Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I have been crying a lot recently. You could say I am an expert at it. And although my own pain is often the reason, I feel like I have become a sponge for others’ suffering too. It’s going to sound ridiculous, but I think perhaps the pregnancy hormones, combined with the grief of a mother have made me some sort of empathy super hero. Call me Sympathatron. Or Mega-Wail. Or something.

Today my tears are not for me. They are for the families and victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. I have no words for the devastation it causes me to know that again, AGAIN, some f*cked-up people have felt that the best way of effecting change in the world is to hurt others - innocent, unsuspecting, unconnected individuals, whom represent nothing more than symbols of whatever misguided cause is behind this heartless attack.

My tears are also for this wonderful woman, Lori, whose blog I just found and can’t tear my eyes from: http://www.rrsahm.com/ Her story is a true tragedy and yet she has risen from it with the courage and positivity that others can only dream of. She has been hurt, abandoned and traumatised by the one she loved and who loved her most, and instead of forsaking love, she has rallied and used her love to rise again, damaged but somehow cheerful. THAT is humanity.

And my reserves of tears seem to be boundless for Rachel, of http://www.mummymuddles.com/ whose eloquent expressions of grief are like a strange oscillating magnet to me, I am drawn to them, I have to read them but then I have to turn away because they churn me up inside.

I had a visit yesterday from the Baby Nurse I used to visit before I moved house. She was an angel, a beacon of light in the dark, treacherous, confusing world of new motherhood. Her advice, support and encouragement were my lifeline when I was unwittingly suffering post-traumatic stress after the birth of my son H, and she continued to keep me sane whilst I struggled with a baby who wouldn’t sleep more than 3 hours at a time for the first 7 months of his life.

Her approach to helping new mums has the personal, emotional, human feeling that the medical support services are gravely bereft of. She asks mums questions about themselves and their babies to really get to know them and then assesses them individually, suggesting things to try, but never prescribing a right or wrong way. She is always embracing new ideas and seemed open to learning as much from the mums she saw as she was interested in imparting her knowledge. But, most importantly she was always reinforcing what a great job I was doing, which, when you’re floundering in a foreign world and feeling lost and afraid and so goddamn TIRED you could accidentally wander out in traffic, is all you need to hear sometimes.

Her positive feedback and genuine interest in mine, and my son’s wellbeing were invaluable to me. Eventually, as I found my feet as a mum, I found I was visiting her clinic just for a chat, more than to seek out her professional advice.

But I had not seen her since we moved house 8 months ago when I was about 12 weeks pregnant with Benjamin, and after she heard of my loss just recently she tracked me down again. I am so glad she did. She came around for morning tea and we chatted for 4 and a half hours about life, babies, motherhood, politics and love.

If I am Sympathatron, she is the Compassionater. This woman oozes love and empathy. And to use a cliché, she is an Earth Mother, offering the nurturing care of a mother to all. This is not stretching the truth, as she not only raised her own 3 kids but looked after her friend’s 2 boys when they were orphaned and is now acting as a surrogate mum to a teen daughter of a friend who has gone wayward. She is the sort of woman who wants to give the world a hug and whose hugs are regenerative.

And after seeing her I feel a little bit more healed. Baby steps, as they say.

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