‘Can I help?’ A complete stranger, she saw my exhaustion. She didn’t wait for me to ask.’: Mom touched by stranger’s act of kindness, ‘She breathed life into me’

woman holding baby

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“This is what supporting a mother looks like.

A complete stranger seeing my exhaustion, picking up the children’s toys from underneath the chairs and bringing them back to me, without waiting to see me struggling, or me having to politely ask.

A completely new set of hands, bringing me water from the dispenser, without knowing how parched I was or how long I had been without eating or drinking a single thing.

A completely refreshing approach taken by someone I didn’t expect, asking if she could help me by trying to get my fussy eight-month-old baby to sleep so I could have a much needed break, or nap, or in her words, ‘Anything I needed.’

I needed her more than she will ever know that night.
And it was more than the physical help our situation screamed for.
It was about feeling seen.
Because I was more than the mother who didn’t have things under control.
I was more than the mother on the floor trying to rest her eyes with two children crawling all over her at 2.00 a.m. at the ferry terminal which was very delayed, after hours in the car beforehand and hours in the car still to come.
I was more than the mother who could only just continue to cope, not conquer.

I was a person.
A person who needed a hand.
And she saw that.

She was a stranger, but she got my baby who normally needs me and only me to help him to sleep, to do so on her own.
He stayed asleep on her for half an hour.
And I did nothing other than watch them in front of me in peace, eyes open but arms resting.

She was a stranger, but she was the silver lining that night.
She lightened the load.
She breathed life into me.
She kept me going.

And even though I now only have her name and this photo, I’ll never forget her.
She was the stranger that saw me.

You don’t have to know another mother to make her day. Offer her a hand, a smile, a comment of comfort. It can do wonders.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Emma Heaphy. You can follow their journey on InstagramFacebook, and her blog

Mom takes a photo of a stranger helping her with her children at the ferry terminal to give her a break
Courtesy of Emma Heaphy

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