Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Compare/Contrast

So, I teach middle schoolers (11-14 year olds here). I am often asked why in the world I would do that, and if I'm honest, sometimes I do wonder! But, really, I do it because I understand them. I "get" them, if you will. I loved school when I was a kid-I came from a middle class family, had lots of friends, and got really good grades. Of course I loved school.

But my least favorite was definitely middle school. We judge each other, we are horribly cruel, our bodies are changing in all sorts of ways, not to mention (ahem) hormones. And I can pick out the kids (which is not to imply I have any sort of talent-when you see them everyday, you know!) who are struggling. And it breaks my heart. If I had any wish, I would sit them down and be like that story the Christmas Carol but only show them the future-and how if they don't want to let it, middle school can mean NOTHING to them! The friends they have now will probably not be the friends they have later on. Who you are in school doesn't HAVE to define who you are in the future. There are those stereotypes out there-you know-the dorky guy who had acne and glasses and no friends is now Bill Gates, a trillionaire or whatever. What is happening now does NOT need to define you (um, unless you work in a public school, because I think sometimes I feel like I still am in middle school).

I teach French (very beginning) but sometimes I come across a teachable moment. Today some of my 8th graders (13/14 yr olds) came in and they were very riled up. Something had happened and I wasn't sure what, but as the story unfolded we started to have a really good discussion. Now, you might say I'm a bad teacher because we didn't progress at all on conjugating -er verbs, but I disagree because life is so much a part of learning, and I might argue-life is more important to learn about than curriculum!

Anyway, we went down the path of comparing yourself to others. How dangerous that could be. The kids were asking really good, thoughtful questions and while I was pleased that they trusted me, I was nervous I'd give them the wrong advice.
Because in the middle of it, I realize I am doing EXACTLY what I'm advising them not to do. And it's dangerous. And bad.

Reading these blogs has been so good for me. But I think part of my anxiety right now is because I think of my story and I compare my situation to other bloggers and their journey and what *their* doctors do and how they are treated.

Because I am not getting a cerclage, but others are-I worry. Because this person lost twins and then had a perfect singleton, I think-that could be me! Because I read a blog where they've lost two seperate pregnancies, I worry-that could be me. I am constantly reading and trying to find someone exactly like me and that way I will know what will happen.

I compare my grief to others.
What if I don't dream about my babies, and others do?
What if they write amazing poetry and can see the beautiful side of things, and I can't?
What if I'm still jealous and angry, and they are not?

What if?

Haven't I learned by now that we are all different? That you could take someone who lost boy/girl twins at 23.3 weeks, just like me, and we could have TOTALLY different experiences.

But I let it make me feel bad. Or guilty. I'm not feeling enough. Or too much.

This comparing and contrasting is making me a crazy person, I think. I've got to learn to read stories and support people without comparing them to me. How they feel is so totally different. It's about so many different things. I can't let this get me down, or I won't be able to continue blogging. And I rely so much on this support.

What do you think? Do you compare yourself, too?

11 comments:

withoutmypunkin said...

I defiantly do, like you have tried not to, esp now. Its hard not to though! I think that makes you a awesome teacher for taking that teachable moment and using it! Thinking of you and your little one, hoping for a boring pregnancy!!

Emerging Butterfly said...

Do I compare myself to others??

Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

Yeah...I do. I'm working on this; trying to find a place where my mind's introspection doesn't keep turning into interrogation and judgment. I'm trying to treat myself with the love and patience I give others every day. I'm trying to remember that I'm a person worth loving and that needs to start with me loving myself.

However...I still find myself bashing myself with my thoughts. Others are smarter, happier, easier going, others aren't as crazy, as fat, as short, as anxious. Others get to have ALL their babies happy and healthy. I'm five for five. Someone once told me I was a birth goddess. I thought about the miscarriages they didn't know about. And then, I lost my twins. A birth goddess? more like a train wreck.
A body that gets it WRONG half of the time.

And yes...when I watch my beautiful sisters in life lose a baby AFTER a horrible loss...I think..."Oh god...that's what would happen to ME and I could NOT stand it!!" I also see the ladies that get to have beautiful babies after a loss...and I think..."They are allowed to have that kind of healing...but, I'm not allowed because I have living children. I get to stay in this pain forever."

It's all crap really..because you are right. I teach my sons to be themselves...to not judge who they are based on who their brothers are, or who their friends are. I tell them this, and they must see what a hypocrite I am--kids are smart that way--when I beat myself up inside out the way I've been doing for the past 10 months.

Oh....and by the way...as a homeschooling mother weaving my way through grief...I just wanted to say that if more teachers were like you were with your students... taking the time to teach real heart stuff... I'd be less adamant about homeschooling. As it is, I am not at all inclined to put my boys in with over crowded classrooms, underpaid teachers, understaffed playgrounds, and curriculum that don't really teach the individuals interests. ((HUG)) good job teacher....I have the utmost respect for you.

Marie W said...

I compared myself to others the entire time I was pregnant with Evan. In fact, I still do. I think it only made me worry more. I was on the IC Forum everyday (as well as searching blogs). Every twinge I felt, I had to see if someone else had it and then had a loss, every cervical length check, I had to see the CL's of those who also had a loss. It was nerve wracking! Sadly, that is our normal. I think because we are so knowledgeable because of our losses, we know where to look for information and we crave more even if it means comparing our situation to others.
Many times I had to remind myself that everyone is different. I also repeated this mantra to myself - "I'm doing all I can, the rest is up to God".
Thinking of you!

Bree said...

wow. good point. i definately do that too. in fact, i think i did that in the email i just sent you. i guess that's one reason why i didn't join the IC boards. i have a few blogger friends who have cerclages right now, but i'd like to think we spend more time supporting each other during our freak outs. i don't even think you need therapy, girl! that was a pretty good realization!

i love middle school, too. i've taught 1st - 8th grade and my favorite has always been middle schoolers. they make me laugh. and, i agree. somedays it's just more important to work on those social issues/skills than teach the curriculum.

Kristy said...

Its definitely hard not to want to compare yourself, but I know my story is not like anyone else's. Sure there could be similarities, but I am me and my story is MY life. I try not to think about what someone else is or isn't doing, because they are doing what is righ for them. Just like others may not do what I do and thats okay too. We all grieve in our own way. Really, the only thing all of us have, 100% in common is that we have lost one or more child. Thats it. Just remember that you are unique, your babies are unique, this new pregnancy is unique. xoxo

Tina said...

I think it is human nature to compare ourselves to others. I find myself doing this too at times, but I often remind myself that everyone grieves, feels, and heals differently. We are all individuals who need each other for support and that is why we stick together and continue reading and commenting on each others blogs. xx

AKD said...

I compare/contrast myself all of the time, too! "Her cervical length is longer/shorter - is that bad/good for me? What does that mean?" I think it's so normal for what we're going through - but I think you're just amazing, and would be so proud to have you teach my kids. :)

Krista said...

ummm... yeah, been there done that and still do it all the time!

Akul's mama said...

It is human to comapre but I am always aware that each person and situation is unique. Sunil came in to tell me the other day that what happened to Akul would happen to only .005% babies - so guess who is that .005% - US. Will it happen again? I have no idea and no one does. Hugsssssss

Nan & Mike said...

Hi honey,
Good post, and as you can see the comments all agree with you, yes we all compare and relate and know how you feel, its so hard not to. I have been working on that with the shrink for about a month now and it all comes back to "I have no control over what is going to be so I just have to try and enjoy the time I have" kinda thing.

I wish I had you for a teacher back in the day!!!

Sending you big hugs xoxoxoxox Nan

Bluebird said...

First of all, I *hated* middle school! Second of all, great post :)

I definitely do this, very much so for a while there, especially. And, like you said, not only treatment and outcomes, but emotions too. At tne end of the day, the shear amount of blogs actually help - because no two are the same. So, while I might compare myself to one, I also compare myself to another and end up looking at things in a different light.