When a child is born parents are confronted by the power of change. A new family member forces the building of new relationships and a change in existing ones. You must have asked yourself many times before your child was born what would be the most important difference in your life? You certainly answered that question differently from one day to the next. On joyful days you thought about all the fantastic events and trips you would be part of together. On days when you were tired you likely wondered where you would find the energy to care for and protect a child in your already busy life. These questions and concerns are not only natural. They are helpful. The emotions they raise are part of everyone’s life and will be part of your child’s. Only by recognizing and responding to these emotions will you be ready to parent your child.
The first step to understand these changes is to understand your present and prior relationships and your own role in these relationships. Were you the caregiver or were you the one being taken care of? Did you participate in reciprocal relationships or were you the one who directed or was directed? Each of these questions must be answered if you are to prepare yourself for the changes brought by a new child. Once you understand your own relationships you will be better able to respond to the new ones. You will also be able to decide how and if you are willing to adapt to meet the needs of the new relationships.
As a parent you will at times feel you are on an escalator heading up between floors and there is no way to get off or slow your passage. You may try to turn around and walk backwards but your way is blocked by many people heading up the same escalator. You will feel as if your life is preordained and your choices predetermined. You will feel as if the past has inexorably led to the present and your future is now being determined not by your own personal dreams, aspirations, passions and interests but rather, by the events of the past. This linear and simplistic mindset although logical is not always true. The future you desire is affected the present. You must avoid the fixation where one thought or idea blocks your ability to come up with new ideas to change your future.
As the seasons change the world you see out your kitchen window presents numerous examples of renewal and rebirth. Change provides the opportunity to realize the bidirectional promise of the past and the future. In fact, just as future deeds and promises are sustained and invigorated by the past so to the future can reframe the past. Many view the past as unalterable and a direct cause of the present, yet, each of you can recall lessons learned in the future that brought a perceptual change of past events and memories. In this way the future clearly affected your past.
The past and the future are all experienced in the frame of the present. The present serves as the binoculars you use to look forward or backwards in time. In this way both the past and the future are orphans. As orphans, each are fostered by the present. It is your decision whether this effect will be enriching or limiting. If you live your life as if unraveling a spool of yarn there will always be a passive acceptance of what is to come. Yet, you use the same analogy and imagine yourself knitting a sweater. If you found as you finished a new row that the spool of yarn is wound too tight, you have the power to re-spool the yarn. You could also allow the yarn to be rewrapped loosely and now the knitter can easily without effort or constraint continue to knit and space the individual knits exactly as she wishes. In this way future, not past perceptions, changed the present.
So what should you do? As a parent seek out change. Change will be the natural resource to produce the opportunities of life that both you and your child need. Do not fear what is to come. Allow what is to come to alter and produce what you not only want but also what you need.