World Childless Week 2019
Comments That Hurt - “As a parent I have empathy”
The comment “as a parent I have empathy” has become increasingly popular in politics and social media. We can explore why this comment is hurtful and how we have empathy regardless of not having children.
Read on to find out about our free webinar and words from our community on Comments That Hurt.
Transforming Comments That Hurt with Jackie and Bill Hollis
In this webinar, Jackie Shannon Hollis, author of This Particular Happiness, A Childless Love Story and her husband Bill Hollis will address comments that hurt with host, World Childless Week champion and author, Kate Kauffman.
They will share their story and the some of the hurtful comments they have encountered and dealt with from each other, strangers, family and friends. They will explore how we can respond with strength and curiosity and exercise our own empathy.
An insensitive comment is a knife thrown down with which we can hurt ourselves. How do we learn to leave that knife on the ground, and instead, transform hurtful comments into opportunities for conversation and connection?
There will also be the opportunity, after their presentation, to anonymously ask questions about comments that hurt and any of the points they have raised.
To register for this webinar click here
Your responses to Comments That Hurt
Sometimes, I still wonder what I would have been like had I become a mother. I was so desperate for that fixed identity, so hungry to prove that I’d be a good mother myself after some very poor role-modelling, that I have a hunch that I would have thrown myself at it with unthinking gusto: put my children’s photo as my profile pic on Facebook; referred to myself as “little so-and-so’s mum”; over-shared on social media and at social gatherings; sent in reams of cheeky photographs as hopeful modelling submissions to the Mini Boden catalogue. One of those mothers.
Equating parenthood and empathy makes for a good sound bite, which is why politicians and other public figures return to it so often. It is vaguely comforting fluff that they (the Speaker from here on) think makes them sound like a better, and more trustworthy person. But there are just so many things wrong with that six-word phrase. Let’s start with empathy itself.
I often wonder why some people with children feel the need to state “as a parent…” before everything they say? It does not increase their importance or add gravitas to their message. I still hear what they have to say but their opinions are no more or no less than anyone else.
How do you respond when someone makes an thoughtless assumption about you being childless and says it to your face? How do you respond when all you have ever wanted to be was a mother but that experience has been impossible for you? When you’ve tried everything under the sun to achieve your dream and yet it still eludes you?
Sometimes comments hurt. Sometimes comments are stupid. And sometimes, road signs are stupid.
My loving is fierce and gentle and compassionate…
It hurt when a woman at a fertility clinic trying for her second child said, “If you want a baby enough it will happen.”
Empathy is a shared experience between two humans and everyone on the planet has the same right to express themselves.
I’ve come a long way since I became a woman without children. The path from mother-in-waiting to where I am today has taken me through more twists and turns than the most spine-chilling rollercoaster.
Any time a woman says “as a mother…”, what they’re really pointing out is that they have this special quality that exists because they are a mother. In reality, many human qualities are not unique to mothers at all. In fact, those qualities are found across humankind.