Sitting Down in Support


supportAre you sitting down? Good. Because you’ll really like this story (and the act of sitting is a symbolic one).

When we arrived for dinner yesterday with our friends, the hostess had a news clipping waiting for me. She said, “You won’t believe this. Remember that story you’ve told about Mother’s Day mass? Well, read this Dear Abby column.”

Dear Abby heard from a “proud husband and father in the Midwest,” who was upset with this wife because at their church Mother’s Day service she:

“…refused to stand and be recognized by our community. She says she won’t do it because there are women    in our church who are not standing, and some of them might not be able to be mothers and may be hurt at the recognition that others are receiving.”

He felt that since infertile women live with their great loss every day he doubted that the church’s annual recognition of mothers would add more pain than “those women” already endure. [I could feel the anger rising from my toes…what planet is this guy from and how do I send him back there??]

He then asked for Abby’s support on his position. Abby, bless her soul, replied:

“No, I do not agree. Your wife is a woman with unusual sensitivity and empathy for the feelings of others. I respect her stance on remaining seated, and so should you.”

So, just when I think there’s no hope for getting the fertile community to appreciate the magnitude of our pain, this gentle soul in the Midwest demonstrates a simple, but profound act of defiance in support of her sisters.  I wish I knew where she lived so I could send her a bouquet of flowers.  The world needs more sensitive souls like her.

See also  What To Do or Say?

She’s given me reason to start a new category: An Act of Kindness. From today forward, I’m going to be on the look out for examples to share of those whose simple gestures demonstrate empathy and sensitivity toward the infertile community.


17 Responses

  1. Rebecca

    May 14, 2007 3:15 pm

    A friend of mine paid tribute yesterday like this:

    and also to those of you who may not be mother’s in the biological sense, but who care and support those of us who sometimes need the love of a mother and lack that in our own lives. much love to all of you.

    She knows about our infertility struggles so that she did that meant a lot, even though here in Britain it wasn’t Mother’s Day yesterday 🙂

  2. DD

    May 14, 2007 3:26 pm

    That woman’s act makes me regret not going to Mother’s Day Mass, because had I known, I would have done the same. Instead I chose not to go b/c I didn’t want to be “recognized”. Knowing this, I will honor her thoughts next year and remain seated. I will also pass on the thought to my husband who will be able to relate to the men in our community.

    Thank you for sharing that.

  3. Ellen K.

    May 14, 2007 6:18 pm

    I also saw that column and was glad that Abby had sided with the man’s wife. I wish, though, that Abby had gone a step farther and advised church leaders to please be more sensitive in their approach to Mother’s Day… not only for those who cannot have children, but for those who are estranged or grieving. The Christian book “Hannah’s Hope” and the website both have great tips for anyone interested in writing to a church leader.

  4. JJ

    May 14, 2007 8:18 pm

    How awesome…there is HOPE! Three cheers for that woman! Hope her husband learns a valuable lesson!

  5. lady macleod

    May 14, 2007 9:12 pm

    Huzzah! for her.

    Great idea on your part to include Act of Kindness. The more compassion we put out into the universe, the more there will be for us all.

  6. Bumble

    May 15, 2007 3:32 am

    What a wonderful thing she did. It just goes to show, sometimes we think we’re all alone but we’re not. Not all the time. x

  7. Bea

    May 15, 2007 4:46 am

    Fantastic story, lovely gesture, perfect reply. The little things really do matter a lot.


  8. Louise

    May 16, 2007 2:17 pm

    I watched a replay of our Mother’s Day sermon the other day, and the pastor did recognize those who had lost their moms, moms who had lost children, women who couldn’t have children, moms who were ill…the list kinda went on, leading me to think that there must be a broken heart on every pew on MDay.

  9. pluto

    June 3, 2007 7:32 am

    Abby’s right, unfortunately, that the woman possesses “rare sensitivity and empathy”. After some time reading your and KarenO’s blogs I see her action as simple common sense, but before that it wouldn’t have occurred to me how creepy the occasion was and how it deserves to be spurned by people.

  10. Polly

    October 7, 2008 8:31 pm

    I started an infertility support group at my church. According to the pastor there were 2 other ladies interested in being leadership as well. One lady was a counselor who has experienced her own infertility (both current and past) and when I showed up for our first meeting I met the other lady … she was 7 months pregnant and I thought that it was just my luck that I’d be waiting with a pregnant woman prior to having my first infertility support planning meeting. When the pastor arrived I learned that she is the other woman interested in helping out, she never had her own issues but her heart just broke for us ladies who have. Now she prepares meals for us in our support groups – her daughter is 3 months old and she’s been doing this since before she was born. It feels so nice to be acknowledged and loved on by a fertile.

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