One of my dear friends had a baby in February. Another one of my dear friends is due in October. I am in that season of life when my peers begin the long trek into parenthood. I am not a parent and have no parenting advice to offer. But I want to tell my friends what I wish someone had told my mother:
Be careful that your hopes and dreams for your child do not harden into metal cages that trap your child’s spirit.
Be careful that your unresolved issues (we all have them) do not use your children as laboratories, playgrounds, or even just camouflage.
Be careful not to own your children. For all your care-taking, they will still be their own person. Their self-possession ought to be your greatest success and not your greatest threat.
Be diligent in getting to know them. They will have an interior life that can be easily forgotten, ignored, or imagined if you do not put forth the effort to learn who they are.
I know there is no manual for motherhood. And I know that usually parents trust most the advice of other parents. But mine is a voice from the other side, speaking the disappointments and hurts of my inner child. As a warning, yes. But also as an encouragement because I believe another motherhood is possible.