When I was a kid, the cry "That's not fair" was responded to by my mother with, "Life's not fair." I hated that response, but I heard it often growing up. While it never seemed like a very good explanation then, I see now sometimes no other explanation really fits. Now I realize that as harsh as the explanation is to a kid, life will continue to find me in situations that just don't seem fair, and it's not a punishment or a curse. It's life.
Lately some of my fellow anencephaly moms and I have been decrying the injustice in a world where women can abuse their bodies and still have perfectly healthy babies, sometimes babies they don't even want, and we have done everything right to have the babies we long for yet they are not here or cannot stay. I see it everywhere. I see it in the woman who came into the bar last weekend, visibly pregnant, and knocked back a couple of glasses of wine. I see it in the grocery store, where parents' carts are loaded with children and unhealthy foods. I see it on TV. And it hurts.
Without even realizing what I have done, I have developed an attitude of entitlement myself. I don't have a right to a child. God doesn't owe me a baby. Both of my children, who are no longer here, are gifts. I was trusted with them, and I had a duty to do what is best for them but I had no right to keep them. They are God's to give and take and when I am thankful for His sharing I am blessed, but when I slip into a self-pitying moment where I cry "It's not fair! Why me?" I am only hurting myself.
My sister-mommies are an inspiration to me. We build each other up in our weakest moments. I consider them one of the many gifts Gabriel brought into my life. Some of my fellow anen mommies are so young, yet so strong. I am amazed at the selflessness of some of these young women, part of a generation of increasingly self-absorbed people, but themselves a light in a frighteningly dark time. Most of my fellow anen mommies, for one reason or another, never considered giving up on their babies even in their darkest hour. Even those who, like myself, thought about letting go early, reconsidered and proved to be the parent that God was asking them to be. While I have difficulty knowing that there are so many "bad" parents in this world, I shudder to think of our children having been given to someone who would not respect their lives, rather than to those of us who loved our children enough to let them live, even though it would hurt. We took care of our babies and our bodies, knowing that even the best care wasn't going to give them the long life we would want with them. We held them while we could and accepted that maybe we don't always know what's in store for us, why some things happen, and why life sometimes seems so unfair, and when God asked us for them, we gave them back to Him, trusting that only He could care for them better than we could and that he would hold them safe until the day we will see them again.
No, life is not fair. On this day, Gabriel's two-month birthday, I must celebrate without holding him, or kissing his precious face. Still, I celebrate. Because even a life that is not fair, that is short and sometimes painful, is beautiful.