This is Not About You

Dear Children,

I write you letters, but these letters are not about you as you are in the distant future, but what you are today and what I am today. I do not yet know who you will be, and while I can imagine and dream, my imagination is not all-encompassing. I wouldn’t want it to be. Part of the joy of having children is seeing them exceed your imagination. My favorite things about each of my children are the things that I was never able to imagine.

I write to you about breastfeeding, sleep, choices, my mothering of you.

You may make very different choices from the ones that I have made. You are not a clone of me. Your life will be different from mine. The things you read will be different from the things that I have read. The studies that you can pull from will be different from the studies of today. Your children will be as different from you as you are from me.

You may have different abilities than mine. Already I know one area in which your body does things better than mine. My ears are broken. Yours are perfect. You react to sounds that I have not heard since I was a child, since before I became deaf. Maybe you will be more graceful than me, maybe you’ll be more clumsy. Maybe you’ll discover musical talent, or maybe you will be as tone-deaf as I am. Maybe you’ll be an artist.

I don’t see the future beyond this: I love you. I will support you. I will delight in the things that you do well. When you seek out my advice, I will offer it, and when you do not, I will not. These letters to you are not my judgement of the mother or the father that you have yet to become. These letters are not a judgement of your future husband or wife. These letters to you are not a blueprint of the mother or father that I feel you must be. These letters are simply things that I wish to tell you someday. Things which may or may not be of use to you.

Maybe you’ll circumcise. Maybe you’ll formula feed. Maybe you’ll CIO. Maybe you’ll spank. Maybe you’ll exclusively pump. Maybe you’ll need a c-section. Maybe you’ll homeschool. Maybe you’ll be a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. Maybe you’ll be an atheist. Maybe you’ll be petite, or maybe you’ll be large. Maybe you’ll grow vegetables in the backyard the way I do, or maybe you’ll hate vegetables with a passion.

I do not know who you will be, what choices you will make, what type of a mother or father you will be, or if you will be a parent at all. Your life is YOUR life, as my life is mine. This is my turn to make the choices that I make. When your turn comes it will be your turn.

Please never feel judged by the ways in which I did things differently.

No one will ever love your children more than you and their other parent do. Not me, not your father, not your friends who do things differently.

If you learn better, do better. But no informed choice made with love is ever the “wrong” one. Guilt is the domain of people who make easy choices for reasons other than love or necessity. Anyone who offers you guilt offers you something of themselves rather than of you. You do not need to accept it.

You know your life, you know your children, you know the partner that your heart has chosen, you know the truth of your thoughts and your feelings. Nothing else matters. Do not take on the guilt that anyone else tries to offer.

Make your choices with love, and listen to what your heart says. Nothing else matters.

<3 Mama

  5 comments for “This is Not About You

  1. Tina
    July 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    “If you learn better, do better. But no informed choice made with love is ever the “wrong” one.”

    Love that statement! I sometimes feel my mom and others are critical of some of my parenting choices. This statement makes me feel validated in what I do. Thank-you!

  2. christieann mathison
    July 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    wow…you are blessed with the gift of writing. I hope this wont offend you but It was a whole paradigm shift for me..I didnt know you were deaf..and how amazing that all your entries i have read previously, you write and I can tell and feel how connected you are with your children and your world…not realizing that in ALLL of your posts you never mention the fact that you cannot “hear” things…like a fussy, crying baby etc. it just amazes me and it is clear to me that even though you might not be able to “hear” that CLEARLY does not prevent one ounce of you being connected and in tune to you and your children’s needs. what a gift…b/c think of the many people that can hear and they are not able to even have the understanding or connection with the world or their children like you do. I know it probably sounds odd and horrible to some people to say you are blessed, as we all are in the ways that we are “limited'( i actually have my own disability)..but it IS through those things that perhaps the lord has given us something for a higher purpose…I read your entries every day, there are ones I read each day to keep me connected and to help me through those frustrating times with a newborn..and your entries keep me grounded to my purpose as a mother and truly help sustain my connection to my children…thank you. wow.

    • sarah
      July 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      I’m not offended in the slightest. :)

      I actually can hear my children when they cry, when they fuss. I just hear things differently than you might hear them. I have a bilateral (both ears) sensorineural (neurological) hearing loss that has a reverse curve (Normal hearing losses make high pitched sounds harder to hear and low pitched sounds are less effected. Mine cuts out the low pitched sounds and effects high pitched sounds to a lesser degree.)

      I can’t hear a monster truck revving its motor, but I can hear the whisper of its wheels on wet pavement. I can’t hear the rumble of a baby fart, but I can hear the tiny little squeaks and coos and the different ways that the baby cries.

      I’m an agnostic, but I accept all my differences and my hurdles and challenges as blessings because they cause me to think differently and they teach me to be more understanding of others and of my children.

      When people hear that I am “deaf”, there are immediate assumptions about what this means, and very little of it applies to my particular type of hearing loss. This is a constant reminder to me to talk to people and find out what they REALLY mean rather than applying templates. (Don’t worry, I don’t get cranky at people that make those assumptions. It’s natural. We only know what we know or what we have been exposed to.)

      This experience is VERY valuable to me in terms of how I approach parenting. I am grateful for it. We can rail against situations or we can seek the lessons, find the love, or simply breathe through them.

      • christieann mathison
        July 26, 2012 at 4:15 am

        sooo true…it is difficult to avoid those “labels” as most of the times we seem to use them to best explain something to someone that is perhaps more “in depth” than what we think they want to hear. thank you for explaining it to me..and it is even MORE interesting that your hearing is so uniquely woven. my newborn is a “high needs”/sensitive baby…lol, there’s that “label” which I dislike. its funny b/c my 11 year old was a completely different baby than he is and I have had to “figure” him out in a whole different way and learn to accept his higher needs which has taught me so much already and made me more connected and in tune with him than I could ever imagine…and it is the first time I have ever had to deal with “labels”…so i dont even bother anymore…lol. thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Heather
    July 26, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful posts. My daughter, my first and perhaps only child, is eleven weeks old today. The most amazing 11 weeks of my life. Your posts express the joy I feel at her existence and give me comfort and confidence where I fear I am not doing the best for her. Thank you again for this. Heather

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