Perspective is a strange thing. One persons really hard situation is someone else's everyday. It was never really anything I thought much about till I became a parent. Recently though its something I have thought a lot about.
I was pulling up to an audiology appointment last week and as I stopped the car I noticed a couple getting out of the car in the next parent and child space. At first I noticed them because I didn't see a child with them and was mentally tutting. Then the dad came round the car and I saw he was holding an infant carrier in his arm. The newborn inside the seat could only have been a few days old. I looked again at the parents and noticed they both looked a bit shell shocked as they walked across the car park and I had a bit of a flashback to a previous appointment of ours. Not one of Robyn's as you might expect but with Tyler.
Tyler failed his newborn hearing test in the hospital. Twice. We had to go into audiology a week later for more indepth testing. I had forgotten going to that appointment and being so worried that Tyler might be deaf in one ear. It felt like it would be the worst possible thing that could have happened to our baby, how would it change his life? How would we cope? If I had met me on that day now I would be unimpressed. Perspective now tells me that a child with deafness in one ear compared to the many complications we face now would have been a walk in the park. But almost 4 years ago it was something I couldn't comprehend at all.
I have decided to try to remember this more. Until recently other peoples perception of 'hard' bothered me a lot. People who for example count the time their child spent in NICU in number of days rather than weeks or months and talk about the feeding problems they had there. People who tell tragic tales of their child having a cold for the first time. People who talk about giving a dose of calpol like its hard drugs that will poison your child. All of these things used to bother me a lot. I tend to avoid these kinds of conversations if I can with people I don't know well as most of the time it looks like im being a competitive mum who wants attention or sympathy. And I do hate the sympathy. Mostly my point is to make people consider perspective the way that I now do.
Yes, your several days in NICU were very hard, I get that I really do. I understand wanting to talk about it. But talking about how hard it was to someone who spent almost 7 months in hospital when her baby was born isn't always the best idea. You had to tube feed, its rubbish isn't it? That month must have been really hard for you. I know that because the 13 months we spent doing it were awful. I was told once I was being irresponsible about my attitude to calpol being really great stuff. Its a side effect to my child being on IV morphine for the first month of her life. Calpol again doesn't really come close to the levels of damage the morphine and General anaesthetic could have done. Calpol is kids stuff from my point of view. Like I said these things aren't a sympathy vote tool, to me now they are just facts. I dealt with it all, but there is still a part of me that cant help but think, is that all you have to worry about sometimes. Like I said its all perspective I understand that.
Wouldn't it be nice to just take some time out every once in a while and consider a different point of view. If everyone could step out of their own problems for a little while and put others first. The world might be a much more understanding place. It might help people have more conversations that have empathy rather than sympathy or one-upmanship in them. And that can only be a good thing.