Life Filters

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?





3 thoughts on “Life Filters

  1. YES. Exactly. All of this.
    I’ve spent most of the last 7.5 months since Bunny was born literally training myself to forgive myself for being imperfect. And for needing a break sometimes. This last week she had a terrible ear infection and I was home with her for 5 days straight, mostly alone. Eventually, I got sick myself and today I chose to stay home and give myself a break while my husband goes with her to his parents’. It literally took me TWO HOURS to understand that I’m not a terrible mother for choosing to take that break. I think it’s important to acknowledge and remember – both our losses and also the fact that we’re only human, and will make mistakes, and will need a break sometimes.
    But man, is it hard.
    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Yes, absolutely. Those filters are also firmly in place for me and have greatly affected how I parent. There’s always this worry that I’m not doing enough or my efforts are somehow causing harm. At the same time, I find I have zero tolerance for those who complain about the basic things that come with raising a child. Diaper blowouts? Spitting up? Loss of my previous lifestyle? Seriously, I’m practically dancing over the fact that I get to deal with any of this!

    I think the big part of the filter is the fact that we know very well what the alternative looks like. Most people don’t dare to explore it because it’s too painful/scary. Like appreciating the sweetness of water after almost dying from dehydration. The big thing, though, is finding that balance. Allowing myself to be forgiven for the mistakes I do make all while appreciating the miracles that I have the privilege of parenting.

  3. While I have made it to being a mother, but not yet a parent, I find myself in the position you noted earlier in this post – people feeling like they need to tell me that having a newborn or a child is not that easy as if to reassure me that I am not missing out on anything. Like I don’t know that or anticipate that already?!?! I also had someone indicate to me recently that because of what I went through I would probably be a “hovering” parent that spoils their children once I have them. And while I find a comment like this to be shortsighted (that’s a whole other story) it did make me step back to think about how I will parent when I finally have a chance to. I imagine I will have similar filers.

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