This blog is part of a series. For part 2 click here.
Before I birthed my baby girl, I thought I knew a thing or two about being a parent. I mean, c’mon, I’d spent over ten years in education, and been a full-time classroom teacher for nine of those years. I also have a Masters in Education and a Minor in Psychology.
All that means that I know about kids and parenting, right? I’ve also read a lot of books.
Having a baby taught me first and foremost that unless you’ve actually experienced something, you don’t really know anything about it. You can claim to know, or think you know, but you don’t. Not really.
May this be a reminder for all of us to forgive and be humble, for the saying that you can’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins is true.
Along with my righteous knowledge of parenting came a slew of judgments. There were many a times that I looked at parents and thought, how can they do that? Don’t they know? This is the right way, or the better way, or the best way.
Even while I was pregnant, and reading too many articles and books, I’d think, well, I’ll never do that, or, how could they!?
Pretty quickly after my crossing of the threshold into parenting I realized something. Being a parent is hard. It takes all your energy and time. It changes your life, your world, your body, your energy, in unimaginable ways.
Suddenly, I knew the truth. Every mom is the perfect mom for that babe. And every experience is unique unto every family- for only they know their journey. Only they have had their pregnancy experience, their birth story, and their initiation into parenthood.
Unless you’ve been a parent yourself, you can’t know. I don’t care how many books you’ve read, or what degrees you’ve earned, or how much you’ve studied, or how many people you know with kids.
Until you, yourself, have walked that road, you can’t know. No way, no how. Not possible. Thinking you know and knowing are two very different things. That’s how it is with being psychic too, when you know, you know. It’s called certainty.
I’ll not judge parents again. We each do what we can, with what we have, where we are. We each have our own journeys, experiences, needs and energy. We have to do what we have to do, and no one else can really know about that.
I use to think, oh, you have to breast feed. Well, you know what? Some moms can’t. Some babies won’t.
Oh, you have to stay in, protect your babe, incubate with your family in the beginning. Well, you know what? Each mom is different and sometimes they need help, or support, or have to get out, for that’s what they need.
Birthing and being a mom has been a humbling experience. It’s shown me that to judge another is never fair. For, we don’t know. It has shown me that each person is unique and individual and life can be full of challenges unseen, so we must give people the benefit of the doubt.
We must humble ourselves to the truth that life is full of challenges, and we each must do what we have to do and it’s never fair to judge, for we don’t know, we can’t know, the trials we endure in the midst of sleepless, dark nights, alone, in service of humanity, as we raise a child, a gift to the world. This endeavor is better commended than condemned.
What we must do is love. Love one another. Always. Unconditionally. We have to forgive and to remember that we’re all doing the best we can, and you would do it too, if you were me, and had lived my life and walked my road.
I think Eckhart Tolle said it best:
“If her past were your past, her pain your pain, her level of consciousness your level of consciousness, you would think and act exactly as she does. With this realization comes forgiveness, compassion and peace.”
We’re champions, we are. Truly. We endure heartache. And break. And we get blown open, and to pieces, and we feel and we fall and we hurt and we endure. And in the end, we only ever want someone to look at us and say, I love you. You’re okay. You’re doing great, and thank you.
It’s so simple, really. Loving, that is. It’s an extension. A gesture. A smile. A thank you. And together, we heal each other, and thus the world.