Sorry this post is a bit of a ramble. Ayce is having a rough time recovering from his recent immunizations, so he’s fussing in my lap as I type.
“I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” -Anonymous (This quote has been attributed to Gandhi, but as far as I can tell, he never said it. The best reference I can find is to a yahoo answer, of all things http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100511172222AAx8aYp )
This quote popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook the other day and immediately rubbed me the wrong way. Something I’ve noticed since Ayce was born is that when other moms talk to me about the struggles they face, they often try to minimalize them with statements like, “Obviously I can’t imagine what you’re going through” or “But really it’s not all bad when I think about all of the medical stuff Ayce had to deal with”. Well, guess what? These women are probably going through things that I’ve never had to deal with either! And I don’t envy them their difficulties, but I also don’t feel the need to diminish my own.
We all face our own individual challenges. We have a right to our experience of suffering. Just because someone may be suffering “more” does not make your own suffering any less. I guess my main problem with the man with no shoes is that he is not realizing the extent of his own suffering. How is it any easier to deal with your sore feet and blisters when you know someone else hasn’t got any feet? I guess you’re supposed to say “Well, at least I have feet”, but guess what? If your feet hurt for lack of shoes, there might be an argument for amputating them. In the meantime, you still have feet. And they hurt! In many ways we are so lucky with Ayce. Compared to other kids with his diagnosis, he has some amazing skills. If we were going to compare him to those other kids, we could feel pretty bad for those other people, and in turn, pretty smug about ourselves, but the truth is I still mourn over his deficits sometimes. They make my life difficult. They make Ayce’s life difficult. They suck. But they are our struggles. Not yours.
The last thing I want is for someone to feel like she cannot share the difficult parts of her parenting journeys with me because my issues are so much “more” difficult than her own. I also have a lot of joys in my life thanks to my beloved son, and I wouldn’t change him for the world.
So, my message to you is: Acknowledge your losses, suffer as needed, and then count your blessings– without comparing yourself to others. The truth of the matter is, we are all infinitely blessed!