“What you see depends not only on what you look at, but also where you look from.” – James Deacon

In the moments that followed the ultrasound that confirmed Ava had died, we were ushered to another room. The MFM doctor came in and spoke with us at length. He apologized over and over again for what had happened to us and discussed options for future pregnancies. I was angry that he kept talking, I hate crying in front of others, and I was sobbing and wanted to be left alone. I was angry that he was talking about having another baby when the one I wanted and already loved so much was dead inside of me. He then said something that irritated me more, “…and hopefully your marriage will be stronger because of this.”

We can’t compare our experiences and traumas because they are all different. We shouldn’t minimize our experiences because it’s not as bad as something someone else has been through. We can’t minimize what has happened to others because we think we know more pain. That’s just not how it works.

Today I had a friend comment that she was jealous because I have an amazing husband and a great marriage. I fought back the urge to give a bitter response to the effect of “Well when you have a dead baby, nothing will ever be that bad. We will just be happy to have a living child someday.” And it finally dawned on me what the MFM had meant. My husband and I have faced so much together; no, none of this is easy, but we are facing it together. Moving forward, nothing will ever be as bad as having to face losing Ava. Yes, we might lose another baby to CHI, and that’s a real possibility. But we have been there before. It won’t make it any easier, but we have gone down that road, and we know we can make it through. I no longer fear death the way I did because I held my Ava. I’m not sure what I believe in, but I desperately want to believe in heaven now because that means I get to hold Ava again. Losing my job, financial crisis, wrecking my car, any other crisis I can think of – none would be the end of the world; stressful and scary, sure, but it’s not the worst I have been faced with.

I don’t fault my friend for the comment. Her experiences are just as real, and her feelings are just as valid. The point of this is not to compare our experiences; as I said, that isn’t how it works. My perspective on life is just different now and that’s okay.

I was irritated with the MFM’s statement for weeks because how dare he imply we needed to go through this to have a strong marriage. Our marriage was already strong, we didn’t need to lose Ava. Now I realize that whether we like it or not, our shared experiences bring us together. I’ve been more vulnerable in these past few months than I ever have been, and while I hate being vulnerable, it has brought us closer. We face the world knowing that nothing will ever be as bad as losing Ava. Sure things might happen that will be just as hard, but that new perspective is a powerful thing.

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