Guest Post: Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder
Babies are these amazing creatures, operating on pure instinct and unaffected by social influences. We lose most of this as we grow up and become influenced by our parents, society and culture. I love watching babies and toddlers and seeing how different they are because basically they don’t give a crap what anyone thinks. These are some of my favorite things about babies (and maybe my least favorite things about being an adult?)
Babies aren’t afraid to tell people how they feel. They simply can’t hold it in. They aren’t afraid that they won’t be taken seriously. They aren’t worried about feeling vulnerable. They don’t live in a reality where feelings are met with disdain. We spend a lot of time holding our feelings in because we are taught that we might offend people, burden people or we might seem crazy. Especially as women, we are called emotional or hysterical for simply having basic human feelings. Take it from a baby, feel all the feels! There is room for all of your feelings. If you are sad, cry. If you are angry, yell. All of your feelings are valid.
Go With The Flow
Babies are not affected by time or schedules. We as adults are so obsessed with schedules that we even have a hard time getting along with our babies at first. Why don’t they sleep when we sleep? Why don’t they feed on schedule like the doctor said they would? This is a magical time where we can explore what it’s like to throw that clock and calendar out the window. What if we ate when we were hungry even if it wasn’t “dinner time”? What if we went to sleep when we felt like it even if it wasn’t “bedtime”? I remember walking to the beach with my first son, Jack, when he first started walking. He stopped at every stick and blade of grass along the way. I started to get annoyed. I looked at my watch and thought, “we should be there by now.” But then it hit me. Why does it matter how long it takes to get there? Isn’t the joy in the journey? Jack was teaching me that there was no reason to rush or be anxious about time in this moment.
Respect Your Body
Along with our difficulty expressing our true feelings and our struggle to go with the flow we lose touch with our bodies. We ignore signs of pain, we think we are weak and hate the way we look. I felt so afraid of the birthing process the first time because I had no relationship with my body outside of dressing it up to attract sexual partners. As I got to know my baby, I saw how he moved his fingers, grabbed his feet and learned to roll. I saw how he passionately felt every touch or pain that his body experienced. He and his body were one. He breathed and swallowed, his heart pumped and his body grew rapidly. His body was simply the vehicle with which he was experiencing this life. That’s what our bodies are and they should be celebrated and listened to!
Our babies love us unconditionally. They don’t care if we haven’t showered. They don’t care if we make mistakes. For me, it was the first time I experienced unconditionally loving someone else. This tiny human caused me more angst than anyone ever had before and I loved him more than I can ever explain, I know you understand. If any adult ever caused me the amount of grief my kids caused me I would cut ties immediately. I joke, but really it’s true. Unconditional love between us and our children is unlike anything we will ever experience with anyone else. I have tried to use this lesson as a way to forgive others for their mistakes and look past differences that I would have held against people before having children.
Heal the Past
Becoming a parent has shown me how my own childhood affects me as an adult. Past trauma that I thought was left behind has resurfaced as my buttons are pushed by my sweet little baby. Who knew this oblivious little being would be the most powerful mirror of my own baggage? Their chaos and our transformation into a parent creates a vulnerability in us where every bit of the past comes rushing to the present. As my children grow up I can see the parts of me in them that were not accepted when I was a child. My biggest passion and most important job is to heal from my own past so that my children can live in a healthier environment.