,
**and here is where it says something very important** that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.

As you pray for what to do, pray to do his will, pray to overcome your challenges, pray to deal with the challenges in the best way possible, pray to make the best choices, pray for the courage and the strength and the faith and everything else you need to get through it, and pray that he will consecrate your actions that they will be for the benefit of your soul.
I think he can do that. And this is how you can possibly come through bad experiences with stronger faith, stronger will to follow him, gratitude for his divine help in your life and a better person than you were before.

8/31/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

I've never had a miscarriage, but I've had plenty of adversity in my life. And I've learned one thing--HF can turn adversity into blessings for us if we have faith.

I know a woman who had three children and then couldn't have anymore, and she wanted more, and if I remember correctly, had been promised more in a blessing. She was very upset when she realized she could not have more children. A few years later, though, she was able to adopt the sweetest little boy, and she's happy now with the way things have turned out. She can't imagine not having him.

I always try to remind myself that God knows more than we do. If we're not getting something now that we really want, maybe there's a reason for it. Maybe I'm not able to stay home fulltime with my kids right now because my husband's going to be incapacitated in a few months and unable to work. Maybe if I stayed home right now I'd have health complications.

8/31/2005 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Having just watched "Aladdin" several times, I can just hear your children up in heaven quoting Princess Jasmine - "I am not a prize to be won!"

Of course I don't think you really believe that having children is a "prize" of any kind, but it did remind me of that Disney line. (These days, it's hard to think of anything that doesn't remind me of a Disney line.)

I agree with everything JKS said, and it does say in the scriptures to "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another." (D&C 90:24). I too, recently found this scripture. Or, more accurately, I heard it in a talk and it really struck me.

3 things to do - Search, pray, and finally (and for me, this is the hardest part) BE BELIEVING. It does very little (if any) good to search and pray if you really believe in your heart of hearts that the Lord will not bless you, or that nothing will work.

Sometimes you can't see how things will work together for good, (I'm sure all the people in Louisiana and Mississippi are having a hard time seeing it right now,) but eventually the perspective will fall into place, if you believe that it will, and remember your covenants. Think of it as, you know, a whole "Circle of Life" type of thing.

Oh, and fnhLisa, I saw that PBS thing too, and it really disturbed me too. Those people that did that to those children.....I wouldn't want to be them on judgment day. Of course, I wouldn't want to be those kids now, either. Sigh.....Millenium, anyone?

8/31/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

I sometimes find it very difficult to respond effectively in conversation to someone's pain. Listening to a few good girlfriends go through real challenges recently, I have felt pretty inadequate. All I could really offer is to listen, offer ice cream, and say "I'm so sorry - that really stinks". I think my deep discomfort probably is due to the fact that I have yet to experience any major trials during my adult life. I'm sure I'll get my fair share at some point, but, right now, I don't have any catchy words of wisdom to offer or a similar experience to draw on and to share my lessons from.

Hearing that your friend’s response was not helpful, even after she had been through a similar trial, was very interesting to me. I guess that hardship is not a foul-proof method of developing understanding for another's pain.

8/31/2005 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Heather, I'm sorry you have experienced miscarriages, which I can only imagine are devastating. I'm sure you know that you will always hear things from people about it that just hurt or annoy. In my experience with infertility, you get lots of crappy comments from people and wonder what the heck they were thinking when they said that?! Sometimes, it seems like when you get questions like that, it isn't really out of concern for you, but more out of nosiness or curiosity about what's going on with you.

As for infertility or miscarriages being a "test," even though I finally have my miracle baby, I don't know that I woudl look at the whole experience as a test, because, like you said, what is being tested? I look at it as a long, often painful experience that ended with a blessing. Despite having our daughter, I have a hard time seeing those years of infertility as a blessing. I lost a lot of my self in that process and while I can look back and see that I learned a lot, I would rather not repeat that experience.

In fact, going back to stupid things people say, just because we had a treatment that allowed me to concieve, I wish people would stop assuming we are now CURED. As if there isn't enough internal pressure to provide a sibling or two for our daughter in the future!

I sincerely hope you get your prize soon.

8/31/2005 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Beanie said...

Boy, those spam comments are sure annoying!

8/31/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Heather, This is going to sound really weird, but in the wee hours of this morning, I had a dream about you. We were sitting talking about how you really wanted a baby and how sad you were. I don't remember much more than that. Except when I woke up, I felt sad and wanted to continue the conversation. All of which is strange since I only know you from the bloggernacle, and don't even know what you look like. Anyway, this morning, I said a little prayer for you and for a dear friend who has also been trying for a long time to have a baby.

8/31/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I just deleted 6 spam comments. Whew! Who knew keeping this blog spam-free would be a full time job?

Mimi - how sweet of you. That's just so totally sweet.

Anyway, hope you guys still like our blog, despite the spam.

8/31/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

Oh. Don't even get me started.

I agree completely with JKS.

I have in the last year and a half grown increasingly impatient with people who say things with out thinking. Someday I will understand better, but today I remain frustrated.

I had a Doc ask me the other day, if I was still happy with the choice that we had put Ethan (our charming 20 month old) on life support in the beging of his life.


I struggled for a long time, to have a baby. It is a battle that is very difficult. Misscarriages, and hardships.

My prayers for you.

8/31/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

I do not and never have believed that God "gives" us trials, or that bad things happen to us for a specific divine reason, and I am always shocked and a little offended when people imply otherwise.

Horrible things happen as part of the human condition, acts of nature, or misused agency, or what have you. I believe we knew and accepted this as a condition of our life on earth. But I think Heavenly Father is there to help us work through our problems, not to send more misery our way. With his strength added to our own, yes, we can work through trials and become stronger in the end than if we'd had none, but that is not at all the same thing in my mind.

8/31/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

...and I wish you all the best, by the way. My prayers are with you, too.

8/31/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...


Thanks. Wow, I'm overwhelmed. I don't know what to say.

9/01/2005 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I think the big thing is what the Wiz pointed out: don't give up hope. It's easy in the face of trials (at least for me) to get bitter and angry and ask WHY ME? and then be fatalistic about it all.

My aunt and uncle had a beautiful baby boy two years after they were married. And then weren't able to have children -- they have no idea why -- for eight more years. My uncle baptized his oldest and blessed the baby in the same weekend. They have been able to have one more child since then, but that's it.

Everyone's body is different. I guess the deal with this life is accepting the one you've got.

On a completely unrelated note, Heather, thanks for feeding my DH last night (and letting him use your long distance minutes -- we've got to get a cell phone!). It sounds like he had a good time.

9/01/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

No miscarriages here, but no pregnancies either in 12 years of marriage ... just so you know where I'm coming from.

If you talk to a really good educator they may well tell you that the best kinds of tests are not those where you spew out the knowledge you have onto the paper, but those where you put together all the knowledge you have to solve a problem and learn something new during the testing experience.

Now I know in a way my experience with family-building challenges is not over. But one phase has ended as we have moved on to adopt our kids. And here is what I feel like I learned, looking back.

I learned that I am not in control of my life. I learned to surrender that. I learned to want God's plan for me rather than my own plan for me. Not just to submit because I have to, but to trust him and his love for me, not perfectly, but better than I did before.

I learned that there is a Father who will give his child a stone when she has asked for a fish. He does it because he is preparing a feast for her and he wants her to know he is not ignoring her. Sometimes that child, overwhelmed by the pain of her hunger, doesn't understand this until the feast arrives.

I learned to value motherhood, not fertility or childbearing ability. They are different.

I learned that it is a mistake to place my faith in anything but Jesus Christ and his atonement. I don't have to know the future. Not knowing the future doesn't mean I lack faith. But Christ is the Rock and will never fail. I believe he took my pain as an infertile woman through miraculous means that I cannot understand. I've felt my hurt lifted. By putting all my eggs in that basket I found tremendous relief.

And by the way ... I couldn't see any of these things while I was in the middle of fertility challenges. It was all pain and heartache for those years. Hang in there. You will get to higher ground.

9/01/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Kaimi said...

I suspect that it's actually all just a test of your ability not to slug people who say "maybe it's a test."

9/01/2005 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I've always loved the phrasing of the promise we make to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. To me this suggests that there are times when it's appropriate to try to say or do things that will be comforting, but also times when all you can do is hold a weeping friend and say "this stinks. It makes me mad and sad, too." Heather, Nate, this stinks. It makes me mad and sad, too.

9/02/2005 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

Nurul, I know you mean well, hon, but those miscarriages are a lost child and they are extremely painful. I remember when I lost my last child and I was four months and they told me the baby would have been deformed. I loved that little blob of blood and tissue. I loved it. I was heartbroken. I still think it was my Mary.

Heather, I remember from taking my temperature and telling my husband to come home and the mechanical lunchtime sex. We did get Princess Buttgold out of it, the biggest blessing of my life.

That God gives you these things to make you better, boy does that bring out my alternate bitch personality. Only people who haven't been through it say that. I say God can give my "blessings" to other people. I don't want to be that strong.

I'm with Kaimi, I have to fight not go for their throat. Another thing people say is God loves you more because He gave you all these trials. Bullshit. I sure didn't feel loved when my children died.

I don't have an answer for your inability, at this time to conceive. My heart goes out to you and I think I empathize. Actually, I went with clomid. I would've liked twins. Not eight babies, but two would have been nice.

My baby (aka buttgold) is getting married (are you all sick of the wedding yet)on the 30th and she is really, and justifiably so, worried she will not be able to conceive. They are not planning on children for a year or so, but those long hours we've spent in the ER, when her cysts burst and she is in real pain, she sobs not from pain, but from the fear that she won't be able to give birth.

I am really sorry.

9/02/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

And nurul, please don't go away. We never agree with each other all the time.

9/02/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I'm glad you posted. I'm wondering if you are someone I know, because she has the same story. Infertility issues are quite common, yet some people seem so clueless that it exists and that it is difficult to deal with someone experiencing it. Why else would they say such dumb things or ask such stupid questions?
Its hard to give them the benefit of the doubt that their insensitivity is because they are ingnorant and naive, not because they are truly cruel people.
I hope you are getting all the support you need!
I think it is good to know that you are not the only one who deals with this heartache, even though it is so personal. It isn't rare. And I think it is important to know that your feelings are normal. I hope you can find the strength within you to deal with it.
I know everyone has times in their life when they look at themselves and aren't happy. But I want to say that you aren't a finished product. You haven't "become" something yet! You are still working towards the real you. So don't grade yourself yet.

9/02/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger lchan said...

People make those kinds of comments because it makes them feel better. They mean well and I try to keep their good intentions in mind.

I'm with Allison. I don't think God micromanages our lives. If he did, alcoholics and drug abusers would be infertile. Crappy things happen to good and bad people, good things happen to good and bad people.

When someone is going through something like this, the best thing to do is just be sympathetic. Don't try to make it better.

Thanks for sharing your story, Heather.

9/03/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Andrea Wright said...

Heather, I haven't been online for about a week and so I know I'm late to this discussion. I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your pain and for other's insensitivity to it. When I hear stories like this I cringe as I wonder how many times I've said something stupid that may have caused or worsened pain.

One of my closest friends has a 4 yr. old son and has had many miscarraiges since him and trouble conceiving. They were saving up for their second go at Invitro (SP?) when to their great joy and surprise she got pregnant on their own. When she went in for her routine ultra-sound at 18 weeks they discovered her baby had died.

I have been so heart-broken for her and have had no idea what I could do for her other than to pray like crazy.

It just doesn't make sense to my very mortal self, no sense at all why you and my friend and so many others have to go through this. I'm so very sorry.

9/05/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Heather,

I was excited when my husband introduced me to this site, and I saw that I knew you.

I am sorry that you have had so much grief and sadness. I know that you are a wonderful mother.

It is hard to lose babies. I have three beautiful children, but I have had four miscarriages. Three miscarriages were in the second trimester, and one was considered a stillborn baby. I am myself dealing with my own grief as I just miscarried, for the second time this year. It is so hard to lose the beautiful babies.

One of my reproductive doctors told me that with miscarriages there are compensatory blessings. I have thought a lot about this. I believe he's right. They may not be the blessings that I wanted, but my Father has greatly blessed me.

Arthur Henry King, an old BYU English professor, also taught that death is a blessing. I have seen this as I have mourned and mourned and mourned. I do not enjoy the experience, but it does teach me to love more deeply--particularly the children I have.

Good luck,
Suzette McMurray

9/13/2005 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Maren said...

I just had a miscarriage as well, and I do not feel like a better person. It has made me feel inferior, as if I am not trusted to be a mother. Also, I walked down the streets in my neighborhood (in Brooklyn NY) and see women yelling, screaming at, and hitting their children, and I want to ask "why? why them and not me?" I see them smoking while they are pregnant, drinking, etc. I know I should not judge. And then there are the people who talk to me. "Well, were you taking your vitamins? Were you too stressed out? Did you do anything strenuous?" You know, I did everything I was supposed to, but what if I hadn't? What if I slept in and forgot to take my vitamin? Are you telling me that caused a miscarriage? And I work in New York City! You find one person here who is not stressed, and I will give you a prize? So why do they have babies, but not me? I was so sick of everyone asking me these questions, trying to find some reason why I had made a mistake. So yes, I know, I need to have more faith, look at things as a blessing, etc, but well, it is not easy.

9/14/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Wow, Suzette, I have no idea you had been through so much. I knew that you had one miscarriage, but I didn't know that one had progressed so far, or that you had had so many others. Thanks for sharing with us, and we hope to see you a lot more around here!

9/14/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had a miscarrige, i blamme myself to be honest. i dont smoke and hardly drink. i work in care and meet many children who have been abused and see how unfairly they are treated. i dont understand at times why i lost my child id never hurt or bring any harm to her.

9/19/2005 04:15:00 PM  
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10/08/2005 12:25:00 PM  
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10/09/2005 09:56:00 AM  

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