I had to write this to remind me of life and it’s reality. The twists and turns and flip side of coins. The other day, I was reminded of this fact more than ever.
I was talking with a few acquaintances that I have not seen for a while. She asked me of my plan. And I told him I am starting my PhD this year. What will happen to your child? Well, maybe I will put him in pre-school since he’s going to be 3 this year.
And than I saw it. That flicker of disdain. That shrug of disbelief. That eye signal that means ‘ah, one of thoooose woman’. It hit me with a pang. I knew it all too well. Because I was one of those woman before. The judgy, self-righteous mummy.
Having been on that side of the coin, I knew all too well what she was thinking. How could this ungrateful mom leave her child to pursue her dream? What a selfish mom!
I’ll tell you the background story of this woman that I know for a few years now. She struggled to conceive. Everyday she dreamed of cuddling a child of her own. In her desire, her dream, her frustration – of course she could not imagine why somebody, after having their own child, would want to leave them. And of course it was easier for her to judge.
Her story is not so different from mine. I struggled to conceive for years. And when I did, I lost my first pregnancy. And when I gave birth to my rainbow baby (a term used to call a child that is born after a loss/miscarriage) – like her, I could not imagine for the life of me to leave this precious child. My mind, my heart, my soul was wired to just be with this child that I had wanted and prayed for so earnestly for years. And because of that, I am blindsided to other side of the coin. In my own tunnel-vision, I could not understand other mother’s situation. I became a judgy, self-righteous mum. I thought all mum must think like me, be like me, and behave just like me.
Stupid, I know. And at time, cruel too. Because mums, they came in many colour, many shapes, many stories. Some do came with a story like mine. So it’s easier for me to identify with them. But some came with other story. Some came with challenge of work commitment. Some with being the sole-earner. Some with their own responsibility to the community. Some with a special-needs child. Every mum is different. And everyone of them is amazing.
For at the core of all mums, despite the differences in their stories, they only want one thing and one thing only – to do the best for their child.
Although I knew her and her situation – I still felt hurt by her reaction. I guess this is Allah’s way of showing me this must how all the other mothers felt when I said/do something out of my self-righteousness before. I apologise to all the mothers that I used to judge in my own ignorance. It certainly is easier to judge from our own self-constructed pedestal – but it sure doesn’t feel good at the receiving end.
I think we all women must really work harder at being kind to each other. It’s easy to judge, it’s harder to understand. It’s easy to flock with like-minded people and gossip and spew hatred towards people who are different than us. It’s harder to be with those like-minded folks and say – hey wait a minute, let’s pause and think – what is their story?
We really should start learning how to listen, really listen to other people’s story.