Sunday, December 11, 2016

What am I worth?

For a long time, I've judged my own worth based on what I do for others.  Which sounds like what a good person should do until you add in my depression and anxiety pointing out that there's always more to do, which means that what I can do and therefore what I'm worth is never enough.

I'm a therapist, so it's my job to help people see their own worth.  But I'm not very good at it when it comes to myself.  A pastor I had said to me that "Love your neighbor as yourself" also means "love yourself as well as you do your neighbor," and it really hit home with me.  I use that line in therapy a LOT, as a matter of fact.  But I still am not very good at it when it comes to myself.

I give others the benefit of the doubt about getting things done while I rip myself to shreds for what I leave undone.  Housecleaning is a big one for me when it comes to that.  I constantly hate myself for not doing more.  I hate myself for not being at home at night helping Papa Bear take care of the kids and the house, even while I know that most of the reasons are because I'm working and bringing in the money that we need.  And at the same time I hate myself for not bringing in enough money for us to be more comfortable financially and to be able to live somewhere where we're not cramped.

I wonder sometimes if the reason why God won't give us another baby is because I'm not worth enough because I don't do enough, don't do well enough, at taking care of the family that I do have and the child that He did give me already.

I think that's part of why I find it so hard to forgive myself, forgive my body, for this cycle.  I'm not just failing myself, I'm failing my whole family.  Papa Bear makes it clear that he loves me and loves my body regardless of whether I can conceive (more on that in another post), so that doesn't come from his attitudes about me/infertility at ALL.  But I'm not the only one that wants this.  Patrick doesn't know one way or the other, but the older kids have both made it clear in various ways that they would like for us to be able to have more kids.  And if I'm failing to do this for them, where is my worth?


  1. One of the rawest emotions I felt while in the trenches was feeling worthless. I literally questioned my own existence, wondering whether it was even valid, due to my inability to conceive. It took a lot of soul-searching to see that this was a problem I struggled with for most of my life. And further reflection helped me see that even though getting external wants met gave me temporary relief, it was an internal viewpoint that was keeping me from being happy.

    This quote "love yourself as well as you do your neighbor" is very powerful and insightful. Because at the end of the day, your family deserves for you to do the work to get there. Sure, another sibling would be a wonderful addition and I understand completely those feelings of feeling like a failure. But the other truth is that a baby is never a cure for feels of worthlessness. If nothing, it only exacerbates them (the main reason the mommy wars even exist). You are already enough for your family. Infertility isn't a sign that you somehow aren't.

  2. So sorry this is hard. I think we all have thoughts of not being worthwhile sometimes, and infertility/subferility makes it all worse. I know I sometimes tie my self worth to TTC: basically I tell myself if I can get pregnant it will make my other insecurities and fears less important. And then I don't get pregnant, and everything feels more hopeless than before. I'll say it again because we all need to have it repeated: nobody does anything to "deserve" infertility.

  3. I was reading your post and thinking I could have written this post. Have you ever leaned forward as you read and said, "yes, this is exactly what I mean?" So to begin, thank you. Thank you for writing this.

    It's so easy for the outsider to say, "Of course this isn't true! You are worth so much and you do so much." But I know as an insider that it is hard to reconcile what you feel with what you hear from others.

    All I can say then is that I'm holding you in my heart.

  4. It's easy to feel that our worth is not determined by some future, but by what we've accomplished, or not accomplished, and so perhaps we're not deserving. I know how this feels, too. Holding you close, and hoping that you can also feel valued and loved for the person you are and for the legacies that have yet to be revealed to you. <3

  5. Oh yes, the doubts about "do I deserve this?" I've certainly had those. But you know what, I don't do it nearly as often now. I realised that I wasn't being punished with my infertility. And that becames patently obvious when you see all the people who do have children, and can't or don't want to or don't care about loving and raising their children. Do they deserve it more than me? No. Or more than you? No. Or more than any of these wonderful women who are part of this blogging community? No. So the reminder to be fair to yourself, in the way that you are to your family and friends and clients, is a really important one.

    So where is your worth? It's in being a loving and thoughtful and insightful family member and friend and colleague and therapist and writer, modelling that although life doesn't always go the way we want, that's okay, and life will still be good and have value. That's a lot. A LOT!

    Thank you for being that person, even when you'd rather not.

  6. So the question you might ask is: what value does this belief system bring to my life? If you make your worth depend on what you currently lack, then you will you never feel good enough, I know this because I battle with it every day.

  7. Anonymous8:05 AM

    I struggle with these exact same thoughts. Some part of me wonders that if I could stop feeling like my body was letting me down than it would all work out. It's like being in that frame of mind where you feel like your body is working against you and you against it surely isn't the way to get the outcome we want.