Suffering

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 )

Ayce's foot

Ayce’s foot

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!

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3 thoughts on “Suffering

  1. I saw the most recent post you shared on Facebook, but I didn’t realize that it was from your own blog. It’s a privilege to be privy to your thoughts on your parenting journey. Thanks for sharing!
    This post hit home for me too. Dismissing suffering is not the same as dealing with it. I’ve often wondered if part of my difficulty in coming to terms with my very early miscarriage was my awareness of how many mothers have had to deal later ones; nevermind stillbirths, or losing a child you’d loved and cared for for months or even years. Grieving deeply for a child lost after only a week’s gestation felt almost disrespectful. It took a while for me to own that while my own loss was relatively smaller, it was still my only experience of baby loss. Anything done the first time is hard. It was okay that it sucked. And, as much as it sucked, I’m still glad that I knew.

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