I've mentioned before how I am a little new to relishing in womanhood. I grew up with a "Girl Power" mom, who raised us to know that we could ALWAYS do whatever a boy/man could do. Sometimes I think I took that lesson a little too far and began to look down at the female sex--like most women were so weak, they didn't understand they could do anything a man could do.
The older I get, the more I start to take pride in being a woman! In our church, we have a woman's organization called Relief Society. We meet together for an hour on Sunday's to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ together. I love learning and being able to share with one another from a woman's unique perspective.
Our particular Relief Society group meets once a month on Wednesday nights, in addition to Sundays, to have a "Mother Education Classes." Last night the class was on infertility, adoption, and family planning. Three ladies spoke about their various struggles with infertility and the paths that struggle has taken them down. Something that hit me was how varied each of their particular situations were. Each was caused by health problems, but each was extremely unique and different from one another. It's a wonder that anyone is ever able to have a baby!
I don't think it'd be my place to share each of their specific stories, since it is obviously such a personal struggle. However, I did want to share what I took away from last night. The biggest lesson was that we NEVER have any idea what other people are going through. If you looked at these ladies, you would see good-looking, well put together, successful, kind, service-oriented people. Your first thought would never come to the battle they have fought for multiple years, if not decades. My uncle always says, "If you go into a room with your problems in a bag, you'll look around that room and see what's in everyone else's bag, and you'll always walk out of that room with your own bag." It gave me a stronger resolve to be a little kinder to everyone I come in contact with. You never know the battle they are fighting and the struggle it took for that person to be standing in front of you at that moment.
Last night reminded me to slow down. This is something I am always trying to overcome. I often react to situations, instead of taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture or thinking about the repercussions of my actions. In this scenario, that means I often ask questions that are none of my business--"Do you guys know when you want to have another baby?" I shudder at how many times I have asked that in the last 6 months alone. It honestly was coming from a place of goodness and eagerness to make bonds with all of the new people I've been meeting. However, when held up to the experiences of these ladies, I obviously see the error in my ways. After their presentation I was talking with a few of the ladies and I realized that the best possible reaction to have when someone reveals their struggles is to have respectful honesty. What I mean by that is, you don't have to have some grand statement to get them through their struggle, a simple, "I'm so sorry" really does suffice. I find myself not wanting the other person to feel awkward and so I just. can't. stop. talking!
A few of them gave examples of off the cuff remarks they have received--"At least you won't gain weight" because of adoption, or "You're so lucky you get to sleep-in on Saturdays" because they have no kids. It's hard because, I can see how someone would say that without realize the repercussions of their statement, but I'm reminded of one of my very first posts (read at your own risk! That was a venting post from a very dark time in my life..yikes!) from long long ago--try to help the person in the situation, not yourself. What would they like to hear, what would help them? It goes against our natural being and it's hard! But obviously the right thing to do.
Lastly, one of the ladies shared something that I hope I will always remember. (I wish I could have just recorded how she said it, but here's the best I can do from memory!) She said that she used to always say, "This isn't fair, life isn't fair,
why is this happening to me?" A friend of hers that dealt with
infertility said to her, "Life isn't fair, and that is a miracle. It is
because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ that life isn't fair. If it
weren't for him, we would all have had to suffer on the cross for our
sins, but he did it for us. Thank goodness life isn't fair!"
This whole post was to tell you that I love being a woman! There is a bond with woman that cannot be described or duplicated by men. Sometimes I see women judging one another or battling over breastfeeding/bottlefeeding, co-sleeping, etc. and it makes me so sad! There's no need to compete with each other when we could all just use this bond to build one another up. The emotional bond we have is unreal and makes me so proud of who I am.