Can We Talk About Ignorance?

You know… over the past few years, I’ve really learned a lot! And I mean a LOT! Between our whole journey through infertility and adoption, going to school for counseling, and becoming a mom of a beautiful little girl – there has been a lot of new information for me to absorb. And these new insights made me keenly aware of how ignorant I was and probably still continue to be. And this has caused a lot of thought about that word… ignorance… because it seems to me that a lot of people resist the term being applied to them… but why???

Before anyone gets bent out of shape – let me break the ice… I’ve been ignorant. I am ignorant. And I probably will be ignorant in the future.

Ignorance Quote

Look… I can admit I’ve had a pretty privileged life. I’m a white woman who grew up in a middle class family, attended private school, and had a lot of opportunities available to me. Those are circumstances I was lucky enough to be born into – I didn’t do anything to earn those things… that’s my privilege for sure! But that privilege also comes with a certain amount of ignorance… because to an extent I was isolated. There wasn’t a ton of diversity in my classes growing up, most of the kids I knew looked like me – white, middle class, Catholic. So my experience with people who were different from me was pretty minimal. I have always been a pretty empathic and open-minded person, but my knowledge and understanding of experiences outside of my own were pretty minimal too. … I was ignorant…

Cut to our infertility journey…. We are the first people in both of our families to struggle with infertility. We had zero real knowledge or experience with it. We were unaware of the different treatments and procedures available. We were unaware of the complete lack of insurance coverage for it. We were unaware that there is very little research or help for male factory infertility. We were unaware of just how costly – financially and emotionally – it was. …We were ignorant…

And then began our adoption journey. Yet again – we were the first in our families to pursue this path. We had no idea how many different types of adoption there are. We were oblivious to all the work that was required to even get approved (background checks, stacks and stacks of paperwork, home visits, classes, fees, etc). We had no idea how costly it would be financially or emotionally. We were unaware that there were scams designed to prey on hopeful adoptive parents. We didn’t know what the average birthmom was like – that she’s usually younger with previous children. We had no idea the degree of uncertainty there was about ever getting matched or getting to go home with a child you believed would be yours. …we were ignorant…

And now I have a beautiful little girl with gorgeously rich skin and the cutest, tightest curls I’ve ever seen. Naturally, my momma heart wants to do everything I can to take care of her. I’ve been absorbing everything I can about how to take care of her hair, skin, and nails. And there is so much to know! Guys – it’s an art what these amazing black ladies do with their hair… seriously – I had no idea! … I was ignorant… But there’s also so much I worry that she’ll need to know that I simply don’t know because of the life I’ve had… the circumstances I was born into… because of my ignorance…

Am I less ignorant now than I was a few years ago? I don’t know… because once you realize that you’ve been ignorant about something, you become keenly aware that there is so much more for you to be ignorant about…

Ignorance Quote

So that takes me back to my original question… why do we fight being described as ignorant? It just means you don’t know something. And there are SO many things I don’t know… so many… And you know what? I could live for 1,000 years and still be ignorant about things… becauase there is just too much out there for us to not be ignorant about some things. But here’s the thing – I’m open to learning… Oh man, am I eager to learn! I want to understand. I want to be aware. I want to be compassionate to others’ experiences and stories. Because I genuinely believe that being open to others’ stories, being willing to learn and change and shift my perspective – that’s what will help me be a better person. My admission of my ignorance and my desire to change it is one of my weapons for change… What’s yours?

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