black angel moms, grief & loss, Trauma of it all, Uncategorized

The Ultimate Empathy

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So your girl Gabby is releasing or has released a book talking about her struggles overall. I don’t know if the entire book is about her struggles with infertility but that portion of the content has been all the buzz on the internet.  If you know me personally or have read another recent post, you know I have a special… feeling about Gabrielle Union.  Regardless of that though, I have to honestly acknowledge the incredible amount of empathy I have for her situation.  

As an angel mom, I think you develop this incredible sense of empathy for other angel mom’s.  I mean, obviously, you’ve literally been through something similar so you can put yourself in that person’s shoes.  But once you experienced it, you literally can feel the grief of another person.  Empaths experience this a lot so I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here but for those people who don’t usually identify that way, it is incredibly jarring.  I kind of consider myself an empath.  I’m pretty emotional (even though I don’t always seem like it) and I’m very affected by the energy of others. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie version of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s novel, The Secret Lives of Bees w/ Queen Latifah, Alicia (aka lady BAE), and Sophie Okonedo but Sophie’s character, May, was SO sensitive.   She was known for bursting into tears and running off when the troubles of the world just got to be too much.  Some days, that is SO my life. I don’t typically end up running off but particularly other people’s sadness can easily bring me to tears if I don’t watch it.

In support groups, you may listen to or read the stories of other angel parents and you know that struggle all too well.  I had & have the ultimate empathy for Gabrielle Union.  My story is not exactly the same as hers but that doesn’t really matter.  She is a person who has decided she wants to have babies, she’s been with a person she loves for some time, she has a kind of parent-role with other children in her life, she’s tried and tried and tried and continues to try to conceive despite the devastating outcomes.  She’s tried and gotten the reward of a positive pregnancy test and carried babies for however long and then lost them.  She’s had to wake up everyday hoping that she can achieve this one thing in her life, despite all her success, but also deals with the possibility that it may not happen for her.  She has tasted motherhood but never really got to savor it in the way that she wants.  Sure, everything isn’t the same but damn if it isn’t close.

If you ask pretty much any angel mom or parent you run across whether they would wish perinatal loss on their worst enemy and they all say no.  The kind of pain you experience is something that you really just wish didn’t exist in the world.  It can make you have the ultimate empathy even for a person your really can’t stand because you know that their heart is completely broken… and you know that they don’t know whether it’ll ever be whole again. In fact, you likely know that it won’t ever be whole again and that’s a special kind hurt that nothing else in this world comes close to.

~Becoming a mom makes you literally understand on a cellular level the phrase, “I would die for you.”~

In some ways, becoming a mom raises your level of empathy (IMO).  It puts you in a position to think of the feelings and entire being of another person.  Someone who is literally part of you.  You get a better understanding of how your emotions biologically affect your child and then how they emotionally affect your child. Becoming a mom makes you literally understand on a cellular level the phrase, “I would die for you.”  The idea that you would take the pain or discomfort of another so they don’t have to feel it…I honestly have never felt that way until I held my first daughter. I instantly wondered about her feelings and whether she was scared or hurt or cold.  I instantly wanted to keep her warm and comforted and safe, and the thought of her feeling anything other than that drove me crazy.  The same thing goes for my second daughter.  Maybe it was all in my head and maybe they didn’t experience any real trauma and just peacefully came into the world and then went out of it in their momma’s arms.  I prefer that thought actually so I’m going to hold onto that.  

Anyway, the ability to place yourself in the shoes of someone else, imagine how they’re feeling, feel those feelings and stay in that space without feeling sorry for a person is a gift.  It’s powerful so I think that as an angel mom I (and maybe you) have to be mindful of just how much we expose ourselves.  Having said that, the support of other people who share your experience is invaluable so don’t stop reaching out and reaching back when support is needed.


3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Empathy”

  1. Perfectly said Jeanae! When I meet other moms who have gone through a loss, we connect in a deep way. Sometimes I can watch a news report of a woman having committed certain sorts of crime , and I’ll think to myself, “I bet she lost a child” and it never ceases to amaze me how often I guess correctly.

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