Do you all feel different levels of sorrow when you see different kinds of sad news on someone's blog? Do you, for example, feel less sad at my 11dpo post than you do when you see someone who has been through an IUI get a negative beta? And less sorrow for them than for someone who has been through a full IVF cycle and got their negative beta?
And extending into more controversial territory, do you feel less sorrow for someone whose pregnancy ends at 5 weeks than you do for someone whose pregnancy ends at 15 weeks? At 25 weeks? At 35 weeks with a stillborn baby or a baby who dies?
I'm not trying to be morbid with that last one, it's just that I've been sitting on the sofa reading this morning and wondering about how I feel. My answer to the first of the above two paragraphs is "yes". Sort of. I do feel more sadness for Julianna's last IVF cycle than I do for my own bad news this month. I feel terrible for Danae's horrific week, more so than I did to hear about Reprogirl's failed IUI. That doesn't mean that I sat there when I read Reprogirl's entry and thought, "get over it, sister." I felt bad for her. I wished it had worked. But somehow it doesn't seem so awful as when someone has been going through this for so long and it still doesn't work, like Julianna, or when someone gets that fantastic news and then something goes wrong.
The two first paragraphs above aren't really asking the same question, though, are they? The first asks about whether we feel more sympathy when someone has gone through more pain to get there. MsPrufrock was writing about this yesterday. The second paragraph is asking about if it is worse when pain comes after you've already started to feel joy, after you've already started to live a different life. I can only imagine that although many in this community write blogs saying: I won't believe it til the 12th week, I won't be excited until I know the baby is viable, there must be some part of you, surely, which is happy. Which in unguarded moments starts to think about and take joy in the potential baby. I read last week on someone's blog, I can't remember who's, sorry, that they had decided to let happiness reign early in their pregnancy even though something might go wrong. It's going to be awful if it does go wrong, they wrote, so we might as well be happy in the interim. That sounds a lot like the advice you guys gave me a few entries ago about hoping during the 2ww. Enjoy the hope, even if you have to mourn afterwards.
Given that, I do feel terribly sorry for someone who is losing their baby in the 5th week of pregnancy. You are already losing that potential child you had started to dream about, even if you hadn't really let yourself start dreaming. The news that someone has a stillborn baby does seem worse - you had no reason to think anything had gone wrong. But it is the same grief, surely. The grief of a lost child. Is grief worse when your child dies at the age of six than if he'd died at two? So why is it so much worse if he dies at two than if he dies before he left your body. Your image of him was still there, you had already started to think about him as your son...Indeed, I just found an article which shows that parents who have a premature baby also experience grief - grief for the loss of the full term pregnancy they expected, of the healthy baby that they didn't have to worry about...Grief seems to be the loss of an imagined future, more than it is about the loss itself.
I'm torn. Perhaps the point is that there is no hierarchy of grief. That what you feel when responding to someone else's loss depends on your own sense of loss, on eliciting that empathy in you that relates to the losses you have suffered, whether or not they were related to infertility. That no one can judge any one else's level of grief. That we should grieve and sympathise with each other because that is what makes this community worthwhile. I think that's what we do. That's what I will try to do.