Thursday, February 23, 2012

Respecting other's hardships

When you are living your own life with your own good and bad bits, it can be very difficult to step into someone else's shoes for a minute and realize that they have their own good and bad bits, as well. Life isn't a contest to see who can one-up the next person (oh, your baby isn't crawling yet? Mine's been crawling for ages). This goes both ways (oh, you have no idea how hard it is - you just have one baby. That's a breeze. I have twins).

I am on various parenting boards with other mothers of children around the same age as L.H., and today one of them said something that I appreciated so much and is so true. To quote: "Kids are hard regardless of how many you have. I know it's especially hard if the twins are your first but any firsts are hard."

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have people ask me about L.H. and then proceed to tell me that
she's just the first; that's nothing. Wait until I get to (insert number of children said person has).  What people don't realize - and I am undoubtedly guilty of this, as well - is that each person must pass through each stage of life, and just because you have already passed through it and gotten out fine doesn't mean that the next person won't struggle with it.

We each have our struggles.  You might find a mother with twins who are perfect angels and relatively easy to take care of; or you might see a mother with one child who is colicky, doesn't eat well, doesn't sleep well, and is generally a holy terror.  Which one of those is having a harder time?  There is no way to tell.  Even though babies are babies, comparing those two situations is like comparing apples and oranges.

To apply this to myself, just because I had severe HG doesn't mean that the other pregnancy complications some of my friends had are any less serious or difficult (and I am very careful about not making it seem that way, either).  I have one friend who didn't want to tell me she was pregnant because I was having such a tough time with my pregnancy, and then when we talked about her pregnancy she would never complain to me about her severe heartburn and back pains, even though they really bothered her a lot.  She felt that she had nothing compared to me.  And you know what?  As much as I appreciate the thought, I wish that she would have shared it with me.  It would have brought some small sense of normalcy back into my life.  It would have been nice if for five minutes I could be there for someone else, instead of everyone else needing to be there for me for eight months.

The bottom line is, until you have been in someone else's shoes - you can't say anything.  And even if you think you have been in their shoes chances are you haven't.

No comments:

Post a Comment