January 20, 2010

Prickly, Prickly Times

I read a post today by EarnestGirl at the Yummy Mummy Club. She spoke of her reaction to tragic events since being pregnant and over the past decade (which, as she correctly notes, has been rife with tragedy and trauma on the global scene). She described her reaction to the horror and the despair as “falling in a well”. I thought, how apt.

I’ve always been a relatively aware individual and try hard to be sensitive to the world around me, to others’ needs (whether overtly described or needing careful discovery) and to the emotional climate surrounding me at any given time. I feel deeply for people who experience pain, which I believe is relative to experience and situation and just as real for each individual, and have always wanted to help in any way I can. I’m no Mother Teresa, just average compassionate, but there are things you just can’t ignore.

Since I have had my child, however, the awareness of tragedy seems to strike a deeper chord, and I feel hurt for mothers, families who have lost their own, lovers who lose their only reason to live. Whereas before, I related to their hurt and accepted the severity, but I didn’t *feel* it, like I do now. Please understand I don’t pretend to ever know what it’s like to endure that magnitude of pain, but what I mean to say is that it’s almost unbearable to just hear about it now. It makes me realize just how otherworldly painful it might be to experience horrific destruction, loss of life, loss of home, all of it. We’re so…. protected. For the most part.

But what made this empathy become so much more amplified since I gave birth? Am I actually able to relate on some other level, knowing now what I stand to lose, or is it hormones, fatigue, or all the other things that come along with life after birth? Now that I am pregnant again, it seems to be so much stronger, yet again. I’m contemplating reading a book right now that I know will be fantastically written, and that I will be pleased to have experienced, but will break my heart with such a tragic story. I almost can’t bear the thought of that kind of sadness now. I hate this because I feel I can no longer be compassionate, that I avoid the sad parts of life, and don’t read the horrific stories, am overwhelmed by the news of catastrophes and generally avoid anything that is not uplifting. But that is not life. That is not real. Does it get easier to rejoin the real world at some point? Or am I destined to close myself into a happy bubble and lose the ability to build my perspective and respect for those who have endured and prevailed through horrific times?

What funny beings we really are. Always morphing and changing… I’d like to stop and rest for awhile.


EarnestGirl said...

If you were without compassion, you could not have responded as you have done nor written this (generous, thank you) post. Rest. Protect your heart for as long as you need to. You have little people who need your heart's attention. You'll know when it is safe to risk the sad again.

Phat Girl said...

Thank you for such a nice comment. Everything can be so overwhelming in these early years and it boggles me how much can change. I'll respect your advice and try to ride this out, be there for my kiddies and eventually surface again to pay attention where it is needed.

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