You may be thinking - isn't this a health/wellness blog? its true, it is. But being a blog, its also a personal (as well as professional) take on all things wellness and well-being. So although this isn't a parenting blog, I wanted to share my very personal feelings of motherhood - now six weeks in. In doing so, I hope it will provide insight, inspiration, information and, if nothing else, a glimpse into the inner workings of my mind!
To begin with, I have to be honest. I never thought I'd have children. I don't know why, I just never saw it in my 'cards'. Actually I never really gave it much thought. I was of the mindset: 'if it happens, great, if not, that's ok - not meant to be'. I wasn't one of those girls who dreamed of getting married and having a family. Perhaps the reason is two-fold: first, growing up in a single parent family and being an only child - my experience of 'family' was much different and therefore my expectations were scaled accordingly. Second, my education-focused, career-oriented mindset didn't quite allow the mental space to think of much else other than 'school - work - achieve, achieve, achieve'.
Even after getting married, I wasn't sure kids were it for me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE kids and think I have a lot of love to give and wisdom to impart - but deep down I was scared.
No, not scared. Terrified.
Of this world. Of what could happen to them. Of Teenagehood. Drugs. Accidents. You name it - it scared me. Eventhough I believe I am a positive-thinking person - but to raise children, in THIS world - too much for me to handle (I thought).
But then two pivotal things happened to me that completely changed the way I looked at it. First, I was standing in line one day at the grocery store and I saw the cover of a magazine with a picture of Celine Dion (who, I can't tell a lie - I LOVE!) with her family (husband, son and twins!) and the following quote: "Having children is the greatest gift you can give yourself." I just kept reading it over and over again. What could she possibly mean? The sheer stress of child-rearing and worrying every time they stepped out of the house was grounds for me at least to say: no thank you! But that quote was literally burned into my mind that day.
I know people describe 'the joys of parenthood' but it wasn't until I read that quote that it really hit me: everything has two sides. Light and dark. Good and Bad. Joy and Pain. This whole time I had been worrying about the potential pain/stress/worry if anything were to happen to said children - but I never once gave a thought to the joy/happiness/fulfillment that children could bring. I guess I believed the potential pain far outweighed any joy I could feel.
Then one day, I was talking to a girlfriend of mine who has two beautiful girls and I said "aren't you afraid for them? This world can be so horrible - don't you fear for their safety, future and life? What if they do drugs, have sex underage and/or drop out of school?!?!" And her reply was: "Of course I'm scared. I'm terrified everday. There is so much negative in the world, but Shamira - why would you think your child will do those things? What if it's your child that changes the world?"
And those words hit me like an earthquake. It literally changed my entire viewpoint in a split second. I had never thought of it that way before (talk about having an 'AHA moment'!)
Now don't get me wrong, I would never dream of putting that kind of pressure on him - that's a big task to change the world! But just the thought that again, as bad as it could be, it could equally be great. Two sides. Anything that will bring you joy may bring pain as well. That's just life. But if we don't take a leap of faith - we'll never have the chance to experience either.
And so I write this today because I want to share with you the 180 degree turn my mind (and life!) has taken - those two small moments yielded life-changing results. And I have to tell you, Celine was right. Having a child is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Despite the fear.
I hope those of you who have children already (and are tired, stressed, worried and are hanging on by a thread!) remember. Remember the joy.
And for those readers who are contemplating having children someday, oneday but are afraid: I understand. You know exactly who you are - I'm writing this to you. But just know - we're all afraid. But we do it anyway - because the joy it brings will melt all your fears. It truly has changed my entire viewpoint on life and 'what its all about'. I have never felt so deeply and thought so clearly. I KNOW now what they mean by the joy of life is children. I absolutely feel it in my bones.
And for those of you who are in my old shoes - it is my deepest hope that you can experience this joy as well.
Wishing you joy,