May, the month we celebrate moms and motherhood, presents the perfect time to talk about…suffering. Yes, suffering. More specifically, how we shouldn’t waste the suffering that so frequently goes hand in hand with motherhood. And we can all agree it does, doesn’t it?
Some of our suffering as moms is physical. For example, I’ve quite literally contemplated a post about the top ten ways my two-year-old may (accidentally) murder me. You know, kill shot to the temple with plastic toy, elbow stab to the lungs or larynx, suffocation with baby blanket, etc. You name it, it could happen.
But most of the ways moms suffer are emotional and related to our circumstances, stress, self-imposed expectations of what a “good mom/good kid” looks like, or just plain lack of sleep. We may all suffer in different ways, but I guarantee that encouraging someone in the midst of their suffering when you’re now safely on the other side of a similar situation, is one of the most important things you can do for another mom.
One of my early regrets is not sharing more freely after my husband and I experienced a miscarriage. Yes, it may have been socially awkward to blurt it out the next Monday at work when someone asked, “How was your weekend?” But still, it would have been nice to have sympathy, encouragement, and support instead of pretending that things were fine when in fact they weren’t. Beyond that though, I surely missed out on the sweetness of encouraging someone else who would later walk the same road of heartbreak. I never said anything, and now they may not either. This is just one example of the unseen scars of suffering that so many women wear while trying to give the appearance of one who has it all together.
Let’s agree to cut that out right now.
This isn’t a call or license to become a whining hoard of complaining momsters, but we should be brave enough to be transparent with one another. And, we can start by knocking off all the “I’m fine” business. I definitely know I’m guilty of saying this and I’ve seen it result in surface level-only friendships with people I would have liked to really know and be known by.
There are varying degrees of suffering but the idea that something good can come out of something bad applies to them all. From experiencing the death of a child – something I have trouble even typing – to infertility, to illness, to terrible twos, to school struggles, to you name it. Pick your suffering (big or small), there’s a way to use it for good. Don’t hide it. Don’t waste it. Don’t trumpet it with woe-is-me gusto, but share it where you can be a blessing and encouragement to someone else. Maybe, just maybe, suffering isn’t about you – something hard to swallow in the middle of those “why me?” moments. Maybe instead it’s about how it can hearten someone else.
Who can you encourage today with your story?