Why me?

I’ve read many posts in which ALI bloggers ask the question Why me? But usually they are wondering why they are being forced to endure the struggles of IF and loss.

I have been asking the question Why me? a lot lately, but I’m asking it for the opposite reason.

What I want to know is why do I get to have a second child when so many others are struggling to have their first or were never able to have a second… or have no living children to parent at all? Why do I get to have so much when so many others are left wanting, when they have struggled for so much longer than I have and endured so much more suffering? Why were we able to get pregnant despite two diagnoses when others can’t get pregnant when no causes are found? Why did we only suffer one miscarriage when others have lost so many more babies?

I know I will never know the answers to these questions. I try not to let the guilt overwhelm me, but sometimes I just feel horrible that I’ve been given so much when others are wanting. I feel like I cut in line, not once but twice. I recognize how horribly unfair it is and I feel guilty for being the one who is on the more advantageous side of the lopsided equation.

The truth is, my life is pretty close to perfect right now. We have achieved everything we worked for in the last five years. We had our daughter. We bought a house in the city we love. Mi.Vida got a new job that will better support our family and give him valuable opportunities in a field that interests him. We are expecting our second child. We can finally get married in the state where we live.

Why do we get to have all of these things while other people are left wanting one or more (sometimes all of them). Who are we to have so much?

On the one hand I feel like I should apologize for all I have, that I must constantly acknowledge the MUCHNESS of it. On the other hand I feel this great responsibility to appreciate it all, to take nothing for granted. Knowing how much others would give to have what I’ve been given is a great weight, resting heavily on my shoulders.

With great happiness comes great responsibility.

My therapist urges me to combat my anxiety with gratitude work, but she doesn’t tell me what to do when all that gratitude becomes guilt. How do I appreciate everything I have without feeling guilty for having it when others do not? I don’t know how to do that yet. It is a puzzle and I’m barely able to piece together the edges, let alone see what the picture is.

I know this community is a complicated place. I want to make clear that absolutely NO ONE has made me feel this way. I have only received love and support for my successes, even from those who have been left wanting while I have forged ahead with my shiny new perfect life. Everyone’s gracious support has been so appreciated. I know this is my own shit that I have to deal with, and I’m sure I’ll figure out how. Eventually.

Have you ever felt guilt for what you have? How do you manage it?

5 responses

  1. The way I have found peace, and hopefully the way you will find peace, is to recognise that there is no “why.” A friend (who also had ectopics and no children) quoted Gertrude Stein at me, and I’ve held to that. (Forgive me if I’ve quoted her at you before.)

    “There is no answer. There is never going to be any answer. That is the answer.” (slightly paraphrased)

    The world is random, and there’s no explaining it, or looking for answers. That helps me understand why I couldn’t have children. It’s not a judgement on me, and it takes the blame out of it. It takes away any obligation on me to feel anything other than accepting that “it is what it is.”

    And hopefully, it will help you to lose your guilt over having what other’s don’t have. You’re on the lucky side this time. So don’t feel guilty. Survivor’s guilt doesn’t achieve anything, except that it can hold you back from fully living in the moment, and enjoying what you have. Don’t though feel guilty about feeling guilty, please!

    I see a lot of that around this community. I understand it – especially from women who have supported others, and who are empathetic. But It isn’t necessary.

    From my no kids point of view, I appreciate the fact that you aren’t gloating, that you have never said “you can always get what you want as long as you try hard” and other such comments that are ultimately self-congratulatory and condescending. I like the fact that you are grateful for what you have – it would be a crime not to appreciate it, but you’re not going to be someone who doesn’t realise the good in their life. And that’s the purpose of gratitude work, I think. To ensure we recognise what is good. But equally, don’t think you should have to feel appreciative every minute of every day, or take that appreciation to an extreme and feel guilty. Easier said than done I know.

    And yes – at times I feel guilty for everything I have. (After all, I’m writing this from Rome, where I’m spending the rest of the month. No jobs, so we pack up and head to Italy for three months? Crazy! But lucky too!) Mostly, I just see it as being the world being random. Enjoy what you have when you have it. And know that the difficult times generally get better. That’s all we can do with life.

  2. I’m going to echo Mali here, I fear. But I’m going to comment anyway. 🙂

    I’ve just discovered that the feeling of guilt is a way of punishing yourself; underneath that feeling badly that someone doesn’t have what you do is an idea that you, yourself are not deserving of your life and blessings.

    And that’s the thing about life: it’s not about deserving what you have – or not. We are attached to the idea that if we work hard, we get what we want, because then we’re deserving. But life just doesn’t work that way, you know? Good people still have bad things happen to them, and bad people have good things happen to them. Life doesn’t discriminate. Humans do, though. We attach labels to people – “deserving” or “not deserving” – even ourselves. It’s hard not to – because we want the best for the people we love.

    Whenever I feel guilt for having something someone else doesn’t, I try and breathe it out. I send my thankfulness TO them; I give them a hug in my heart and wish them peace and happiness. I don’t know why, but it seems to help – gets the empathy emotion outside of me, before my mind twists that empathy into guilt.

    Stay in the moment, and don’t punish yourself for your happiness. xoxo

  3. I echo all that was said above. I’m really trying to stop trying to figure out why bad and good things happen to people. Being a person of faith, I personally do believe God has a purpose for each and every one of our blessings and trials- and this is what keeps me from spiraling most days. However, it is frustrating not to be able to see that purpose (from what I believe is this side of eternity).

  4. I’ve always thought that I might have survivors guilt… except I never got that far. Ha! I completely understand the feeling, and it means a lot to me that you remember the ones that are in the trenches, or exited the trenches in a non-traditional way. xoxo

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