I came across this article on Facebook this morning, and when I initially clicked the link, I had no idea what the article would be about. The title read, "The Most Powerful Thing You Can Say to Another Mom", and the girl who shared the link simply wrote, "I'm a mom, I know ..." with other mothers chiming in in the comments section about how much they loved the article and how true and beautiful it was. So, of course, I click over hoping to get some kind of sappy pro-mom love message: "you're doing a great job!" "we know it's hard, but you're the best!" .... just the sort of things that I wanted/needed to hear this morning.
The article took me to a different place though. A place of anger and some serious bouts of "WTFs". And I try to stay away from feeding the internet "trolls", if you will, because I know how out of hand these comment sections get sometimes. So, I read the entire article, with the gist being that the writer's friend had just lost her daughter. And after her daughter's death, the writer's friend said to her: "You're a mom, you know." And the writer used this as the platform for the rest of her article -- that somehow, motherhood alone joins us in our experiences. That no matter how different we are, or how different the choices we make for our kids end up being, "it's cool, cause, you know, we're moms!"
Yay, rejoice! No. Just because we're both mothers doesn't make our experiences any more similar. I feel like I'm going off on a Jerry Springer stage, taking off my earrings as a producer holds me back, and yelling, "YOU DON'T KNOW ME!" Motherhood doesn't make us similar or instantaneously bonded just by virtue alone. I felt like screaming to the author, "YOU. DON'T. KNOW!!!!" You will never know, and honestly, I hope people never do. One of the comments said something like, "This is irresponsible blogging." And I couldn't agree more. You can't put a message out there letting people believe that this is the appropriate thing to say to a grieving parent. It's not.
And no, I don't have a magic formula for the "appropriate things" to say. Sometimes, there are no words. Honestly, for me, I appreciated hearing, "I don't know what to say" more than most other things people tried to tell me. And had someone attempted to tell me, "I know how you feel," I might've just gone off ... like this post. That's insulting, because you don't. I did end up leaving a comment (which I usually NEVER do) -- "I guess it's safe to say that, as mothers, we all have different
experiences, and we should all respect that. But I know, for me, I
wouldn't want another mother to minimize my loss by coming up to me and
saying, "I'm a mom, I know." Naw you don't, trust me."