Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Spoonful of Empathy

As I sat down to write my list of 'What NOT to say to someone struggling with infertility,' I realized it's not always what is said, but the intentions behind it. The majority of people do not intend to cause you heartache (and the ones that do. . .well, as one person told me, when we can pray for those who have hurt us, we are on our way to becoming more like Christ.) If truth be told, on certain days, I could have probably said something to upset myself. I think that the key is empathy.

Empathy can be defined as: 1) putting yourself in someone else’s place and imagining how that person must feel. 2) A sense of shared experience, including emotional and physical feelings, with someone or something other than oneself.

Being someone who can probably empathize with an insect, I find it difficult to understand people who are not empathetic at all. My niece, Julia, has such an empathetic heart that's rarely seen in someone her age. I sometimes felt that people equated not being able to have a child with not being able to. . .buy a new car. It's something that affects your entire being and sense of self and worth and pierces you right through the heart. Telling someone to just relax and they'll get pregnant is like telling someone with a terminal illness that they just need to keep breathing to stay alive. What is easy for some. . .is not easy for others. Empathy is a two-lane road, however. For others to show empathy for your situation, one must also show empathy for theirs. . .no matter how different the two situations are. As I sit at my computer each day, I try to find words to express how I feel so that others might see what I see and feel what I feel. That's all people want sometimes. . .just to be heard, their feelings validated and to feel that they are not alone. By simply visiting my blog every day, all of you have done more for me than you will ever know.


Anonymous said...

I was blessed with 2 very healthy pregnancies and looking back, I'm so thankful I never had to know all the "stuff" that you've had to learn. Even though I can't know how you feel, I can still hurt for you because I care. I'm glad you understand that most people don't intentionally wound with their words -- I'm pretty sure that most of us hurt others at some point in our relationships no matter how much we care. Thanks so much for sharing and I just love all the pictures! Hugs...Shelly K.

Anonymous said...

We each have different gifts and we must try to appreciate each member of the body for fulfilling their roll. I know I have gained insight from reading your words. Thank you Jodi for being so eloquent with your feelings and experiences.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this blog and for sharing your feelings and pictures of Olivia, you are an inspiration and I'm thankful for that.

God is awesome:)