Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
I care I really do. I care when I see those that feel lost and alone, I care about those that I see racked with pain be it physically or mentally. I care for those that are struggling each day just to be here, just to keep going. I care when I see that look of despair in their eyes, tears that are desperate to fall and shoulders heavy with the burdens carried. I care too when I see those that wear the mask of strength, that downplay the battles they have fought and the pain they sometimes still suffer.
I care because Ive been there too, Ive felt alone, lost in a sea of turmoil and anguish. I have had those eyes full of despair, held back tears and wore the mask of strength to face the world. Somedays I still do. But I also know something else, that unless we all care, unless we all work together nothing will change, nothing will get better.
I have attended many events for those that have experienced complications in pregnancy, difficult births or had a baby in NICU, I always hope that these events will mean a change for families and the care that they receive. Whenever I attend events it re-enforces two things for me. That it’s important that I care, that I can make a difference, that I try to make things better, and that while at times I get frustrated at the systems and processes, and the poor to care that leads to the suffering of others, that I am fortunate to know amazing people, that out of their pain, care too and are trying to make things better.
Sometimes I feel like I am small, and I doubt that I mean anything in the grand scheme of things. I struggle to speak up, to voice my thoughts and get easily intimidated. Sometimes even when I do try to speak I get beaten down by those stronger than me in words and position. But I care about the families I support, so I steady my trembling voice and speak up about the help I know families need, both by sharing my experience and what I see families struggling with in my job. When I am able to make others see what they previously had not, is so emotional. Knowing that out of painful experiences there can be changes that make a difference for others makes it all worthwhile.
I wont lie, attending events can be hard, very hard. Like Im sure others there, to talk about that has happened to you and how it has affected your life is hard. To be honest I still feel sick with nerves, I shake with fear and are unsure that I will find my voice. I doubt that my experience will mean anything, that it would be discounted or that I will fail to put across the things I want to say. But as I sit there with the others, bravely sharing the hard times they have also been through, I know that it is important to speak up. I care, I care that families are cared for in a way that makes the most difficult times bearable and that they get the support they need, I care that they don’t feel alone but know there are others to help them, hold their hand and support them along the way. I care too that still some families are not being cared for as they should and because of this they are being affected in unimaginable ways.
But something else strikes me too, as I sit with other wonderful people that also share their pain, that they care too and in that we are kindred spirits. I see bravery, I see that while we all put on that mask of strength, we are still behind it struggling and fighting our silent battles. Battered by difficulties, scarred by experiences that left us feeling helpless and with little control we together are holding each others hands, strengthening each other and trying to make things better. As I listen to their stories I hurt inside because we have all been there in the darkest of times, not knowing the way out or what the future will be. Yet despite that, we care, there is no other gain and I know that this is what drives us on no matter how hard it is sometimes. I also feel deep admiration for them both because as I listen to their stories I see that they despite being vulnerable, are strong too. To go through such awful things, to carry on and try to make a difference filled me with awe. We give each other the strength needed.
I also try hard to voice at work what is needed to support families at one of the most difficult of times, the loss of a child. Sometimes we can be so caught up in what’s right for everything else except those that really need to be considered. Sometimes I sit in meetings and feel like Im the only one that sees the people affected when changes are proposed. All too often in the fluffy of processes, finances, staff needs and structural needs, we can forget the very people that we are there to care for and help. It is hard to speak up to a room full of those in higher positions than, as I try to influence managers, service leads and directors and so I feel ecstatic that my views ware taken into account and change the course of the things planned. We can all play a part, we are never too small or unworthy, what matters is not who we are but the message we bear and the difference it will make to others.
So the question I want to ask is, Do you care? We all lament about the way things are in many walks of life. But if we care, truly care, we can make things better. How? By being that voice, standing tall, making changes no matter how small. We can all do something even if it’s just to smile more and brighten someones day. It is hard, especially if you feel like you’re that small voice that no one will listen too, or maybe you doubt you’re worth, maybe you know that it will mean bringing up pain that you have endured. But together we can make a difference, we can hold each others hand and give each other the strength needed. Together we can things better for those that really need it, together we can show that we care.