Guest Post by Chloe Jensen

whyitsokaytocomplain

Someone I highly respect once said, “No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.” However, before looking up that quote verbatim (it’s from Jeffrey R. Holland, if you were wondering), I had remembered it in my mind a different way. This is what I continuously told myself as I tried to obey my remembered words of wisdom, “There is no misfortune great enough that complaining about it won’t make it worse.”

It’s a subtle difference, but I think there’s a very real distinction between whining and complaining, and many of us are being too hard on ourselves when it comes to the latter.

The Google definition of “complain” (because I’m not too proud to admit I use Google for all my definitions) reads:

com·plain
kəmˈplān/

verb

  1. express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.
    “local authorities complained that they lacked sufficient resources”
    • state that one is suffering from (a pain or other symptom of illness).
      “her husband began to complain of headaches”
    • state a grievance.
      “they complained to the French government”

The definition of “whine,” on the other hand, is obvious to anyone who has ever had a kid, met a kid, or been a kid. But just for fun, here’s what Google describes it as:

whine
(h)wīn/

noun

  1.  a long, high-pitched complaining cry.
    “the dog gave a small whine”

verb

  1.  give or make a long, high-pitched complaining cry or sound.
    “the dog whined and scratched at the back door”

I’m sorry. Now you have echoes of whining ringing in your ears. But my point is this: Complaining is not whining.

But many of us have led ourselves to believe that it is. If you’ve ever tried to conceive after loss or infertility, you’ve probably had this thought/prayer/plea to the universe, “If I could just be pregnant, I would be so grateful. I wouldn’t complain about the morning sickness, or the round ligament pain, or anything. I would just be so glad to be pregnant, none of that stuff would even compare.” It’s a totally normal thought. In fact, if you’re still in the trying to conceive stage, you may still have these thoughts. It may be incomprehensible to you why any mother who wanted so badly to be pregnant could now be complaining about the one thing she wanted most in the world. And that’s okay. But when you find yourself in the middle of your first trimester leaning over the toilet, or tossing and turning in bed because your belly doesn’t want to be touched, or poking yourself with needles daily, or even multiple times a day, eventually that little thought is going to enter your mind. The thought that you didn’t think you could think.

“This sucks.”

And immediately you’ll try to recall it. You’ll shove it to the back of your mind and swear you never thought it. But it never completely goes away.

And then it gets more complicated. You see a pregnancy announcement on Facebook, and it still makes you jealous, because that was when your last due date was. Or you’ve been trying to conceive for two years and you were supposed to be the first of your friends having a baby. If it had just gone your way.

But you can’t think that. You finally got what you had wanted. You should be blissful. You should be grateful.

And then you see a baby who’s the age yours should be now. Or you’ve been puking all morning and you’re just so sick of being in the first trimester puking again, when you should be entering your third trimester now. Or you have a nightmare about miscarrying this pregnancy, too, and you want to scream because you’re never going to have that happy, worry-free pregnancy you thought you were entitled to.

“This really sucks.”

No.

This is an outrage. This is so unfair. Why should anyone have to go through pregnancy like this?

But you’re pregnant. And for now your baby is alive. You should be grateful

Well, I’m calling BS. Not one of us is “whining” about our pregnancy after loss. I’ve never heard the high-pitched timbre of a whine when a grieving woman has cried out, “God, why did you take my baby?” “I’ve done everything I know how to do. Why can’t I have a baby?” “I’m still trying to believe this could work this time, but why does it have to be so hard?” We are bereaved parents and parents-to-be. We are crying, mourning, and sometimes screaming. We are grieving, but we are not whining.

So here are my top three reasons why it is okay to complain during your pregnancy after loss or infertility.

  1. It’s normal. There are very few normalcies we get to experience during pregnancy after loss, but this is one of them. Women who have never experienced a loss complain about all the little inconveniences of pregnancy without a second thought. It’s almost a bonding experience. You hear women swapping war stories of morning sickness and belly circumferences. Most of us have had a hard time including ourselves in these conversations before either because talking about our lost pregnancies makes people uncomfortable, or because we’ve never been able to share the experience. You owe it to yourself to feel included now, if you want to be. Don’t let an imagined obligation to gratitude hold you back. You can complain about the little things without giving up your gratitude for the big picture.
  2. It’s honest. This journey you’re traveling is really hard. And it’s hard for a lot of other courageous mamas, too. It’s not fair or realistic for anyone to expect a pleasant answer from you when they ask how you’ve been doing if in reality you’ve been feeling a lot like what comes out of the wrong end of a dog. You’re doing a disservice to yourself and others by allowing people to believe pregnancy after loss is this blissful relief. If you feel like crap, say so. And maybe if the person asking you actually cares they can come over and do your laundry or something.
  3. Pregnancy after loss is really hard! Did I say this yet? You deserve to admit that you feel bad. You deserve to ask for help. You deserve to have your feelings heard. You deserve to be able to describe to someone what it feels like to inject yourself with medication, because sometimes it helps just to be able to say it out loud. You deserve to do whatever it is you need to do to make this pregnancy just a little bit easier on yourself. This is a difficult journey. If complaining is stating suffering or a grievance, you deserve that right as much as anyone else.

Take courage, mama. And if complaining is what you need right now, take courage in that, too.


View More: http://marielongphotography.pass.us/jensen-family-sessionChloe is mother to her sweet stillborn son, Liam, and twin little boys on the way. She is also wife to the next Batman, tech business super-woman, and a PALS Facebook group admin. She’s especially passionate about celebrating candidness, uniqueness, and differences in motherhood. Follow her story of parenting her late son and navigating twin pregnancy at bellsandwishes.com.

 

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