I read this article in the New York Times this week. It’s the story of a neuroscientist whose daughter was born with Down Syndrome. Dr. Costa did what any of us would have done facing a diagnosis of a loved one; he threw himself into research. The difference is he is now close to finding an effective treatment for Down Syndrome.
In a quote pulled from the article, Dr. Costa said, “Things happen for a reason…” implying that he would have not moved into this field of research at all had he not had a personal reason.
Now the whole “things happen for a reason” thing usually rubs me the wrong way. It’s right up there with “it’s all in God’s plan.” My own personal belief system doesn’t go along with the idea that my life has been mapped out for me, and that being unable to have children is all part of some grand scheme for me to do something else instead. Just as I don’t believe that Dr. Costa’s daughter was born with Down Syndrome so that he could be the one to find a cure.
My life is different because I don’t have children. Opportunities will come along and I’ll be able to take them because I don’t have the responsibility of parenthood. And, while it’s unlikely that I’ll be the one to find a cure for infertility because of my own diagnosis, I do believe that, like Dr. Costa, I will someday look back on my life and see that something good happened to me because I was infertile.
Just don’t know what that is yet, but I’m looking.
P.S. On a personal note, my friend Sarah is a vocal Down Syndrome advocate for her beautiful three-year-old son, Gideon. She’s currently promoting a fundraising drive for Down Syndrome Research and Treatment. Information here, if you’re interested.
This post just gave me chills. I had just finished emailing my sister about something in her life and her response had been, things happen for a reason. I responded, including the statement slightly amended (MOST things happen for a reason), because I’m still coming to terms with my diagnosis. I clicked over to my Google reader and there was your new post.
Thank you for posting this.
If nothing else, you would never have started this blog, and you will truly never know how many lives you have touched and helped with your blog. Since you will truly never know, I say that the number is in the thousands. =>) Blessings to you!
Why do people say “everything happens for a reason” to people who are infertile? I got that and “it’s God’s will” a lot after my miscarriages. Do those people say “well, everything happens for a reason” or “it’s God’s will” when someone is diagnosed with cancer too? I doubt it. I don’t believe that there is an exact path already mapped out for me. I just can’t believe that people develop or are born with debilitating defects or diseases, people’s children are murdered, storms and natural disasters wipe out entire cities killing some and leaving others homeless, or any other terrible things happen “for a reason.” I think things just happen. Sometimes bad things happen and good things come from it because good people have the will and strength to make it happen, but good things do not always come from tragedy. That’s just the way I feel.
Iris D says
I wanted to second Kathleen’s statement. You’ve set up a community where we can come to and feel that we are not alone.
I so agree with you. I hate the whole “things happen for a reason.” I don’t believe it for a minute!
Good things happen, bad things happen. Because if we live long enough, things just happen.