What I wish I had known before having a baby
Drop the checklist. This is it.
Forget the checklist: Burp cloth, swaddles, receiving blankets (huh?) and your birth plan. I had it all organised, down to the last cotton swab and wet wipe. But no one told me what I REALLY needed. I’m still learning everyday. This, though… if you can really work through this before getting pregnant and before giving birth, you will start the parenting marathon with muscle.
Ask yourself: What kind of relationship did you have with your mother?
If you were mothered with nurture, unconditional love and acceptance, then yes, you will be able to nurture simply because your maternal coffers are full. If you were not, then pause, feel, ask — how did she fail me? Not to blame her or hate her but simply to have a starting point for your own mothering. How she failed you is how you will fail your children… unless you are aware; unless you look within; unless you break the pattern.
When was the last time you were triggered? What angers you? What makes you have an extreme reaction?
We all get set off in ways that we don’t completely comprehend. I’ve lost my temper, lashed out and not even known why I was livid. Something he or she said set me off and I saw red. When was the last time you felt that way? These triggers are clues. They are a roadmap — they take you to the heart of your wound and tell you what you need to heal.
Your friend is late and you yell at her for keeping you waiting for 15 minutes.
Q: Why did that make you angry?
A: Because she didn’t respect me.
Q: Why did her lack of respect bother you?
A: Because people tend to take me for granted.
Q: Why do people taking you for granted bother you?
A: Because I’ve always felt that way. It happens a lot.
Q: Who did that to you? (spoiler alert: it always has something to do with your childhood and your parents)
A: Because my parents never heard me. I always had to be good and suck it up.
That is your wound. That is what needs healing. So stop, touch it and be compassionate. This is the voice of your inner child. She screamed at your friend. She was coming from a place of pain, deep in your past.
“It hurts I know. I’m here. I love you. I see you. I hear you. I’m here.”
No fixing, no solutions. Just compassion. When we start healing our inner child and use our triggers as emotional clues to go within, we will be stronger when our child triggers us. You will know that it is not your child that is ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘easy’, or ‘hard’. It is what they bring out in you that makes the situation what it is. This will build your emotional muscle.
Ask yourself: Why are you having a child?
Are you filling a hole or are you coming from a place of wholeness?
Hole: “I want to give my child everything
I never had.”
Whole: “I have so much love to give.”
Hole: “It’s what you do: Have marriage, have kids…”
Whole: “I want a child. Not to complete me but because I have space in my heart.”
Hole: “This baby will fix my marriage.”
Whole: “My marriage is strong already and I want to have a baby with this amazing partner.”
If you’re coming from a place of HOLE-ness, ask yourself what emotional void you’re filling. The only way to have a child is to be WHOLE: When you are enough and your life is brimming with self-acceptance and self-love. It is not your child’s job to fill you up. Now, begin. Look within.
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