Empathy

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama

When I was pregnant with Fynn, a lot of scary things went through my head – things that could be wrong with him. I think every pregnant woman does this from time to time. I decided that the worst thing that could be wrong with Fynn would be a complete lack of empathy. Of all the things that could be “missing,” what if he was missing a conscience? It’s actually a pretty terrifying thought. People who don’t care about others can do horrible things. Instead of a human, you’ve created some kind of monster. (Now don’t forward this on to pregnant women. It might give them nightmares.)

After Fynn was born, I actually looked for signs of empathy, signs that he had a conscience. It became pretty clear early on that Fynn not only cared about others, but he had a highly developed empathy gene. It wasn’t just me who noticed. When he was in daycare, teachers from the other rooms would come to Fynn’s and give him a hug so he would pat their backs. When the other children would cry, Fynn would put his hand on their shoulder and tell them, “Okay, okay.” There was one time when a boy pushed a chair off the table, and the teacher disciplined him and told him to put the chair back. The child threw a tantrum and cried. Fynn walked over, put the chair back, and told the teacher and the child, “Okay now,” and then patted the little boy on the back. The teachers said it was remarkable for a 2-year-old – he had so much empathy.

Even at the playground, Fynn is very concerned when other children fall or get hurt. He always asks children if they are okay or tells them that they should be careful. He’s quick to point out when a child is sad or upset. He makes sure to tell their parents (who are very polite, even when I apologize for Fynn “helping” them when he’s out of ear shot).

The two weeks after our ultrasound were probably the worst two weeks of the pregnancy. We had told people Mia’s gender and we had told some of our friends and family about the potential diagnosis, but I was having a really hard time understanding it and I was very afraid and sad. I tried not to let my little guy see me upset, but it’s hard when you’re in the house all day long.

One morning when I couldn’t hold in the tears anymore, I rushed to the bathroom and sat on the floor and cried. Fynn was watching a T.V. show so I thought I was safe, but then I heard his little feet walking toward the bathroom. He peaked in and said, “Mommy okay?” I said, “Yeah, Fynn, Mommy’s fine.” He said, “Mommy sad?” I said, “A little.” He came all the way in the bathroom, stood next to me, and rubbed my back. “Okay, Mommy,” he said.

Sometimes, I think about the “master plan.” I like to believe I’m part of some plan of God’s that I don’t really know yet.

Maybe there is a reason we had a little boy with an extra empathy gene before we had a little girl with an extra 21st chromosome.