Public v. Private Tragedy

While the US (and, I suspect, large parts of the rest of the world) is still reeling from the tragedy in Boston, I have several friends who are dealing with what I call “private tragedies.” They’re not personal tragedies, in that, a personal tragedy is generally something that a lot of people know about. I’m talking about things that people don’t talk about – or if they do, it’s on forums like this – impersonal, unconnected with their everyday life.

The thing about a national tragedy (and the sadness is piling up this week – Chicago is flooding and the explosion in Texas seems like a nightmare) is that, on an individual level, it does one of to things. First, it can give you perspective. In general, our day-to-day troubles aren’t that important, and it’s good to find perspective. Things that can seem really overwhelming get brought down to size when thinking about life and death. That can be really helpful. But, on the other hand, in the infertility world especially, it can serve to delegitimize what is already often secret pain.

“I mean, all it is was a failed cycle. Not that big of a deal, right? We can at least do a FET…”

“Based on what we found today, our only option might be IVF, and that’s before we’ve even started any other treatment…”

But here’s the thing – just because there was this big tragedy doesn’t make the pain you’re feeling in your own life less worthy. It’s a different experience to find out those things out on a day when there’s so much else going on, but it doesn’t make the repercussions on your own life less. You hear it occasionally “Oh, but nothing else matters right now except [insert tragedy here].” But life doesn’t work like that – you can’t turn off your own life when something happens.

I don’t mean to lessen the pain of Boston – people died, and others lives were changed forever. The institution of the Boston Marathon was changed forever as well. But, there is always space for the kind of life-changing pain that comes with infertility, and neither one diminishes the other.

Pain is pain, no matter the cause. Find your support. And reach out, as best you can – my comments are always open, of course, and so are lots of others out there. Even when you feel the most alone – to quote Mr. Rogers “there are always helpers.”

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