So one of my coping skills is pretty common, but it sort of makes me uncomfortable.... I wonder if it means that I am relishing other people's suffering, making me someone who isn't empathic, but actually some horrible sort of sociopath.
So, here goes:
I often think of myself as carrying a giant invisible rock on my shoulders. That rock is the sum total of grief and pregnancies and babies that never survived for over three years. It's a constant weight, it is attached to me in staff meetings at work, in the hallways of Niblet's school, and when I am hanging around with friends.
Here's where the coping starts: I imagine every person I interact with as carrying their own giant rock. Because it's invisible, I can't see what it's composed of. It could be the death of a loved one, a childhood trauma, or any stressful situation that would bring anyone to tears.
In the cases of friends who have had success with babies, when confronted with their reality - how THEY were allowed to have what was brutally taken away from me - I often remind myself of what I do know.
Her Dad died when she was young.
Her marriage didn't survive.
She lived through foster-care.
In the case of strangers on the street or in the grocery store:
She might have lost one too.
Are they going to make their rent this month?
Is her loved one sick?
When I think too hard about this, I get deeply uncomfortable. What kind of person does this make me? To be comforted by the fact that deeply personal shitty things don't just happen to me, that they also happen to other people? That everyone has a giant rock?