Yikes, I only popped out for a few supplies.
What I didn’t anticipate was a vivid flashback followed by a gulp as I tried to stop my eyes flooding with tears. Whoosh, just like that, I‘d been overcome with emotion; both from memories and the realisation of how far I’d come since my struggles of becoming a Mum.
It was just a normal day; the children were at school, I was busy balancing the usual business and home commitments as I strode purposefully through the supermarket car park; but my mental balancing act didn’t stop me from smiling politely at the few people I passed. An elderly man getting into his car in a disabled space happened to be my first ‘success’ – he looked tired and drawn but the smile he reciprocated with was an absolute corker! In fact, when he smiled back, his whole face visibly lit up. “Yay!” I had made a little difference in his day. Then a thought occurred to me; I could not have done that 10 years ago.
Back then I was in a different and far more vulnerable place mentally. A new Mum, lucky enough to have brought a healthy baby into the world – I should have been on cloud nine, hopping and skipping whilst beaming with delight. But I wasn’t. I was far from cloud nine. I certainly wouldn’t have had the confidence to beam at people in public, and sadly I didn’t have loads of smiles or energy within me either. Yes, I really struggled when I had my baby.
All I wished for back then was for others to give me a reassuring smile or talk to me, ask me if I was OK maybe. I felt invisible, my identity having vanished.
I’d sit in coffee shops with my baby (on the rare days I’d summoned energy and confidence to go out), surrounded by people in pairs or in groups, all being social and having fun. I felt so very alone.
Why don’t people seem to notice that person on their own, why do they not interact?
In reality they are busy, distracted or caught up in their own world – all completely normal and understandable. I fully appreciate that some mums with young babies might not want any interaction, so maybe people feel it’s more respectful to leave them alone.
I get it, I get it all, but I am just so glad that having been through all I have, I now have the foresight and confidence to do my best to connect with others in any way I can, to bring a little light and sparkle to their day.
Whether through a friendly smile to a stranger, an offer of help, holding a door open, or simply a cheery good morning.
Doing these very simple things fills my heart with warmth and really does make me feel like I’m sharing a little light.
I fully appreciate you might read this and roll your eyes thinking I’m a bit bonkers, but I can honestly say that these little things bring me pure joy, and I wonder if you might think about trying something similar today too.