Saturday, July 13, 2024

Compassion without Comparison

Image by Hatice Baran on Pexels

“You’re also carrying a baby” – a 1 month postpartum mother told me when we were deciding who would hold the umbrella while we walked in rain.

I went for a walk with a neighbour friend, who had just had her second child a month before. I was in my last trimester of pregnancy, expecting my second child. I had my older 4-year-old daughter with me.

Throughout my first pregnancy, I had women of all ages constantly tell me that what I was experiencing was “nothing” and I would realize what real difficulty is once I have my baby (“yeh tu kuch bhi nahin hai, jab baby hoga phir pata chalega”). So that is what I started telling myself – pregnancy is “nothing”, postpartum is always more difficult. I think it came true with my first child as well (although it is not always true).

So, when this mom I was walking with, who had a newborn, acknowledged that I also had a baby inside me, I was really surprised. She was not trying to compete with me regarding who had it harder. She was stating a simple fact that both of us were dealing with our own life situations as a mother and needed acknowledgement, or the very least, did not want to be taunted or scared about something “worse” coming.

Later, when I indeed had a difficult postpartum recovery, the same woman did show up for me with homemade desserts, laxatives, and offers to watch my older child. ?

All mothers, and all women, and all humans, and all living creatures need compassion and help. It is true that some situations are harder than others and that some people are stronger than others. But we have not been tasked with the responsibility to judge that. We do not know which situation is becoming a source of spiritual opening for someone and which of our actions or words are causing a veil upon our hearts.

That being said, if we are in need of acknowledgement for our own difficult situation, we can heal by being vulnerable with those closest to us who are also good listeners (if we have been blessed with any such people in our lives), and also sitting in the presence of Allah and acknowledging ourselves. Throwing our darkness upon somebody else will not make us feel better.

May Allah enable us to be kind to those around us and make us firm on the attribute of “reham” (loving, womb-like care) this Ramadan and always. Ameen.

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