I want to describe a mother's act for her child, who is not allowed to eat before surgery and she chooses not to eat also, so I have thought of solidarity or support, but I want to also describe sharing this experience with her child. They both feel the hunger together, the child must do so and the mother chooses to.

Mom was fasting in solidarity with her child who was NPO before the procedure.


3 Answers 3


The words "solidarity" and "support" have connotations that are somewhat too formal, I would say, but they might be used. Instead, I'd use the plain verb "to join".

(OAlD) ​  [transitive] to take part in something that somebody else is doing or to go somewhere with them
join somebody
• Do you mind if I join you?
join somebody for something
• Will you join us for lunch?
join somebody + adv./prep
• They've invited us to join them on their yacht.
• He joined her downstairs a few minutes later.
join something
• Over 200 members of staff joined the strike.
• Members of the public joined the search for the missing boy.
join somebody in doing something
• I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing Ted and Laura a very happy marriage.

  • Mom joined her child in fasting so as to give strength to him who was NPO before the procedure.
  • Thank you, I like "joined" Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 21:46
  • It depends on what tone you're going for: "solidarity" elevates the mother's suffering and makes her seem heroic and dignified, while "joined" makes it sound casual or minimal and not a noble act.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 9:49
  • @StuartF I still believe "solidarity" is not quite appropriate: the SOED says "Unity or accordance of feeling, action, etc., esp. among individuals with common interest, sympathies or aspirations, as the members of a Trade Union, social class, etc.; mutual support or cohesiveness within a group.". The mother's behaviour does not involve real unity; the idea is rather that of encouragement or leadership. Also, perhaps the success of the operation can be called a "common" interest, but the immediate interest of the mother is in seeing that her son should be able to muster (1/3)
    – LPH
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 13:56
  • @StuartF the energy to fast for as long as necessary. It is difficult to identify a truly common interest, that is, a common interrest as the definition would have it. As concerns the second part, the fact that there is no mutuality in the support, makes this part rather improper. // I do not find that the mother's behaviour could really be called heroic, noble, although "dignified" might apply, but rather, among other possible characterizations, I would favour the terms "tactful" and "sensible": (2/3)
    – LPH
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 13:57
  • @StuartF a little fasting, especially of that sort that will not be detrimental to the more fragile constitution of a child, has never hurt anyone; on the contrary, I would say, it is healthful. (3/3)
    – LPH
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 13:57

"Sympathetic" has a meaningful parallel in the sense that twins are said to have "sympathetic pain," (one quite literally experiences the suffering of the other) in that the Mother is undertaking the same trevail in an effort to comfort her child. It may need some additional syntax to make it work but it makes for a powerful image.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 15, 2022 at 19:20

I would suggest co-suffering but you could also combin it with love:

Mom was fasting in co-suffering (love) with her child who was NPO before the procedure.

You will find co-sufferer in dictionaries with the meaning:

One who suffers with another. (FreeDict)

This is in fact also the etymological meaning of compassion (suffering with another), but this word is more used to describe a feeling, or state, not taking action, like co-suffering does.

  • co-sufferer is popular religious jargon. It's not a "mainstream" word.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 8 at 14:28

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