Nobody Warns You


Nobody warns you.

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Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt from Pexels

Any woman who brings a child into the world must travel through the valley of the shadow of death. The journey can be harrowing and the results are sometimes devastating, sometimes blissful. But no one dare warn the uninitiated for fear of scaring them off.

Nobody warns you.

They tell you babies are expensive: the diapers, the clothing they wear once and outgrow, the gear, and the hospital bill. What they don’t tell you is that children just get more expensive. The music lessons (and instruments!), the sports clubs (and equipment!), the braces, the casts, the camps …

Nobody warns you.

They tell you parenting a baby is isolating. They even encourage you to reach out to other parents, to go to the park, to attend Mummy and Me classes. Unfortunately they don’t tell you of the crippling isolation of parenting a teenager. They don’t warn you that you will doubt every decision you make, every word you say. They don’t warn you that your child’s personality changes from the rapid brain development and bodily growth will make you wonder if an alien has possessed your once cherubic child. If your child is exhibiting any symptoms of mental illness, behavioural disturbances, or physical difficulties your instinct may be to clam up and keep it all to yourself, furthering your feelings of isolation.

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Parenting. It’s tough at every age of the child, albeit a different challenge with every age. Our foremothers survived so too will we, right? Right? Surely survival isn’t the benchmark for success. It’s just the bare minimum. I want more than just survival for my children and myself. I want us to thrive. And to love!

However, sometimes I wonder: Will I thrive? (Will my children?) I wonder: Will I even survive? (Will my children?) Some days I think I’m treading water. Other days I remember that drowning doesn’t look like we think it does: it’s a quiet slip into oblivion.

That’s pretty dark. But I’m learning that the only way to deal with it is to talk about it. We are trying to provide our children better emotional literacy than we ourselves received. But we know that by talking about the big, overwhelming feelings we reduce their power over us. So in addition to listening to instead of lecturing at our children we also need to find trusted adults with whom we can confide so that we may also process the feelings we have about this stage. As my friend Rachel told me after a recent conversation turned informal therapy session, “Friends. When co-pays are too high.”

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Before we know it they’ll be out of the house. And less expensive. And for better or for worse, less dependent upon us. The foundations for a happy future with our children depend on our ability to weather the current storms. It’s the only way we will preserve a relationship with them. We must try. And we must never give up. We’re in this together, sister, and we can do it. But we cannot do it alone. We need each other.

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