Since becoming pregnant, starting this blog AND as yesterday was ‘Mean Girls Day’ (I’m late!!) – I’ve been reflecting on sisterhood. It’s a buzzword for some people (I used to be one of those people…) but it can be a buzz with a sting!
Sisterhood is defined as: ‘An association, society, or community of women linked by a common interest, religion, or trade’. I see it more simply, as having each others back and being kind to each other. It sounds simple enough right? Then why is it such a struggle for so many females?
Before having a really difficult pregnancy, I was much more selfish, less sensitive and much harder on my fellow females. I’ve been lucky enough to have 2-3 really, really special female friends at all stages in my life. However I always felt more contention than comfort from large groups of girls. To me, men have always been more straightforward, less bitchy and more relaxed – So I’ve felt more comfortable in male company. I am 100% guilty of having said things to and about other females that I REALLY (!!!!) regret. On reflection it was largely (consciously or subconsciously) because I was jealous, felt threatened or wanted to agree with someone else who was saying it. So in fairness, I probably haven’t always give out the ‘sisterhood’ vibe that I wanted to get back. #LessonsLearned
Having been unwell (and over sensitive) for the past nine months, I’ve really strongly felt the impact of other women. On one hand I’ve been really shocked and hurt by some of the attitudes and comments. The general lack of sympathy around having a pregnancy related illness and the snubs when discussing having a hard time have been surprising. Comments included:
- “You should be grateful you’re so ill – wouldn’t it be worse if you couldn’t have a child!”
- “What do you mean you’re not enjoying it (being pregnant) – Don’t be silly / what’s wrong with you? – It’s the most natural thing in the world”
- “You’re not STILL off work?”
- “You have such potential – You’ve really made the wrong choice having a baby”
- “I was more able than you – I never had one sick day, I just got on with it”
- “So good that you can take sick days isn’t it – You must be loving it”
- “What do you do all day?”
Some of these haven’t been said with malice – just lack of thought. Other comments (even around writing a blog) have been much more direct:
- “So cringe it’s embarrassing”
- “Shouldn’t have got pregnant then should you – too late now”
- “You’re just not cut out for it (motherhood / pregnancy)”
Etc. Etc. Etc….. These comments have come from a spectrum of females, some with children, some without. Exceptionally senior professional women, female friends, acquaintances, family members, sales assistants in shops, colleagues. Women I speak to daily and women who don’t know me at all.
More importantly, the kindness and support of some of the ladies around me has meant more than they will ever know. Surprise bunches of flowers, texts when I wasn’t able to respond, understanding when I couldn’t meet up for weeks on end or had to cancel last minute – The list goes on. I’ve also had some really lovely feedback on blogging from very unexpected sources.
The positivity and understanding from the ‘ladies I like to learn from’, has helped me deal with the more challenging attitudes and has totally changed my outlook. YES, bitchy comments do still hurt (what are people gaining from being horrible about someone else?) but I can think about them differently now. The women who have helped and encouraged me, (and will hopefully influence the sprog – if it ever arrives!) have made me stronger and an all round better person. I am so grateful to have these influential females in my life and they inspire me daily.
Although it’s been a long and difficult nine months, I have genuinely learned so much, grown as a person and will certainly act differently in future. Through setting an example, a number of amazing women have encouraged me to believe in and actively promote #sisterhood.