The paths mothers have taken to come to hear and trust their inner voices, to become an awakened parent, always fascinate me. My own journey started when I picked up a book in my university bookshop that had a lovely picture on the cover, and that was the only reason I bought it.
Before this, I had planned that when I had babies (which I was desperate to do, but wanted to wait until I’d finished my degree), I would have an epidural (because only crazy women would go through all that pain when they didn’t have to!) and go back to work full-time as soon as they were in school.
The book started a shift in me. It was Three in a Bed by Deborah Jackson. I had never considered where our baby would sleep, but obviously our daughters’ sleeping arrangements were decided long before any of them were even conceived once Ms Jackson had explained why bed-sharing is such a good idea.
In one or two places, Ms Jackson very briefly mentions, almost in passing, women who have home-births…and that was that! The idea took a grip of my heart and we ended up having all four of our daughters at home, in a pool.
Being a mum of the twenty-first century, and feeling fairly isolated, and also having a rather dire addiction to the internet, I scoured the parenting forums for connections with parents making similar choices. These, as well as many real-life conversations and links, led me to cloth nappies, baby-wearing, baby-led weaning, home education…you name it, I learnt about it.
I wasn’t ever a ‘non-conforming junkie’. I just read about things, found they sat well (or not) in my heart, researched enough to satisfy my rational mind that they were good (or bad) ideas and then decided whether or not to go for them. I never felt comfortable with the idea of elimination communication, for example, so we never took that route.
Most of the way through, my journey has also been informed and shaped by my training and work as an NCT breastfeeding counsellor, which also encourages parents to listen to their heart and, ideally, respects parents’ decisions made in this way. And through writing this blog, my understanding and strength of feeling about how our inner voices have been long buried has grown and deepened.
So that’s my story in very brief…what’s yours? I want to start documenting other parents’ journeys to both hearing and trusting in their inner voices. What brought you to realise that book you were given isn’t right? How did you learn that your health visitor may not actually know everything after all? How did you get around the pressure from your friends or family to do things a certain way when you knew your heart was leading you in a different direction?
If you’d like to share your story here on The Awakened Parent, please get in touch by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Make your post anything up to 1000 words, and send me a photo as well – either of you and/or your family, or of something that carries meaning for you. I can’t wait to hear from you!
I’ll put links to each story we get here, starting with the story that inspired this series:
3. Dara’s Story