I've noticed some shifts in my healing journey again. I think the further along the way I am in this journey, the easier it is to take the stand of a witness/bystander instead of the victim/the target. I remember back in the days random words could feel like an arrow shot right into my heart or like a stab of a long, serrated blade, even though the speakers of those words didn't mean to hurt me at all.
The other week I had a conversation with my mom who had been getting in touch with her old school friends. She said that some of them had also lost their husbands, but she was just reacquainted with another one who was living alone (no kids). When she was mentioning the fact that she had no children, I felt that she was sorry for her.
However, instead of taking it personally (in the past this would make me feel defensive and hurt), I felt like a bystander. The words amused me and disturbed me a little. It disturbed me not because it hit a nerve in myself, but because I thought that this particular woman may not think of herself as a pitiful human being and that's what matters most. If she herself thinks that she has a pitiful life without husband and children and tells my mom about it, then it's a whole different thing. The words also amused me to a certain degree because of the possibility that my mom could be so wrong.
Another thing I've felt lately is about all those things that parents say about children/parenting/fears on child-rearing. Lately I've read some bonding messages between some mothers concerning child-rearing (not smug parenting talk but real sharing/bonding between parents), but I haven't felt what I used to feel anymore. In the past I used to be upset because those words made me feel like I was less than a human being (couldn't understand what they were going through, couldn't empathize) simply because I wasn't a mother.
These days I think that it's pretty normal/understandable for parents to say those words, because in the same way that those who're in my boat can understand my thoughts/feelings much better than those outside of my boat, isn't it normal for parents to be able to understand more layers of parenting life better than me? I've also been watching how parenting changed people and I noticed that many of them were surprised by the depth and breadth and width of their love for their children and I find it fascinating. I think from an evolutionary POV, it's beneficial for parents to be able to feel this way towards their children. Anyway, from this particular spot where I'm standing, I don't feel that they're trying to disregard my ability to empathize anymore.
P.S. However, when they say "as a parent" in a public arena, I still feel that it's way too political (I don't like politics), that it's a card that they're playing instead of creating special bonding moments between parents in a more intimate setting.