I often would nod my head in agreement stating that of course it does. However, I didn’t quite realize to what degree.
The world looks different, the sky looks different, people look different – everything looks different.
Even relationships that you had before you had this child look different.
I would always hear people say that their child was the most important thing to them. I now understand why.
The thought of her in pain causes me to cry. The thought of someone hurting her causes me to feel enraged. It makes me want to be a better person and to surround myself with better people as well.
Children learn by what they see. I get this now. I see it in myself, my siblings and my friends, it’s not always pretty.
I don’t want that for her.
A close friend of mine seems to live on a social media website. It’s not that that bothers me. It’s that sometimes it feels that she uses it to raise her self worth.
There are often many things she mentions, from drinking expensive bottles of wine, to trips being taken, to expensive restaurants being eaten at. It’s pretty much every comment she makes.
Looking back, I feel like I used to be that person too. I wanted people to be jealous of me because it raised me up.
It’s not that I don’t understand why because I do. When you come from dysfunction you want to prove to everyone that you are something and someone.
That used to be me.
I used to want to be something and someone. A funny thing happened on my journey of life. The day my daughter was born, I realized, “Wow. She’s really something. She’s really someone who will make a major impact on this world”.
I didn’t mean her major impact would be curing cancer or being the next top model. She’s made a major impact on me.
She’s made a major impact on her father, her grandparents, cousins, etc. and she’s not even 1 year old yet.
Who am I? I am someone. I am loved by a lot of people.
If I were to die today – my legacy (I hope) is not what I have but who I am.
Did I stand up against what was wrong? Did I help when someone needed me – even if they didn’t ask? Did I give of myself freely and openly not expecting something in return?
I’d like to say that in most cases, I did. I always try to do what is right, even if it’s going to be difficult.
That doesn’t mean I always do – I’m certainly no saint.
But, I am the mother of a daughter and I want her life to be different than mine. I don’t want her to live in shame of her body, in shame of her life and in shame of her family.
I don’t want her to look back on her life and feel pain for the child that was.
My upbringing (or lack-there-of) added to the loneliness that I felt when dealing with Emma’s fussiness.
I didn’t have support of my family, which caused me to be more enraged when she wouldn’t sleep.
I didn’t know how to react because I was never really taught how to.
We were taught to ignore and checkout. That doesn’t work with a screaming baby’s demands.
And she deserved a response. She deserved to be held and nurtured.
It isn’t her fault that her mommy got the short end of the stick in her childhood life.
I believe God has given me the opportunity to have a new life with my husband and Emma.
I had to rethink and relearn everything all over again. I had to make the decision to be present because I want to teach Emma how to be a good mother and how to take care of family members even when it’s the hardest thing you’ll do.
I want to be a good example for her.
What I want for Emma is to know herself, love herself and live healthfully, love her community, and love God.
I want her to be appreciative of others and of the world around her.
I want her to be a living example and to always walk with compassion and humility.
I want her to live with a purpose and do it proudly.
I don’t care if she ends up a garbage woman or the President of the United States.
I just want her to be proud of who she is and what she does and do it as best as she can.
When I was dealing with her temperament or her sleeping issues I wasn’t able to wrap my mind around her future. I could only accept and see the now and it wasn’t good for anyone of us.
It was selfish, yes, but it’s very difficult to see anything when your world feels like it’s in shambles.
I know that this blog entry doesn’t focus much on the fussiness of my child. But that’s because I don’t want her temperament to cloud who she is to me.
She saved me. My husband saved me 10 years ago when he showed me the unconditional love that I craved my whole life.
She has offered me a do-over of sorts. I can give her all the things that I wasn’t given emotionally, and be just as pleased as if it were me going ice skating for the first time or cutting down my Christmas tree.
I can give her these traditions she’ll remember and share with her own children.
She offered me a view on how I began – a clean slate. Even though I grieve the child that I was with each new memory we create I relish in the fact that she won’t have to.
I can’t make her life perfect, I can’t control her or her thoughts but I can certainly make sure to teach her as best I can, to love and support her through the good and the bad and to offer her my advice without judgment.
I want Emma to have a normal life. She doesn’t have to wear fancy clothes, know famous actors or go to Harvard to be someone. She already is someone. She’s my daughter and she’ll always be someone to me… and I’ll always be someone to her.
Sophie lives in the suburbs just outside of Washington, DC. She is momentarily a jack of all trades – wife and mommy by day, finance employee and religion teacher by night. She and her husband are enjoying Emma’s ever growing and independent personality more and more and finally getting a good nights rest.
Letting Go of the ‘Should’s’
4 Bits of Advice for Parents of High Need Babies
When Cuddles Won’t Cure Your Baby
Taking Your High Need Child to a Playgroup
Ages and Stages of the Fussy Baby
A Different Outlook