I met a friend in the office loo the other day and her eyes were red and puffy.
Are you okay? I asked her.
She looked at me tearfully and said she was.
What's wrong? I asked again. Is it to do with work?
She said it wasn't and that she was all right.
I didn't pry further.
Later that day, she told me that she had been feeling stressed out earlier.
Her youngest daughter had some problems breathing that morning, but because my friend had an important meeting to attend in the office, she didn't feel she should take the day off.
Her husband took the girl to the doctor, who said she might have pneumonia. My friend was wracked with worry.
By late afternoon, though, the girl seemed more like her usual self and was running around at home. My friend was relieved to hear that, but was still concerned.
What if she has asthma, she said, I really wouldn't know what to do.
I looked at her face - and thanked my lucky stars I'm childless.
It must be tough being a mum.
I don't mean to trivialise the issue, but the closest I am to being a mother is to my dogs.
I take great satisfaction in seeing them eat, but once in a while, they go on strike and won't touch their food. I fret when this happens and will ring home to check if they've started eating yet. When they finally do, I want to cheer.
If I have such feelings for my pets, I can only imagine how mothers feel when their children are unwell.