Before it all happened I thought I was fairly empathetic, often I was able to put myself in the shoes of others, able to feel for them and understand their pain. There were limits though, I didn’t get grief, I thought people should move on and get on. Immaturity? Inexperience? Ignorance? Probably all three.
If any good has come out of our tragedy and my trauma it has to be that I now totally and unwillingly understand grief and all the baggage it comes with. Coping with two losses has put me in good stead to understand, to help, or just to be there. Going through trauma has helped me to understand what other trauma must be like. I sort of know what to say and do know and I feel like I’ve grown and developed a side of me that before I didn’t think needed development.
There are limits though, my empathy for certain situations is limited by my grief. I am unable to empathise with the baby loss mother who is still broken yet has a rainbow baby to hold and love. I don’t understand their sadness and my grief and jelousy is holding me back. Nor can I emphasise with the mother who had a traumatic birth yet has a baby to hold as a result. Both situations make me think ‘oh just get over it and cuddle your baby’. I know it’s wrong and I’m working on it.
Does it make me sad that I’m not able to be there for these people? Yes. Am I a bad person? No. Just like all of the people who have not been able to emphasise with my situation aren’t bad, I am not bad either. These people frustrate the hell out of me but I don’t hate them. One day they may be able to have empathy for me, or perhaps they won’t and I’ve learnt to accept that either way it’s OK.