“We have the same pram,” a bright voice forced its way through the dark, thick fog clogging my brain.
When I looked up my first thought was “pram?” and then I realised I was indeed pushing a pram complete with new baby tucked up inside finally, finally, sleeping.
“I’m really going to miss it when she grows too big for it,” she said with a nod to her own pram and toddler now parked next to mine.
“How old is your little one?” She asked, peeking inside.
“Eight weeks,” I said, trying not to flinch with the fear that she would indadvertedly wake her.
She must have caught my twitch.
“The lack of sleep is a nightmare isn’t it? How are you finding things?”
How was I finding things? I paused, knowing I was supposed to say “great, I love being a mum” but something in the way she was looking at me meant she got the unabridged version.
That day I needed someone to tell me that it was ok that I wasn’t coping and that it was fine to admit to needing help.
This woman, this stranger, did just that.
When I got home, I packed up our stuff and we went to stay with my mum and dad again until my c-section had healed enough for me to be able to get the often screaming 10lb baby and ridiculously heavy car seat in and out of our top floor flat without feeling like my insides were coming out.
I thought about that woman in the days after the encounter. It turned out that our children not only shared the same sort of pram but also the same name. And they were also about to move into a flat, albeit a ground floor one, and she had struggled with her own issues.
She took on something of a mythical quality and, as my mombie process continued, I began to think of her as a guardian angel.
Surely it was too much of a coincidence that we shared so many things? That she stopped me in the street (who does that?) and that she said exactly what I needed to hear?
Maybe I had made her up?
Maybe she was my subconscious?
I thought that for a long time… until I bumped into her several months later at playgroup where I was able to thank her for helping me. She seemed surprised that she had made such a difference. And I suppose that’s the thing; we don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives and what a difference just a little bit of kindness will make.
There have be many things written about mummy shaming and how judgmental some mothers can be about all sorts of issues, and I’m not denying that happens, but most of my own encounters have been been the opposite. And, as a result of their examples, I try and do the same. I wondered whether if we highlighted more of the positive rather than the negative it could inspire more random acts of kindness?
Has a stranger showed you particular kindness? It doesn’t have to be a mum story. Please comment and share the love.