Monday, July 18, 2005

The Difficulty of Self-Pity

On several occasions since the birth of my little daughter I've found myself feeling sorry for myself. It's hard not to do when your little one is hospitalized or has recently been diagnosed with a disability. Questions about "why me" "why I have been punished in this way" and "what did I do to deserve this", have come up in my mind and sometimes it's really gotten me down. I'm ashamed to admit it. I've had several experiences that have taught me a lesson about self-pity.

First, when my little daughter was first born and hospitalized in the baby ICU, there were all kinds of clouds hanging about my outlook on life. I dwelt on all the problems that accompanied my little angel's birth, the fact that I couldn't take her home yet and that she was even difficult to hold because of all the wires and leads. Then I opened my eyes and saw all the other children around us in the ICU. It brings tears to my eyes even now when I think about all the tiny, frail little babies in their incubators where machines were breathing for them and monitoring their temperatures and heart rates. The parents of these innocent little children had to be content to touch their child through a glove in the side of their isolated environments. There was one poor little baby who was born so premature that he or she had been in the newborn ICU for over two months! Having spent days in the ICU I know that some of these children never make it out at all. I realized that I had nothing to complain about if my daughter had to stay there a week to get well.

When my little angel was hospitalized with her seizures last Spring we shared a hospital room with a baby girl who appeared to be nearing kidney failure. Her teenage parents were not married and had many difficulties of their own that needed resolving. My heart went out to that poor little girl who needed so much care and probably didn't get it, simply because of the circumstances that she was born into. I felt so terrible to witness this tragedy from our side of the room, behind the curtain.

This past weekend I learned of a young couple who have been trying to have children for some time. Through invitro fertilization, they were expecting triplets. They were looking forward to having these three little ones so much. But it wasn't to be. The mother went into labor at only 23 weeks. Due to complications, the doctors couldn't stop the delivery. The babies weighed only a pound or a little more. None of the three survived.

My heart is broken when I think of such tragedies. I pray for these souls in the trials they are given. And since I'm praying, I pray I never, ever find myself pitying myself for my situation again. It's so important that I don't get so caught up in the difficulties of my little family that I can't see and try to aid the many families around me who are also in need. Many of them have needs so much greater than my own.

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