We Are All Climbing Different Mountains

There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.

Yep. I went there with a good ‘ole Miley intro. Just bare with me …

When we were going through infertility, it would break me when anyone complained about pregnancy or being up all night with their newborn. I would think —

“Can you just be glad that you are pregnant? I would love to be up with a newborn.” 

My comparison continued when we lost Theo. If someone was not 100% happy all the time with their pregnancy or newborn or toddler, I took it as a personal insult. I was so broken. I had zero empathy for their struggle because their struggle seemed to pale in comparison to the fact that our baby was no longer with us. 

In our first year after losing Theo, we met couple after couple who had been through what we were going through. It was with each embrace that I began to realize that our losses were the same. We could not compare because no loss was greater than the one next to us. We were each in the depths of despair regardless of how far along we were or for how long the baby had lived. We were grieving rides home from the hospital, birthdays, Christmases, graduations, weddings, and futures. Our grief was all the same. 

Around that time, I penned this blog post (click here) about the worst loss I had ever experienced and how I realized that loss was loss. Mine was not worse than yours and yours not worse than mine. Whether it is your dog, or your relationship, or your job, or neighborhood — it was and is all unbearable loss. 

But last summer I fell back into my old mindset. When I was on bed rest, and people would complain about pregnancy or a newborn, my old thoughts would resurface —

“uhhhh, maybe you should stop complaining and be grateful? You are so lucky.” 

Yep. I thought “lucky.” Yikes. 

Yet, as I have tread through the waters of grief with my rainbow pregnancy, delivery, and newborn stage, and made it to the proverbial “other side” of infertility, loss, and painstaking pregnancy, my understanding of comparison has only become clearer. 

We are all climbing different mountains.

Comparison fails again. Just like it did with loss. Hard stuff is hard stuff. Your struggle does not invalidate mine and mine does not invalidate yours. Just because you went through something similar and it “wasn’t that bad” or I floated through a trial similar to yours seemingly unscathed has no impact on the other. 

Your baby may be the best sleeper ever and you may not comprehend how my baby not sleeping leaving my whole house sleep deprived affects everything and everyone. 

You may be suffering with having three kids under three and are far from the yearn to be pregnant.

My kids may be too young for the after school extra curricular shuffle and I may not comprehend why you are just completely spent and cannot fathom getting your crew to one more thing. 

You may be pregnant and struggling with sickness and forget what it is like to pray for that sickness. 

I may have a newborn and you may have forgotten the anxiety around exposing that precious soul to alllll the germs. 

You may be far removed from the toddler stage, so you might not exactly remember how hard it is to “just come over with the fam and watch the game!” 

My marriage might be at a high point, so I may not understand why you just want a girls night to let out some steam. 

You may love the fact that you work out of the home so you may not get why me being home is so important to me right now. 

My budget may be tighter than yours at the moment, so you may not understand why I can’t “do a few drinks” on a Thursday. 

Do you see where I am going?

Here is the thing — trials and challenges hit us all at different moments in time. That means that our reactions and adaptability are different. 

My mountain that is more like a hill in your eyes may have helllllla touch terrain. Meaning, my Birks won’t cut it. I need something more durable and in it for the long-haul.

Your super steep mountain may also have streams that you have to plan around or trudge through. Streams that maybe I did not encounter when I climbed a similar mountain. 

It does not matter how it looks from the outside. We are all climbing different mountains. Each mountain might be the hardest mountain yet. It may look and be impossible for me to climb at the moment. Just like any loss may be the worse loss for that person at that time. It is not comparable.

So, instead of judging each other, offering input on footing, and critiquing the other’s mountain, can we just fill up each other’s water bottles and encourage the climb?

Rebecca Autin
Rebecca is an attorney by day and a toddler wrangler by night. She is a product of divorced parents and grew up in both Thibodaux and Franklin, Louisiana. Rebecca attended Loyola University of New Orleans and Southern University Law Center. Rebecca married her high school bestie in 2012. Quinton and Rebecca went through months of infertility before giving birth to Maxwell Lincoln in 2015. In 2016, they were surprised by a baby boy due in June 2017. But, in February 2017, they suffered with incompetent cervix and delivered sweet Theodore Paul too soon. In October 2018, after an incredibly difficult pregnancy, a cerclage, and a whole bunch of bedrest, Fitzgerald Joseph was born -- a happy, healthy, and perfect rainbow. If you can't find Rebecca, you can summon her with pot of freshly brewed coffee or look for her in Target or behind the kitchen island where she is hiding from her kids with a very generous pour of red.

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