Before becoming a mother I questioned whether I really was the sort of person who could dedicate their life completely to another human being. After the difficult phase in my life that I blogged about in this post I wasn’t sure I could bring a child into the world when I wasn’t happy myself.
I needed so much of my time for my own healing, that I didn’t see how it would be possible to have the time or energy to be a parent. I did yoga every day, I meditated, and journaled for a least an hour a day, which was all a necessary part of lifting myself out of depression, and healing.
As time went on I did find happiness, and my life became more about living rather than simply healing. I became pregnant and luckily when my daughter was born I adjusted relatively easily. I’m pretty sure, all that time spent being introspective and working through feelings about my own childhood helped a lot.
When my daughter was first born, I was happy to dedicate myself completely to her, I actually enjoyed it. It was like a holiday from myself for a while and I embraced caring for another human being.
But, I also sensed that healing was an ongoing process, that I hadn’t finished healing myself, and probably never would.
When I stumbled upon Hand in Hand parenting, I realised that healing wasn’t something that I need to find masses, and masses of time for like before I had been a mother. It was something I could do in the midst of parenting.
When your child is ‘acting out’, being aggressive, whining or crying, or you are caught up in anxiety that they are going to turn out just like you, or experience all of the struggles that you did, or when you are stressed or exhausted, it’s hard to imagine that this is actually, in some ways, a gift, a possibility for healing and transformation.
In Parenting From The Inside Out Dr. Dan Siegel, explains the brain science behind what happens when we get stressed, and how implicit memories from our own childhood get triggered. When this happens, the rational, reasoning part of our brain – the pre-frontal cortex can’t function as well. When this happens we have the tendency to act on the basis of our memories – we might start behaving in similar ways to our parents and feel that we can’t control our behaviour well.
And how is this all healing? Well, you need a place to go to tell your stories, to reflect on your daily niggles and stress, to rant about your aggressive son, or your crying baby, in a safe space with a listener. (we call this listening partnerships). You can trace your feelings back to your own childhood, and how your parents treated you. You can find the safety and space to laugh about what’s hard, and cry.
This allows you to move beyond your own past, to become less reactive, and more patient with your children. Each challenging moment is the opportunity to grow, when you dedicate time to processing your own feelings, as well as helping your child. This allows you to be the parent you want to be. Parenting can be a healing path that you walk together with your children, so that life can be much brighter.
It’s hard to think of those challenging moments as a gift, but if you can remember that, and find a safe space for your own feelings, you can transform your parenting, and you life.
Listening partnerships are free exchanges you can do with other ‘Hand in Hand parenting parents. It can help to take an online course with Hand in Hand parenting to learn the basics like the Parenting by Connection Starter class or the Listening Partnerships Self-Study course.
For more information read: The Secret Weapon Every Parent Needs To Know About and How Telling Your Life Story Can Transform Your Parenting
Would you like to start a listening partnership? Join the Hand in Hand parenting facebook support group, and connect up with other Hand in Hand parents now.