As a girl, I love pulling the “Girl Card“, and by “Girl Card”, I mean we’re allowed to have a lot of emotions. You can imagine my shock and confusion as I’ve discovered that women here do not express their feelings as freely. It is rare to see them cry, never when the doctor rips off the bandage to their open wound, barely in labor, and not when their child dies. Maybe because they are used to suffering and seeing death so the shock is less? It’s a part of life?
I knew this was cultural but the extent of it can really be seen when doing ob rounds at the hospital. In one bed is a mother (and by mother, I mean 14-20 year old girl) rejoicing over the first child of four that has lived. Next to her is a wife (and by wife, I mean she is the same age as when I started having crushes on boys) grieving over the loss of her baby. But one isn’t smiling more than the other or crying more than the other. So I say rejoicing and grieving because I hope deep down they allow themselves to do that.
On one bed we passed, the doctor told me the mother had a c-section last night for her still born baby. But under her blanket was a tiny child. When I asked the obstetrician why there was still a baby there, she told me how often, as ‘an act of comfort’, the other women whose babies lived will set their child on the no longer mother's bed for awhile. At first, I thought uuuhhh, is that comforting or cruel?
But now I’m thinking what else do these mothers have to give here?? You can’t publicly comfort someone who “isn’t grieving”. You don’t rub a stranger’s back who isn’t crying or listen to something they‘re not talking about. So instead they quietly lay down what they know to be their own source of comfort. They give all they have! And in a culture where women aren't supposed to be noticed, I think this woman was smiling bigger knowing someone had noticed her.
That’s on my Christmas wish list!! To be able to see and act on the needs of those who haven‘t broadcasted them! And then give what I got!
Also on my list:
Live on less than I need so I can give way more than I have.
One day have my own child with the same personality as Rachel Stringer.