Things My Baby Taught Me About Me

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Dear Ameli,

I know I don’t often write you letters on random days of the month, but usually gather up all the little things I want to say to you into your monthly letter. Today is different though, because today, I don’t want to tell you about you. I want, instead, to tell you about me.

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Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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The things I have learned about me are more than I ever knew possible.

I have learned that there are some things that you can never know until you have experienced them. Holding your first born is one of them.

I have learned that there is an unused, previously unknown portion of your heart that suddenly comes alive once there is this kind of love to fill it. I never missed it before you were born, because I didn’t know that it was there.

I have learned that I actually do possess perseverance skills. Laughable as it sounds now, I was dreadfully worried that I’d become bored of being a mother. Sure, I’m only about 1/18th through the influential part of motherhood, but still: so far, so good.

I have learned that I am exceptionally capable. Things that may have seemed daunting two years ago are now common place. Like surviving on day after day of broken sleep. Of having quiet ‘me-times’ be far and few between, and yet finding new ways of achieving inner peace and quiet. Of utilising and maximising the shortest times to the greatest effect.

I have learned that my mind is inquisitive – something I have always known, yet now I have the time to explore things – like how breast milk is made, ingredients in commonly accepted child medications and so on. I have the time to discover and the intelligence to understand.

I have learned that I am fiercely passionate. Which amuses me, because the things I am passionate about are things I never knew existed just a few years ago. I don’t do anything because I think it looks good. I do it because I believe that it is.

I have learned that I am worthy. I am worthy to be loved, just as I love. I am worthy of being respected, just as I respect you. I am allowed, no, required to care for myself, so that I can care for you.

I have learned that I can look in the mirror and not despise what I see – not because it is beautiful, but because I do not want you to mimic self-loathing. I have learned that I will love myself, and accept myself as I am, so that you will do the same for yourself.

And I guess the most important thing that I have learned, that you have taught me, is that I am strong. Cliché as that may sound, there have been days when I’ve not wanted to get out of bed. Yet I get up, and I carry on, and I do the best I can on those days. Even when I feel my tank is empty. Those days I realise that I am strong.

As much as some people like jumping up and down with statements of being ‘sick to death’ of those in the “natural birth camp” or “the breastfeeding camp” or “the natural parenting camp” for making them feel inadequate, I cannot help, nor apologise, for what you have taught me. And I am proud.

That I can endure 48 hours of labour with focus and willpower to birth a child – just as a marathon runner or mountain climber feels pride – so do I. That I can go through the ups and downs of breastfeeding, pumping, nipple pain, mastitis, and still nurse you – I feel pride that I persevered. That I hold you close, keep you near, sleep by you, attach you to my heart, my head and my body, I feel pride that I can dedicate these years to you, knowing that these days will come back to me many fold.

I feel pride, because it is my achievement. It is what I have worked for. It is what I have learned from this experience of motherhood, thus far. I feel pride when I look at where I have come from and where I have been and how I have grown. And when I look at you, I know that my sense of pride is not an exaltation of myself above any other woman.

No, it is an exaltation of myself above my old self. It is the betterment of me.

And it is all because of you.

How will I ever thank you?

With all my love.

Mama

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

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