Parenting as a Spiritual Path
I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about the many ways that having my three children has been very healing and life-changing for me. Natural and Attachment Parenting were monumental in changing my worldview about the way that I relate to my children and opened me up to the ways they can teach me. AP can be seen as a qualifier, a way for one parent to identify what another does, a comparison tool. To me it's much more than that... Natural parenting quite literally changed my life. I had close friends who practiced it and showed me what to do, how to nurse, how to babywear, and gave me the validation I needed to follow my baby's cues and respond to her needs. What I didn't know is that responding to my baby when she needed me and growing our relationship would heal the things that had been missing for me. Holding my little girl as she cried brought me back to my own babyhood and childhood and patched any holes that had been there- for me. When I had my son, we practiced the same things. He was an easygoing, happy baby until he was six months old. Then he was sick all the time. I knew, because I had been following his cues, that something was very wrong, but I didn't know what it was. Natural parenting was the key that unlocked many answers for us and finally led us to a diagnosis of SPD. We explored all of our options, treatments, and diets, following his lead to find out which ones worked. By the time I had my third child I was immersed in my job as a breastfeeding counselor, when I discovered Conscious Parenting. It is mindfulness and consciousness tied into positive discipline and balanced parenting. One of the tenets of Attachment Parenting is that what baby needs is a happy, rested mother. It's not her job to give until she drops, it's her responsibility to take care of herself so that her children have a happy mom. As my consciousness grew, it became clear that my children had come to teach me, and each one had chosen me for a specific reason. My third child is a much older soul than I am, and has wisdom far beyond his years. His heart is big enough to fill a room! As I expanded into new paths and practices, learned Healing Touch and Reiki, and went off the beaten path, my third baby led the way. He seemed to understand, in the simple and easy way that children do, that I was going through another monumental change and loved me through it. He would tell me he loved me when I was down, and give me hugs just because. Whatever struggles I had with his limited diet, his texture issues, his Aspie traits, and his inflexible will, paled in comparison to the simple acceptance he gave me. What I'm trying to say (and I'm not sure there are words to describe it) is that our children are an amazing spiritual gift. They are our biggest responsibility and our greatest teachers. They are parts of us but are their own people, who come through us but not from us. If they are gifted with a label, I often find that they are teaching us, not the other way around. If you look at our family you might see two Empaths, two people with ADHD, and one with Aspergers Syndrome. ...Or you might see a family full of people with spiritual gifts that are just being discovered. It depends on which way you look.