It’s not a competition

A friend posted an article that was heartbreaking – Love, Marriage, motherhood and other uncomfortable seder talk

An article about how an unfeeling woman, married with children, basically taunted her during the seder about her being unmarried and childless. Underneath the article were two or three of her friends commenting about it, and how they have had similar experiences.

How terrible. In fact, it sounds awful. To be alone when you don’t want to be sounds really miserable.

And yet, there’s the part of me that says, “At least you can talk about! It’s not taboo!”

For every awkward conversation like that, there’s the guy on our trip who asked how long we’d been married, and then, at the end of the meal, gave us a blessing that we would be pregnant by the end of the year. It breaks my heart to think about it, mostly because he was so awesome about it. He figured it out, he gave the blessing to us in a way that was private, and he was compassionate.

No one wants that kind of compassion – it’s only somewhat easier than the total heartlessness of others.

I just have to keep remembering – my struggle is not “better” than theirs. It’s just different. We live in a community that values marriage and children, and that makes some people less careful than they should be – those who have gotten both things without trying. I’m sure that same woman would look at us and start trying to give advice rather than a sympathetic hand and a blessing.

Maybe the only difference is that their struggle is more open – their status is known. Ours is just inferred, suspected, whispered. Neither is nice.