It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.
When my daughter was born one week before my twenty-ninth birthday, I thought I was prepared for motherhood. I’d been a youth group leader and camp counselor since I was fourteen. For years, I taught kindergarten in Saturday school. Since becoming pregnant, I’d doggedly perused the 649 shelf in the library, hauling home and reading dozens of parenting books. I knew what to expect during my baby’s first year.
Scratch that. I was familiar with timelines for normal development. I had read about infant behaviors. I had developed a how-to-parent-a-newborn plan. And I was wholly unprepared to be a mother. I had expectations, for my child and myself. I thought having an agenda was a good thing.
Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhood.
Within a few days of being home with my much-wanted, instantly-loved child, I yelled at her. She had been screaming for hours. I had changed her, nursed her, rocked her, left her in the crib for a bit, sung to her. In my ignorance, I never considered that she might be in physical or emotional pain, that there could be a reason for her distress. I was failing — so soon! — at being the kind of mother I had prepared to be, the kind I was supposed to be.
Immediately after I yelled, I lay on the bed beside her, and joined her in despondent weeping.
Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.
Almost two decades have passed. I think I have forgiven myself for that horrible lapse of self-control, the abhorrent dearth of understanding, but I continue to regret it. My children are my greatest teachers, and I continue to remember the profound lesson: I have much to learn. Always.
This post was inspired by Forgiveness Prompts For #1000Speak January Link-up. #1000Speak is a group of bloggers from all over the world are coming together to talk about compassion on the 20th of each month. The above is my first contribution.
I write about my parenting journey, and the journeys of other mothers, in Swan Mothers: Discovering Our True Selves by Parenting Uniquely Magnificent Children.
I didn’t get the memo…
The one that said
There is an us
The one that said
Different Is bad
I am Terribly out of step,
But I didn’t know
That it’s not about
How we play the game,
Is all That Matters.
And winners […]
Every Generous Moment Heals the Heart No matter who is doing the healing, whether it is a master Reiki master, a Greek angel, or a two-year-old baby, the essence that heals is the same. The healing force is love, offered from the highest intention, and founded on the truth that under it all, as […]
Even with clear awareness that life is about the journey, not a destination, I want to get where I’ve been going, be who I’ve been becoming, if only for a few days, revel in achievement.
The greater grief
first we have our childhood wounds to heal,
then far more harrowing, our grief
for the wounds our children have to bear
wounds inflicted by our action or neglect
or by giving them what we wanted for ourselves
when they needed something altogether
I adore everything Elizabeth writes. Check out her novels and poetry books Elizabeth Cunningham author.
“When autism can be recognized and identified early, the parents have a golden opportunity to begin working to understand the child they actually have.”
Exactly! We can learn how to parent the children we have and love.
We were discussing early diagnosis/identification and early intervention/therapy over on the Facebook forum for this blog and a reader, Megen Porter, made a deeply insightful comment: “It’s almost like early identification is important so you can intervene on yourself as a parent.”
What a brilliant way to put it, Megen! Thank you!
The standard meaning of the phrase early intervention is to jump in with hours and hours of therapy to try to get an Autistic child to be “indistinguishable from peers” as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. This means extinguishing Autistic behaviors, even absolutely harmless ones that are beneficial to the Autistic person but embarrassing or off-putting to onlookers, the classic example of which is hand flapping.
But Megen put a lovely spin on things by pointing out that it is the parents who need the early intervention. When autism can be recognized and identified early, the parents…
View original post 1,252 more words
Wednesday Woman Writer
Weeping Wednesday Whiner
Wondering Why I Write
I published a book in 2012. Self-. Because four carefully-selected publishers rejections were enough. Because I knew (I’d seen it in my meditations) that thousands of mothers needed to read our stories. I could not delay. Or so I believed while the gremlins laughed.
Swan Mothers was all about me, of course. It was also all about us. “Discovering Our True Selves” was the subtitle. I knew with every word I wrote that I was writing for my tribe: mothers awakened by autism, women enlightened through parenting, evolving humans transforming themselves and the world.
Almost four years later, I wonder again/still: why did I write at all? Why did I bare my heart, expose my family, reveal my fears and tears, my illusions, dreams, and delusions, for all to see?
My community knows, or can know. My friends see, or can see. I’ve left the door unlocked, and for $2.99, strangers can come and tour my soul.
It’s out there. In print and on the internetwebs. Impossible to recall.
I question why I published, why I let that story, so personal, so revealing, out into the world. It has not reached the millions I knew it would. It has not transformed the world.
And yet, I don’t regret the writing. My writing coach and time in circle opened me, recalled for and to me what I’d hidden: I am a writer. As the sea churns, dark and murky, as my heart breaks for the failed book, I am, miraculously, magically, mysteriously inspired to write again.
You may also be interested in the post I wrote on the one year anniversary of the publication of Swan Mothers: