“Empathy comes from being empathised with”

“Empathy comes from being empathised with”

One of the most important skills I’ve always wanted my children to have is empathy. Above anything else I believe it is so important to have the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, without prompting, and take notice of how they might be feeling. It’s not something everyone has the natural instinct to do, but it’s a skill I like to think is a strength of mine – it’s something I’ve always wanted to pass on to my children.

When deciding to use an egg donor, I did wonder about how strong nurture over nature can really be, something that can never be fully measured or proven for sure as there are so many individual factors at play. I’d wondered about how my child’s personality would develop and whether us not being related by genetics might mean that there are many noticeable differences. Of course this can be said for anyone having a child, no-one has a child that is a 100% clone of their own genetics and so I’m sure many differences show through – we should celebrate these too! I suppose what I wanted was comfort to know that, even though we don’t share genetics, I can still pass on my ‘legacy’ in other ways – through time spent together and nurturing as a Mother.

That’s why I was bursting with pride as I read Mila’s nursery report this week. I was incredibly happy to read about her development with numbers, letters and language but it was this quote about her social skills and empathy that had me smiling from ear to ear… “Mila takes pride in being helpful and kind to her teachers and friends. As a result, she has built lovely friendships. Mila will always consider how an action might make a friend feel and if a friend is upset, she will offer comfort and help by fetching a tissue or a game”.

It’s such a small thing, but it gave me great comfort to read and know (from an outside perspective) that the nurturing we’re providing is shaping Mila to have an awareness of others, even at the tender age of 3. Of course she may have had this ability anyway inbuilt through nature, but I truly believe that nurturing is vital when it comes to social skills such as this backed up recently when I read a quote that said “Empathy comes from being empathised with” (Dr Stanley I. Greenspan, Great Kids, 2007).

I wanted to share to show how as a recipient parent, just like any other parent, you are constantly learning about your child and realising how much of an influence you can have. It’s incredible to see three very different personalities developing before my very eyes, knowing that I’m helping to shape them into the people that they will become makes me realise more than ever what it is that defines a Mum.

Love, Becky x

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