I think it’s safe to say that filters affect our daily lives. And by filters, I mean current and past experiences, dreams and ideas that shape how we live our lives, and the ways in which we do—or don’t do things. It’s probably something that I’ve always known, but it really hit home as Double A and I lit a yahrtzeit candle in honor of Baby K (it was the third anniversary), and the flood of emotions opened back up.
I realized that the filters in which I now parent comes from a place of extreme joy, combined with a certain sadness and fear. After going through everything we’ve gone through, the act of actually parenting one of our children is a big deal. A REALLY big deal. I’ve waited so long for this. And now that I’m finally able to, I not only want to make sure that I’m taking in every moment, but I also don’t want to screw it up. I want to make sure that I’m honoring the babies we lost and buried, while focusing on, and celebrating our son who is here with us.
On many levels, this filter is a good thing, as it gives me a different perspective toward parenting. I find it funny that when you bring a baby home, most people go to the negative: ‘Say goodbye to sleep!’ ‘Good luck with those dirty diapers!’ ‘Have fun with all of the throw up!’ When I hear this, my response is always, ‘Isn’t it great? We GET to do this!’ This is usually followed by me wanting to smack the person upside the head as a reminder that that’s a stupid thing to say to someone who has lost their children.
Perhaps this is something that resonates on a larger scale with loss parents and those who have struggled to become parents (though, of course I realize that there are plenty of other parents out there who just truly appreciate being able to parent). I’m not saying that I don’t get exhausted. Or that I don’t get frustrated. It’s just that I don’t—or won’t—let it bother me. And somehow, in spite of everything we’ve been through (not to mention my personality in general), I’m calmer with, and about him, than I’d ever imagined I’d be. This filter provides me with a patience and appreciation that has brought greater meaning to my parenting and our family.
At the same time, these filters make me feel as though I have to be the perfect parent because of everything we lost. Be super creative and playful! Make only delicious and nutritious meals! Be uber-organized! And while I know there is no such thing, I feel like I should try harder, do more and be it all. It’s a lot of pressure that I knowingly put on myself in an effort to honor Baby K, Benjamin, Sarah, and those we never met. And to make sure that BB understands just how much we love him and what he means to us. Believe me, I know this pressure I put upon myself isn’t fair. And I also know that I’m not the first Mom to experience this pressure. It just feels as though there’s so much more at stake.
Balancing of these filters is a struggle, and I imagine on some levels, it will be an ongoing one as they continue to evolve. I have to remind myself that I can’t go back in time, and that the best way to honor all of our children is to try to stay present and take pride in the parent I am, and will become…triumphs, imperfections and all. Hopefully I’ll listen.
What filters affect your day-to-day? How do you deal?