If you’ve been following my blogs, then you know that before I had Cesar, I had pretty much zero experience with children or parenting. It hadn’t been part of my world and I didn’t really have a clue of what was ahead of me. All I knew about parenting, was from my own direct experience as being a child and being part of a family and being parented by my mother and father – and from what others made parenting ‘seem to be’.
While I was pregnant I did a lot of reading, some books and monthly parenting/pregnancy magazines. The world that was about to open up for me seemed so blissful! Yes, there were a lot of warning signs in terms of physical considerations in terms of what baby should eat, how much babies should sleep, what possible problems to look out for and so on. But what was missing in all the information was how I would go through a change inside MYSELF and how I would be affected with a parent-child relationship coming into the picture. Nothing warned me of the emotional, internal turmoil I would face or how to work through it (except for maybe saying ‘sometimes things will get hard and make sure you get some alone time/get a break).
So while I was once engulfed in a world where everything was roses and sunshine where having a baby was made seem this ‘heavenly experience’; when I actually got my baby and what I went through was more a perfect Hell.
It took me a while to realise that things are NOT perfect, are NOT easy, are NOT blissful as how it was made out to be. It took time to accept that things were hard, that I was going through immense emotional turmoil and that I didn’t necessarily know how to work through it / cope with the physical demanding task of taking care of a new born whilst processing the information which was running through me at a fast pace.
Yet, once I made peace that things were hard – I realised – but this is also not ‘the truth’, this is also not the ‘reality’ of the situation.
Yes, things were hard *right now* but I did not have to experience myself this way. Just because things weren’t this beautifully, glamourized picture – it didn’t mean that its opposite polarity as ‘everything is total hell’ was now the truth of the day either.
I did get stuck for quite a while in the acceptance that ‘well maybe it’s just hard – maybe that’s just ‘how things are’. Yet, even within this level of acceptance, I could sense that something was amiss, that something’s sitting quite right and that there were still different doors and directions to explore. That this ‘couldn’t be it’.
This acceptance of ‘everything is bad and that’s just the way it is’ reminded me of the Bible and how mankind was ‘born in sin’, for ever ‘in debt’, for ever carrying a burden, forever having a ‘difficult experience. It also reminded me of Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, how if you let things run their course within the ‘law of nature’, you find yourself in a perpetual state of conflict, strife, turmoil, chaos and anarchy. Even in other religions, myths, stories – this concept that our base state of being is essentially a ‘bad’ and ‘negative’ one is a theme that pops up over and over.
This base foundation/state as being ‘inherently bad’ is used as a justification time and time again, to justify structures and approaches of control, separation and domination – as our ‘bad nature’ needs to be contained ‘for our own good’. We have extensive law systems, specifying everything we can and can’t do. We have extensive education systems, as we need to ensure that everyone knows their place and is properly trained and civilised to take part in this world. Parents use domination, manipulation, strict rules and regulations to keep their children in check. People all over the world are controlled through money, where only a few hold the vast majority of money while the rest fights and scrambles for some money to call their own. Money is one if not the most regulated and controlled object in this world. People don’t just have access to money, they don’t just receive money – because OBVIOUSLY, they can’t be trusted and don’t know what is good for them. They must work for it, they must EARN it.
This concept of the big bad human is omnipresent. And therefore control is omnipresent.
And this was something I was doing while I was in this level of acceptance that ‘things are just that hard’ because I couldn’t possibly conceive something outside of this age old paradigm. Or that I even deserved to experience anything other than this constant agony.
Yet, living according to this paradigm, to constantly uphold some level of control = it’s freaking exhausting. It’s exhausting to be constantly telling your baby what to do, when to do it, when to eat, for how long to eat, what to eat, when to sleep, how long to sleep, to force them to sleep, telling them when they can have your attention, when they must leave you alone, when they must do this, do that…
So one day I had enough, and said fuck it. Fuck all those rules I have been living by and imposing on by baby. Fuck this idea that he doesn’t know what’s good for him and that I don’t know what’s good for me. Fuck that I must rely on so called experts and specialists to tell me how to do things. I am going to listen to myself and I am going to listen to my child.
Suddenly, it’s like a weight gets lifted. Your baby responds to you and you respond to your baby and you are both in sync with one another. You do things as they need to be done. Not because some rule or belief says you must do it, but simply because the moment itself reveals the direction you require to take.
This change didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t a 180 degree turn that manifested all in one moment – it’s something I am still walking. All the rules and regulations we live by and parent by, all stem from our own belief systems, of our own world views, how we perceive things, how we interpret them. They originate from our own upbringing, from our own training to become ‘someone’ in this world.
Within this I realised that my own emotions and feelings as the emotional turmoil and conflict that would ensue were key in identifying these beliefs and ideas. These ‘misconceptions’ essentially, of ‘who we really are’ and ‘how the world really works’ – which would translate into misconceptions of ‘how to parent’.
When I was agitated and frustrated to the point of nearly hitting rage – that’s when I gave up my old paradigm. The emotional turmoil inside myself wasn’t telling me that ‘yes, this world is shit and parenting sucks’; they were telling me ‘this is not the way’. As long as I kept doing what I was doing and kept holding on to self-limiting ideas and beliefs – the emotional turmoil and inner conflict would remain, accumulate and eventually burst. They were essentially red flags, big hands waving HELLLOOOOO!! What you’re doing is NOT WOORKING OOUUUTT!! Instead, I believed them to be a reflection of the reality I was in, that things ‘were hard’ that things ‘were difficult’ that ‘life is a burden’. I didn’t see and realise that I was the one making things hard for myself. And that this was what my emotions and feelings were trying to convey to me. That something had to give, something I had to change, this couldn’t go on.
Constant friction, conflict, fight – this is not the normal state of living, of being. These manifestations, both within ourselves and outside of ourselves in the form of war, poverty, competition, etc. – are only the result of our own acceptances and allowances. Of what we believe and perceive to be ‘the truth’ – without ever really checking in with ourselves and seeing whether what we believe and what is reality is a match.
When you let go of limiting beliefs, perceptions and ideas – things just flow. Everything comes together in a perfect balance, there’s harmony.
Within the next blog I will go deeper into the design of Emotional Turmoil and Inner conflict, and why it exists. In the blogs after that, I will walk through specific Emotions and Feelings, the message they are conveying to ourselves and how to respond to them so we can come back to a state of balance and harmony within ourselves, our parenting and so within our world and lives at large.
Thank you for reading