Even little babies have big feelings! And parenting a newborn, or being pregnant or in an adoption process, is bound to bring up your big feelings.
This week I'm going to write about parenting with loving presence at different ages and stages.
Being a conscious parent at the very beginning simply means being aware of your feelings, thoughts, and sensations as you care for your baby or move though your pregnancy or adoption, and witnessing them. How do you feel as you get ready for this baby? How do you feel as things come up with the baby, maybe as you're changing a dirty diaper, walking the baby when you're tired, wondering about a rash, comforting them when they cry? How do you feel about yourself and your partner (or lack of a partner) and community? Can you feel your fears and happiness, frustrations and sadness? Is there a story in your head about what should be happening for them, within you, in your family?
This awareness helps you to take care of your feelings and thoughts without reacting to them or impulsively acting on them.
Parenting consciously also means being present for your baby's feelings just as they are without trying to fix them. Of course we want our babies to be comfortable and happy, but they will also sometimes be uncomfortable and sad. Our job is not to fix their feelings, but to love them while they have feelings. When your baby is sad or scared, you can be present with them, holding and loving them, accepting that feeling. When they want to nurse and you can't pick them up quickly (which will happen at some point), be present with their anger or sadness. When they are sick or hurt, you will naturally do all you can do to help them, but also practice acceptance of this difficult part of the human condition, discomfort. Learn to be calm and loving even in the face of their emotions.
And when you find yourself worried or frantic to help or fix things, angry or sad, notice those feelings, care for them, and allow them to pass like clouds in the sky.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.