I wrote this comment after reading Melissa’s post
“I wrestle with the punishment / reward idea constantly. As in, why do they get this reward and I didn’t?
I think, some little part of me, maybe in the deep dark recesses of my mind and heart, believe that I did not deserve a child; that my infertility, my miscarriages were all a punishment.
It’s one of the hardest parts to let go of, actually. It’s harder than the loss and the grief, that compulsion to punish myself.
I don’t know at what point you start to blame yourself for what happens to you. It certainly feels like a long-lived habit for me. I have some weird sense of “if you’re bad, bad things happen to you”.
My parents used to joke that they must have been Hitler and Eva Braun in a past life. It was supposed to be funny, but it was strange. Still, both fantastically good people, they endured a LOT of hardships early on in their marriage and therefore developed a pretty tough exterior. I thank them for this, because I was able to learn about dealing with unfairness early.
I think I was a really good kid, and as an adult, I’m a fairly good person. I’ve made lots of mistakes, I’ve fucked up for sure, but deep down, I think my heart is more pure than rotten. On an intellectual level, I know I didn’t cause my miscarriages. I know that mistakes I made didn’t leave me unable to bear children, or make my ex-husband almost sterile. I know that the wrongdoings didn’t add up to a failed adoption, or a failed marriage. Still, I can’t escape that feeling entirely.
It’s a small voice, like a mocking child. Like the little girl version of me on the playground, speaking in the tones I heard directed at me years ago.
Certainly, I can’t think that being a mother is a reward for being good. There are too many instances where that cannot be the case. Yet, when a woman who has struggled to conceive or carry a child becomes a mother, there is that belief that she has been blessed. The implication is that a woman like me, who remains childless, is not.
I’d like to believe that it doesn’t work that way, that the good things that happen to a person are just good things, and not a reward for being an ideal human being. I’d like to believe that the converse is true also. I’m just not entirely convinced.
One thought on “reward vs punishment”
I’ve never understood why good, kind people endure tragedy after tragedy, as if they have an invisible bullseye on their backs. It’s a sad mystery.