Empathy: A Mother’s Perspective

Before Being Mummy, as with so many other things, I didn’t truly get the perspective of a mother. Bear with me, I know that is probably making you think ‘Well… no, of course not… duh?’. What I mean to say, through this foggy haze of a sleep deprived, hormonally unstable body of mine is: I now get what it means to be a Mum.

I get what it means to grow someone from mere cells into a person. I get how it feels to have them dance around in your abdominal cavity at all hours of the day and night. I get the way you know life shall never be the same again. I get the pain and emotional turbulence that comes from getting them out into the world in one piece. I get how that pain and emotional turbulence actually just continues forever. I get the way it feels to be solely responsible for this other being and how it feels to want and need to put their needs and happiness above my own. I get how the worry for them starts with that very first indication that they exist. I get the way we dream about who they will be and what they will become. I get how it feels and what it means to be someone’s Mummy. 

Before Being Mummy, I could sympathise with Mothers. If I had a client come in for a haircut who looked over the moon to have just one hour to herself, away from the baby, I would laugh along with her about the trials and tribulations that had brought her to me as a collapsed heap in the chair. I would offer up tea and biscuits because I could sympathise with her tiredness and imagine how hard it must be. I would listen and make all the right sympathetic noises, along with a pat on the back for doing a good job as Mum, and then I would get on with life: just me. Nowadays, I am the mother collapsing in a heap into a chair and being handed a hot beverage and sugar boosts. I am the one fighting to keep my eyes open and relishing 60 minutes to myself.. if I’m lucky enough to get them. I now empathise with Mothers, because I am one and I get it. 

With this new empathy and mother’s perspective, a whole host of emotions have been opened up that I truly don’t believe I could have had if I had never become Mummy. Lately, there have been a lot of posters up on social media showing appeals for children who have gone missing. My instant thought is ‘Oh! His/her’s poor parents!’. I can instantly feel the fear and dread they must be going through… so tangible I can almost taste it. Straight away my new empathy kicks in and I start to think of how we would feel in the same situation, and I picture our son’s face being placed all over social media in a bid to return him home. Before Being Mummy, I would have thought ‘Aww, that’s sad’ and then moved on with my scrolling. Not out of carelessness or lack of feeling. Simply because I didn’t contemplate putting myself in the shoes of parents. How could I? I wasn’t one. Even if I had tried to, it wouldn’t have worked. The shoes wouldn’t have fit!

Now, the shoes fit like a glove. And when I see sad tidings befall a fellow parent and their child and I can walk a mile in their shoes, I find the distance insurmountable and the shoes hurt my feet and leave blisters. My heart literally goes out to them and I find myself trapped in endless cliches such as ‘Thinking of you’, ‘Sending you all my love’, ‘It makes you appreciate the little things’ and my all time cringe inducing ‘Life is too short’. 

Recently, a family friend of mine and her adult son have received the worst news possible after his brave fight against cancer and they face the unthinkable right now. Both clinging together in the same boat at the moment, however he shall soon go down with the ship and she shall have to jump onto a life raft and find her way back to shore through storms of grief and unanswered questions. Why her? Why her son? Why any of it? It goes against natural law to lose a child. It is not how things are meant to be and the fact it happens just feels so damn cruel. 

The only explanation that I can come up with, is that Mother Nature and Father Time like to show us the true value of their gifts. The value of time. Of experience. The value of creating a whole unique person and of every moment you spend with them. They both conspire to create some pretty heartbreaking circumstances in contrast with the spectacular.

That’s the thing about Mother Nature and Father Time though. They have all bases covered. Because through their brutal lessons of life they give us little strategies to help us cope and one of them is empathy. And the beauty of empathy is that, any mother who loses their child need not feel alone. Because myself and every other mother can be beside her. And take turns in attempting to wear her shoes.  

Update: I wrote this post a few months ago and wanted to wait a while before I posted it out of respect for the family friend I mention. She is now on her life raft and heading steadily back to shore. This post is dedicated to both her and her son. From a fellow Mummy who admires the love and courage that both they and their family have shown. All my love xxx 

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  1. July 10, 2017 / 9:52 am

    What a lovely post and know how you feeling it changes when you become a mum. When my little one is in hospital Ill I sit by his bed the whole night I see every test they do and just watch him sleep xx

  2. July 10, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Such a lovely post! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  3. September 27, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    I often feel the same, “I get it now”. Especially when I think back to a piece of advice from a fellow mom, and I think man she was right. #dreamteam

    • mebeingmummy
      October 30, 2017 / 12:42 am

      Yes, exactly! It’s a whole new perspective that gets gained isn’t it? xxx

  4. October 2, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Oh my goodness my eyes are full of tears reading this. It’s such an emotive post and as a mum I have so much empathy for you and your friend as you support her through these waters. I’m so pleased that she has you as you sound like a wonderful friend. Thank you for sharing this with #DreamTeam x

    • mebeingmummy
      October 30, 2017 / 12:44 am

      I was full of emotion when writing it so am glad that feeling shone through… even though it’s made you teary, sorry my lovely! My friend has read this post and messaged me to say thank you, I think it has reassured her and given some comfort which is brilliant. No mother should feel alone when having to face such a horrible time. xxx

  5. October 25, 2017 / 9:47 am

    The saddest news any family could face, so much love to your friend as she navigates this new path. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • mebeingmummy
      October 30, 2017 / 12:45 am

      Thank you for being so kind, I will be sure to pass on your love. xxx

  6. October 25, 2017 / 9:50 am

    This is a wonderfully heart felt post. It has left me feeling full of emotion. The way you have made sense of motherhood with Mother Nature and Father time is very moving. And you are right, it never stops – my children are planning heir weddings and I continue to be mum xx #fortheloveofBLOG

    • mebeingmummy
      October 30, 2017 / 12:47 am

      Ahh, bless you Maria, thank you for such a lovely comment. I was so emotional after hearing the bad news for her son’s prognosis so I went straight the the computer and started typing. I used to play with her son as a child and she is a very dear part of my memories so I just had to pour my heart into something. Haha! Oh dear, wedding planning, not for the faint hearted! Motherhood is forever, such an honour to be a part of. xxx

  7. October 31, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    I can’t even imagine what your friend was going through. You’re right though, we should value our time more but it’s so hard isn’t it when you’ve got your head down and getting on with life. Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG x

    • mebeingmummy
      November 1, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Exactly. It’s only when misfortune happens to another person that you truly relish how lucky you actually are. She has been amazingly brave and strong throughout the whole thing and reads the comments I think, so she will feel everyone’s empathy which is just lovely xxx

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