Hope is the reason we have children.

I had the phrase in mind as I put together my submission to the SheWrites Passion Project. The phrase is not in my submission. I submitted the concept of hope being the reason; the only element of sanity, really, if you examine the facts of family from a cost/benefit perspective. We hope to create something better than our experience. Perhaps because a parent’s wants and needs by definition must fall second to keeping a child alive and thriving, often unsaid is the idea that in the attempt to create something better, we experience the joy of the attempt.

These thought arrived this AM, during a Feldenkrais session. I was working with my upper back and felt a long-in-coming truth about a connection between the belly muscles, upper back, and shoulder.

I didn’t think, “Back, shoulder, belly.” I thought, “Most truth comes quietly.”

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Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

11 thoughts on “Hope is the reason we have children.”

  1. Hi, K. O’D.,

    How did your practice go? Any epiphanies?

    What do you think of this:
    http://wp.me/PsSjA-zs

    Here is the thing that slays me: back in the day, (ie: the pre-children day when I had what seems now to be endless time to write), when I bogged down, I’d do some Feldenkrais stuff. All the answers popped in a gentle, golden way. I didn’t have to pause to write down anything. I’d finish my practice, boot back up, and let flow the writing.

    Nowadays, my focus is elsewhere (two, all-consuming acts of creation). Not that’d trade them for anything, but I swear: one night, during the 3 AM can’t sleeps, I laid in bed and solved our dependance on oil.

    I woke prepared to e-mail Al Gore, except that upon waking, I could not remember one bit of it.

  2. K. O’D. writes:
    “This is gorgeous! I love those epiphanies that come to us when we have shut our minds off in order to attend to something else. I’m off to yoga this morning and will hope to have some profound thoughts as well.”

  3. CL finishes:
    “Again, amen! Thanks for distilling it down to what it’s all about. Your children are lucky to have a mom who has done the work, and who will make them feel safe.”

  4. In response to CL:
    “Two years ago, I did deep inner child work, and was asked to create a safe space for each age I resonated with. My inner infant and two-year-old have a room that look — surprise surprise — exactly like my baby girl’s does. My inner 5-year-old has a room that looks pretty much like my 5-year-old’s, only more yellows and less teal.

    All this to say, I hear you on “Where the WIld Things Are.” In fact, my inner-infant is jealous that I didn’t think of that as her theme.

    I chose “room decor” as an extreme example on the “mild” side of the trauma spectrum. In exploring extremes, I often find universals. Such as: he will get over his nursery decor, as long as he feels safe there, now.”

  5. Cassy Lee pitches in:
    “Wow, I’ve said “Amen!” to everything you’ve said in this conversation, Alle. Love your thoughts and reminders to be mindful about why and how we are raising our kids. I, too, didn’t know if I’d ever have one (and am still on the fence about having more…currently, one busy 13 month old is all I can handle). My decision to go for it only came after years of therapy dealing with my childhood issues. I did take the liberty to decorate his nursery the way I wanted when I was a kid (with a Where the Wild Things Are theme), but when he starts to have preferences I will certainly foster those. I’ve been trying to “create wonder” for him and myself lately. Something that was dreadfully missing in my childhood, and I am hopeful will make a big difference in his.”

  6. So many parents I run into state clearly that they will heal their childhood trauma by doing the opposite. To me, that sounds like paying forward the trauma. ‘If my child doesn’t heal my trauma, not only have I failed as a parent, my child has failed me.” I hear it in every aspect, from (the most common) “My Dad drank and so I am a teetotaler and married a teetotaler,” to “I decorated my child’s room exactly as I wanted mine decorated as a child.”

    What seems to be missing is the critical middle step: “I didn’t have the bedroom I wanted, as a child.” Then, “What do I want for myself today? Can I bring closure to my past in the present?” From there, I think the natural question moves away from “Why doesn’t my kid appreciate everything I try to give that I didn’t get?” and toward “I wonder what my child wants in her room?”

    I’d be interested in hearing how you have raised your child “differently”.

    1. And E.Y. finishes:
      “Hi Alle, great conversation! I grew up in England in a family with very little affection or healthy communication skills. I saw Psycholgists, Psychiatrists, Counsellors, went to support groups etc. for years to deal with the trauma of my childhood, and just when you think it’s dealt with something inevitably comes up again as it did when my son went to England recently. I never expected my children to ‘heal my trauma.’ As to raising them differently, I loved them all to pieces
      and kisses and hugs were the norm in our home. There were also no ‘shame based’ conversations or situations and the children knew that when they spoke they would be heard and trusted.”

  7. E.Y. from Canada wrote:
    “I had children because it was my natural instinct to do so. I believe that instinct was put in me by God, who designed everything perfectly. Children are so innocent they do give us hope for the future – that things can be better, that love and faith and prayer can make the difference not only for that life but for the hundreds of other lives that life will touch during the course of a lifetime.”

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Elizabeth.

      When I married, I told my guy that he had a 50-50 shot at children. Compared to the percentage chance before we met, 50-50 was a huge step up in the “yes” column. For so long, I held it in mind that I hated kids and didn’t want them. It was only after I opened to the idea of having children that I realized my fear and hatred came not from children but from my childhood, I did not “not” want to have kids. I was afraid to. What if I warped them the way I was warped?

      1. More from E.Y.:
        ” I’m sure that many people feel this way. Having children is the biggest investment of our time plus our physical, emotional and spiritual resources. If there is any unfinished or unprocessed business from our past, things WILL come up. Especially if we have children when younger, there’s not been a whole lot of time to deal with some things, or certain things come up when our children are at the same age we were when traumatized. Do I speak from experience? Absolutely. I sometimes think it takes some of us our entire lives to deal with the brokenness of childhood. It made me raise my children differently than I was and continue to get help at every opportunity so that I could be a better mum and raise my children appropriately.”

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