Thank you to the woman in the store
Thank you to the woman in the store when I was a few days postpartum with my newborn baby. It was a busy morning with people rushing past others without much spacial awareness.
The bright lights were penetrating my failed epidural headache. Carrying the overly filled basket was causing a throbbing sensation throughout my bruised body. My baby was crying, wanting to be back close to the body she had not long ago been safe inside.
Earlier that morning she had to wait a little longer for her milk so I could get her big brother ready for school, whilst I knocked back painkillers in order to ignore the pain and heavy aching throughout my post-birth body. She had to be woken from a nap so I could put her in the car seat to drop her big brother off at school. Then we needed to rush to the store to get more painkillers, food, and items that my son required for school, which he coincidentally only remembered that morning.
You see, most people don’t see behind the tear-wiped faces of parents, and they have no insight into how they’re neglecting their own desperate needs, in order to get through the day for their children. They see a baby making a noise and a parent who looks flustered. They make unhelpful comments like “got your hands full” and they create further isolation with the pressure to not be a problem.
But you saw me, kind soul. You were trying to pack your own shopping and you looked over and gently asked me “can I pack your shopping for you while you pick up your baby and hold her?” I very quickly replied “oh no, thank you, I’m fine” out of eagerness not to be a problem whilst people were rushing past. Then I got into my car and I cried. I cried because of your humanity, and your compassion. The rarity in our society to show altruism to ease another’s struggle just a little. As a lonely parent, your offer breathed some life into my spirit when I needed it most. You inspired me into hoping for a future where we lift each other up when people seem to be struggling, a future where instead of hearing “got your hands full” we might hear “you must be so proud”.
I would love to hear your similar stories mamas & papas