Every large tragedy that has befallen the world since 9/11 has hit me hard. I’m an empathetic person and the suffering of others, be it person or animal, sinks deep into my core and rests there awhile.
But becoming a parent makes it different. So very different.
Instead of seeing pain and sadness from a distance, I feel it. I see images of mothers with their babies and I have an overwhelming urge to grab my daughter and never let go. Every mention of a great need for essentials like diapers or pajamas sends me to the nearest store to scoop up another donation.
I’d like to think that feeling these things so deeply has allowed me to better understand the world and develop ways to talk about these tragedies, but in truth I think I’ve just lost my filter. Because instead of being able to separate myself from bad things, I find it sinking into me and causing a landslide of thoughts. What if that happens to me? What if my family has to endure such a thing? How could I handle surviving that?
Being a parent has changed me. I want to think it’s for the better; I care more, I get more involved. But maybe it makes things harder, too. Instead of being able to disconnect from tragedies outside of my world and focus on my own needs, I am almost consumed by thoughts of the parents and children affected.
It’s important, as parents, to be aware of our surroundings and how world events can affect our families, but I think it’s also important to safeguard our hearts. So with my husband’s prompting, I have started to put down my phone when I see posts and videos of tragedy in order to avoid the emotional fallout. I’ve begun to take time to appreciate the happy little moments more and not dwell on the what-ifs. Because being a parent is hard, especially in today’s world, and it’s necessary to ensure that we can find happiness in it.