When Things Go Well, Do You Put it Down to Luck?

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Feature image from CHRIS BRACEY

The other day I was chatting with a friend about how well everything was going with the ITP pregnancy.  When I told her that my platelet count was high, my baby was happy and healthy, my doctors were pleased, and that I felt wonderful, I instantly added on the end – I am really lucky!  She stopped me right there.

She stopped me right there.

It was a good friend of mine who pointed out that it was not luck at all!  She drew my attention to everything my husband and I have done to make sure our pregnancy went well.

  • We found the best doctors available to us and moved 6.5 hours from our home to see them.
  • We traveled back and forth between Sydney and the South Coast to attend appointments including flying while morning sick and pregnant.
  • I was eating healthy, paying attention to diet, nutrition and cravings.
  • I researched all my medications, learnt about their side effects and took measures to combat them.
  • I read up on everything I needed to know about high-risk pregnancies.
  • We went to parent information classes.
  • I sought advice and support from people around me.
  • I pursued alternative health remedies, took herbs and supplements, drank teas, and received remedial massage.
  • I went to a KINESIOLOGIST (All though truth be told, she came to me)
  • …and a CHIROPRACTOR.
  • I walked every day.
  • I went to ballet
  • …and did yoga regularly,
  • and I was meditating to stay healthy and positive.

And yet, I am so quick to tell people how ‘lucky’ I am to be happy and healthy.

Luck would be everything going well if I did nothing to help myself.  Luck would be a positive outcome despite making no effort at all.  Luck is about success or failure brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

Why am I so reluctant to say “Yeah, I fuck’en did this!”?

I did a little research on the matter and discovered that this is a trend I couldn’t ignore.  It turns out, as a group, women are more likely to attribute their success to luck and to blame themselves for their failures.  I did a lot of reading.  It is a real thing.

From the book SEX DIFFERENCES in Depression by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, several studies have shown that ‘women tend to make more external attributions… attributing outcomes to luck or task difficulty.’  

Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez also writes in her book, THAT BITCH IN YOUR HEAD, that when women fail, their inner voice says, “Dummy – You blew it,” but when they succeed, it says, ” Wow! You were lucky!”  Men tend to think the opposite: When they fail, men are statistically more likely to blame the situation or someone else but when they succeed, men take credt for being smart and competent.

When you attribute things in your life to luck, you are less likely to take credit for your success.  I need to stop telling myself that when I am unwell, I deserve it and when I am healthy – I am lucky.

When I first wrote this article I had no idea how my pregnancy was going to turn out.  Now I know that everything was more amazing than I could have hoped for.  While there were a few moments of pure luck (Having ana amazing midwife on duty when we arrived and being placed in the best room on the ward) mostly it came down to being fit, prepared, healthy, positive, determined, strong, educated, informed, and open to change – It certainly wasn’t because of LUCK!

by Meg

Meghan Brewster is a writer and blogger. She is an ITP patient and launched ITP&Me in 2011. She is a coffee lover and a try hard dancer. @meghan_brewster

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