Written by: Gina Crotts
I don’t know your pain. I’ve never felt your loss. I can’t say what grief feels like for you. I’ve never walked in your shoes, at a time when life’s decisions are so heavy on your shoulders, you have no idea which path to choose. I have no clue what loneliness, dismay or heartache does to you.
I have felt pain. I have felt loss. I do know grief and I have found myself several times when my life choices seem so heavy I can barely carry them from day to day. I know loneliness, dismay and heartache all too well. I can’t pretend to know how these emotions affect others. However, I know I can be sensitive to people who are in similar situations. I can acknowledge that I may not completely understand, but I can offer support and a listening ear to those who are suffering or finding themselves at a cross road in their life.
While I was pregnant, I had people say things to me that were inappropriate, insensitive and inconsiderate. One that has stuck with me is… “I could never do what you’re doing/did.”
This always bugged me, still does. My first initial thought to this statement, “Well, I never thought I could either, but I am or I did.”
No one I know, goes into life, especially in their teens, hoping they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. At least I know it wasn’t on my bucket list. I wouldn’t wish the decision to place your baby for adoption or not on anyone. It’s not easy. Did I ever find myself thinking, “I could do that. I could be a birth mom.” Nope! Never! Even up until the moment I actually placed My Little Butterfly in their arms I didn’t believe I could really do ‘it’... but I did.
Because, for once in my life I wasn’t just thinking about myself. I wasn’t worried about what others thought or what ridiculous things they might say. I was thinking about one thing and one thing only… my baby. I was making the best decision, I felt at that time, that was right for her. It’s funny what we can do when we feel something is meant to be. When we know we are going against the grain of normalcy, but we know in our hearts it’s what we were meant to do. We find something inside of ourselves that conquers the questioning. We find confidence in our decision. We find courage. Courage to carry out what seems to be impossible. Courage to not please everyone, but be true to ourselves.
“I could never do what you did.” You’re probably right. As I could not live through your trials, decisions, loss or pain. So instead of saying that, say this… “I think it’s very courageous what you are doing/did. I am here to support you in any way that I can.”
As an outsider, watching someone else go through a life changing experience, remember you don’t know their pain, but I’m sure you have felt something similar. I’m sure you have been dragged through a life lesson or two, so be sensitive. Think before you speak. Offer positive feedback and answers, all while being supportive. Be that smile they see. That hug they needed. Be a friend, because God knows we’ve all been there at some point.