Note: I had this post written and scheduled for today when I came across an announcement from Theta Mom about her blogoversary contest. So I decided this post would be my official entry. I am a proud Theta Mom and I support The Mission!
There were a lot of things about motherhood I did not anticipate. One element that continues to take me by surprise is the way I am affected by the pain and suffering of children and parents I don't know. Now that my heart understands, I find myself torn to pieces by the stories of strangers.
I don't mean to imply I never cared about such things before. I do have a heart. But until I became a parent myself, I couldn't truly comprehend the strength of emotions involved. Now that I can, I would prefer not to. I know the world is full of evil and misfortune and that bad things happen to good people. I just wish I was blissfully unaware.
TV shows and movies that depict violence against children or terribly sad events involving children? Absolutely not! The evening news? Can't stand to watch it. It seems there is always a story about a child having been abducted or killed. Or a profile of a child fighting for life against a terrible disease.
Just the other day I stumbled upon the story of Ellie, a little girl who recently lost her fight with cancer. And I found myself sitting in front of my computer sobbing. It broke my heart. To think of her parents. Her twin sister. All the people whose lives she had touched. I felt that pain as if it were my own. And I was completely undone. I could not stop crying.
When I was pregnant, I knew I would become the mom of a daughter. I prepared the best I could for that (and I wasn't nearly prepared enough, but that is a post for a different day I think). I did not realize I was joining a community of moms. That I would be intensely and inexplicably tied to all moms and therefore share in their joy and pain.
The truth is, we are bound together simply by the act of becoming a mom. The bond that ties us together enables us to experience the collective joy and pain of motherhood. There are some wonderful aspects to this connectedness. I am getting to know lots of incredible women. Most of whom I have never met, but consider to be friends. We support each other, commiserate with one another, laugh together. We share our joys. That part is easy.
But sometimes motherhood involves unimaginable pain. And as a community, we share in that, too. Even when we don't personally know someone, and can't do anything to help, we feel for each other. And when we have the ability to help, to support, to connect, we must. It's a tall order, but after growing a life inside us and bringing it into the world, we know we've got what it takes. Moms truly are amazing.