The Empathy Factor

20140418_170148-1This week I am taking part in the ‘Moods of Motherhood’ blogging carnival. ‘Moods of Motherhood’ is a truly lovely book written by the very talented Lucy Pearse. A perfect keepsake for all mothers, mothers to be, and grandmothers. If you are looking for that special gift for a pregnant friend this Christmas, your search is over!

So I got thinking about what the title ‘Moods of Motherhood’ means to me. I had a good think about how much I have changed and how much my life has changed since I first became a mother nearly eight years ago, and realised just how very broad the spectrum of moods is. However, there is one way in which I have changed since becoming a mother that I could not and would not have expected. I am not sure I could even call it a mood but it is certainly a change in me brought on by motherhood. That ‘mood’ is empathy.

I used to get quite annoyed by all the mothers that would come and pat my bump when I was expecting my first child. I would complain to my friends about how these people were ignoring social boundaries, never mind the unsolicited advice they felt the need to dispense. For goodness sake, they were total strangers, they didn’t KNOW me! My child-free friends would agree with me about how terrible this behavour was. My friends with children would listen, smile and nod – I found it a little annoying that they didn’t jump up along side me on my soap box!

Then I had my first child. Oh how churlish my previous behaviour seems to me now. We flounder when we have our first child, we too are newborns in our own way, and we not only need the advice from experienced mothers, we crave it. We go to the health clinic and the strangers that we had seen before during anti-natal check ups, become instant soul mates that we chat to for reassurance. We have the most intimate conversations without the slightest bit of embarassment or awkwardness. And we somehow know they are okay with that.

The Sisterhood!

The Sisterhood!

Then as our children grow, we may lose touch with our ‘clinic friends’ but we will make new friends in the school yard, with mothers. We will chat with ease about the things that are troubling us and we will reassure each other. We will pass a mother with hands full of shopping and screaming children at her feet and we will support her – be it a nod of acknowledgement or physically holding her shopping so that she can deal with her child’s perfectly normal (to us) screaming. We will automatically grab the toddler who is running full tilt to play with the traffic.

 

I will see someone having a tough day and offer support and empathy in a way that I would never have dreamed of doing before becoming a mother. Not only do I offer it, but I have also learnt how to accept help from fellow mothers – admitting I needed help with anything was just not part of my make-up before having children. How naive I was to think those bump-patting mothers didn’t know me; they absolutely did.

Lost in thought - together.

The comfortable silence of mothers. 🙂

I expected motherhood to bring me feelings of love, worry, frustration, panic, anger, joy and anxiety. However, I never dreamed that it would heighten a capacity for empathy. It is truly more a gift than a mood of motherhood, and a gift I absolutely appreciate.

Today’s post is part of the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival celebrating the launch of the second edition of Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering by Amazon bestselling author, Lucy H. Pearce (published by Womancraft Publishing).

Today over 40 mothers around the world reflect on the internal journey of motherhood: raw, honest and uncut. To see a list of the other contributors and to win your own copy visit Dreaming Aloud.net

Moods of Motherhood_cover_front_300

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