My introduction to motherhood came with a jolt. I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong with me. I was exhausted, dragging and feeling as if I’d caught a bug. The doctor checked me out and said, “Honey you’re pregnant as Hell!” With those words everything changed. It was if both David and I immediately grew up a little. We were going to be parents.
It wasn’t just about us anymore.
Soon we would have someone to love, protect, play with, attune to, encourage, provide for, and cuddle with. Dave stood a little taller. I started nesting. We needed to prepare a place for this little treasure. There were so many wonders in the world we wanted to introduce to this little person, but we also contemplated how we could protect someone so innocent from the dark side of life.
Our “US” rallied to prepare for the wonder of the arrival.
Finally the day came and we headed to the hospital. That was before the days of ultrasound and digital imagery. Who were we going to meet? Would we have a son or a daughter? I was convinced that God would give me a little girl first. After all I’d never had a brother. How ridiculous! God is in the business of growing us. Guess what! Our firstborn was a boy. Our son would teach me so much about little boys, about men and even about my husband.
We both remember our son’s birth as a holy moment. The sacred entered the delivery room. God’s love was tangible. We witnessed a miracle. I loved that gorgeous, blue eyed, active little guy.
Three and a half years later we were back in the delivery room. When the doctor held up the baby immediately after the birth, our eyes were riveted. A voice I barely recognized as my own said, “What, no penis? Yeah!” The doctor was laughing so hard that he almost dropped our daughter. Dave choked and I couldn’t sleep for 48 hours I was so grateful and so excited. I had longed for a little girl to complete our family.
Dave was in his doctoral program to become a psychologist and I was a homemaker. Nothing would ever be the same, including our marriage.
We went from ‘me’ to ‘we’ to ‘three’ and then to ‘four’.
New growth was required at each transition point in our journey. God’s unconditional love became our anchor, our model, and our transformer. Our babies required so much of us. It became easy to set our needs aside to meet theirs.
This stage required us to be intentional for the first time in our marriage about making time for us as a couple.
Our babies could only benefit when our marriage thrived.
Today our two adult children are parents of their own. Now we both are marriage counselors. We have the privilege of working with young couples that find themselves in the throw of these same transformational challenges.
More than once, I have sat with a couple that has brought a sleeping baby into the session. As the parent’s anxiety levels increased and their voices grew louder and more irritated, the baby often would wake up crying.
This child was taking in all the emotional vibes in the room. The child’s nervous system was being affected by what he/she heard. Their security and sense of safety was being impacted. Their neural pathways were being formed.
If we, as parents, aren’t willing to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable, our baby might as well be in a war zone.
It really doesn’t matter how beautiful the baby’s room is, how many clothes are in the closet, how many siblings there are, the opportunities we provide, and the sacrifices we are willing to make. The bottom line is that if we are destructive in handling disagreements our child will be in an emotional Hell.
I’m sure that none of these parents planned to make their child’s emotional life so wounding. They just hadn’t learned how to handle their own anxiety, to speak their own truth and to be willing to wrestle with a differing perspective without being offensive.
Welcoming a baby involves an awareness of the emotional climate we are creating in our home.
Please ask yourself these crucially important questions…
- Am I willing to set aside my pride and learn skills that will enable me to disagree without being disagreeable?
- Am I willing to make our relationship big enough for two perspectives?
- Am I willing to develop in self-awareness and an ability to speak my truth in a respectful manner?
- Am I willing to be influenced by my partner’s truth?
- Am I as intentional about the emotional climate in our home as I am about the decorating of the baby’s room?
- Am I willing to become a conscious lover?
If both of you are willing to answer “yes” to all these questions, then your “US” will provide your children with a concrete example of respectful disagreement. They will experience parents who express differing perspectives and yet stay in loving connection. Your kids will be raised in an emotional environment of safety, security, respect and love and they will grow up to be people respectful of diversity.
Your willingness to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable not only benefits your own relationship, it has a profound impact on your children’s emotional wellbeing. It is even more important than the theme you choose for the nursery.
Until the next Conscious Lover’s Blog…