Our purpose as mothers

1386612_mom_and_kidEditor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey.

The day I became a mother, I felt a sense of purpose I had never known before.

These little lives have been placed in my hands, and it is my responsibility to give them love and nourishment, all while giving them room to grow into the people they are meant to be. The responsibility can seem overwhelming, but from the beginning, I had such a strong sense of this is what I’m meant to do.

That feeling of purpose and responsibility has also led me to feel such a connection with other mothers — both past and present. Motherhood looks different for each person. So, where I followed my instincts and naturally fell into Attachment Parenting, others may take a different path. There is no one right answer, no quick-and-easy golden rules that will guarantee a perfect outcome. If there was, motherhood would be easy.

Motherhood is by far the most rewarding thing in my life, but it is not always easy — especially when it seems that everywhere I look these days, people are tearing each other down. More specifically, moms are tearing other moms down. People are so quick to pass judgment or offer “advice” on the proper way to do something: cosleeping or crib, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, homemade baby food or store-bought. It can seem like a competition, offering up your thriving baby as proof that you’re doing things right. It can also make moms feel inadequate or insecure.

While I try really hard to refrain from gossip or judgment, I’m not perfect either. It’s easy to get caught up in comparisons of who reached what milestone and when, or assigning blame when things don’t end up the way you planned. But at the end of the day, every mother is doing her very best to provide her children with the same thing: a safe and secure place to grow.

As we continue to celebrate Mother’s Day this week, I sincerely hope that we can all feel confident enough in our own parenting decisions not to knock each other down. Instead, try to remember that we are all carrying that same sense of responsibility, and we should be building each other up. The world, and our kids, will be better for it.

Giving thanks through presence and connection

SnowingI am grateful to be an Attachment Parent.

I don’t feel that we need to be labeled in order to define our type of parenting; however, being a part of a community with like-minded parents reminds me that I am not alone.

Yes, we are all different. We all choose to parent differently. The families we come from and the families we are raising conjure up many things around the holiday season. At least for me.

My favorite time of year is upon us, and yet, so much about it feels different. We spent Thanksgiving as a small group, and the missing pieces magnified the reality of what family looks like and what it has evolved into over time.

We all define and experience family differently.

As we come into this world, we are innocent, wide-eyed and unsuspicious. The world is uncontaminated, and our canvases are bare. We don’t know anything about pain, resentment, sadness, loss, judgement, hate. We don’t know what a label is or why anyone must define us by one. We come into this world needing and seeking a few simple things. We want to be loved, nurtured and heard.

We spend our lives wanting and needing to be heard and understood.

From the moment we first lay eyes upon our mother’s face, we feel we belong. We feel safe. We are home. From that point forward, through each experience, through all the light, through all the darkness, the ways in which we experience love and family evolve and take on lives of their own.

Decisions are made for us, separations disconnect us, rules and regulations attempt to govern us, facades deceive us, and choices divide us. Love runs through, and yet, something always seems to be missing. As we grow into adults, the need to be heard only grows stronger. We are often misunderstood and those feelings we are left with emerge into deeper cries for answers, for clarity, for truth.

Our innocence shifts at a certain point as we are exposed to the sometimes harsh realities of the world. Something happened, and we no longer felt good enough. Something else happened, and we thought we needed to be something or someone else in order to gain acceptance. We thought we needed to please and obey and squeeze ourselves into molds that the masses set before us. If you stray from that, you are different, you are weird, you are wrong.

Yes, this is what we are told and led to believe by the people who simply can’t bear the fact that we are not conforming to what makes everyone else comfortable. You are out of place, and you are displacing the system. Please get back in the queue and follow the leader, they say.

Although I never allowed myself to succumb to society’s desperate plight to mass-produce me, I was still greatly affected. I still am affected, and I know that this contributes to my quest for what this life is all about on a daily basis. Human, honest, loving, kind and meaningful connection is all I’ve ever wanted. It’s what I am most open to and in search of. In my journey through this life, thus far, I can tell you that it is through presence and connection that I experience the purest and truest love.

I am often discouraged by the highly opinionated, judgmental, divided, jump-on-the-Twitter-trend bandwagon mentality we are surrounded by. I find it difficult to even hear my own voice through all of the noise. I find it difficult to remain centered as I witness the constant debates telling you what’s right and wrong, black and white, acceptable and unacceptable. If we allow, the social media machines will infiltrate our lives with more stimulation than we can possibly process, and our connections to ourselves and those around us will be left with mere shadows and caricatures of who and what they once were.

Much research is taking place in the world of psychology and how it pertains to social media. In addition, many opinions are being shared these days, revealing narcissism as an epidemic based on those seeking acceptance via likes and feedback as they broadcast their points of view and selfies through the social network media megaphone.

I find it sad, even if data reveals it’s accuracy, that the Millennial Generation — although I don’t feel it’s limited to them — is now being labeled in this way, which only further instills the deep-seated insecurity and underlying feelings of inadequacy that so many of us struggle with.

The internet provides a stage and an audience at our daily disposal. Sadly, the constant need to be seen as the best, and the portrayal of a life that others envy and dream of, is a full-time job for many. Not much is private anymore, and nothing can really shock us. The praise and approval one thinks they are seeking often lead to emptiness and more insecurity.

This cycle continues, masked in a different face, and breeds more of what most of us struggled with growing up. We’re still working through the disharmony of it all.

There are certainly many benefits to social media. I just feel we need to take the time to encourage our youth to connect to what is true and real around us and allow for our own minds and voices to be clear amongst it all.

I love my boys with all of my heart. I am present to them, to their needs and to who they truly are as individuals and human beings. It is this presence that allows me to support, guide and nurture them along the paths they are meant to pave in their own lives. We spend a lot of time in nature, and it is there that I find we all gain the best education and connection with ourselves. We love exploring. We love adventures. Their imaginations are endless. We are free.

I believe it is every human’s right to be given the freedom to be themselves — to fully express and shine as their unique being, whatever that looks like. You are beautiful. You are enough. You are you.

I choose to exist in a world where personal relating and human connection are more prevalent than the fabricated, manufactured images we mistake for reality.

I sat down to write a piece about the holidays and what I am thankful for. This is what came out.

I believe the holidays can be a time of wonderful joy and togetherness, and they can also magnify the imperfections within your own family and the world around us. I am filled with love and gratitude, yet the lack of unity saddens me. It triggers the facts of my existence and inspires me to initiate change again. I wish things were different in certain areas. I wish we were all closer.

I am thankful for my life. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my husband and the greatest gift and honor of being a mother to our two sons. I am thankful for the food I eat and the roof over my head. I am thankful for my health and each breath I take. I am thankful for the depth of love and compassion I feel and am connected to. I am thankful to be a source of love for others. I am thankful for the service my family and I provide to those in need.

I am thankful for connection and for the many advantages the internet provides us with each day. Through this medium, I am able to relate openly and honestly. As I often say: When you hear me, I feel understood. I feel connected to the world. I believe this is all any of us want.

The name-calling, the labels, the fear instilled upon us, the animosity. Through it all, we will only grow stronger and continue to evolve into who and what we are meant to. I choose love and truth. Today and always.

Wishing you a delightful and compassionate holiday season.

sandy-signature

Messy, glorious motherhood

They say when you become a mom, you change. I am sure just about every one of us has experienced that. It is awe-inspiring to come to the realization that just as our actions shape our children, our interactions with our children also continue to shape us.

My heart loves more deeply, my mind works more creatively — albeit a little slower at times — and my life seems all the more vibrant since embarking on my journey as a mother.

The other day, I had a revelation of sorts.

No mother likes to see her child suffer. A sick child is like a stone upon the heart of the mother. Her heart becomes heavy, and their pain becomes hers. Even as I type this, my child lays sleeping next to me after another night of unrest. It is cold and flu season, and this is nothing new. However, my perspective is.

I have come to find that, even in the most unpleasant of parenting moments, my heart is still full and the moments are nonetheless glorious. Now don’t get me wrong — I hate seeing my child not feeling well, but there is undoubtedly still beauty to be found even when the situation is of less savory nature.

jillian_amodio_-_cosleeping_picYesterday, for instance, I had just gotten my 3-year-old daughter down for a nap. She had slept poorly the night before, and I lay next to her softly stroking her hair, preparing to drift off myself. I said a silent prayer of thanks that she was able to get some much needed rest. I lay there, inhaling the sweet scent of baby shampoo that I have come to love so dearly.

She had been sleeping for no more than five minutes when she began another violent coughing spell. I rubbed her back and whispered words of comfort, hoping it would be over soon and that she would drift back to sleep.

In a matter of seconds, however, I found myself sliding my arms underneath of her and throwing her over my shoulder as she began to vomit from coughing so much. Her eyes filled with tears, she began to sob out of fear and vomit slowly poured down my back onto the freshly changed sheets.

We sat a few moments…both scared and shaken. I rocked and consoled her and then cleaned her up before carrying her to the couch for cuddles and cartoons.

What struck me so vividly in that moment, however, was what it felt like to be so loved and so needed that for a minute: I was all that mattered to this precious child. Her love and need for me is so much that even though my presence may not be able to physically make things better — I can’t take away her cough or her fever — in that moment it was all she needed…to know that because I was there, everything was going to be fine.

What a privilege it is to mean so much to someone.

As she looked up at me with those big blue eyes, arms still clasped around my neck, she said, “Thank you mommy, I love you.” And with that, I knew that this was a moment to be treasured.

Despite the fact that I was covered in vomit and that I had just washed the sheets, I never once thought, “I need a shower,” or “Well, this sucks.” I simply thought how lucky I am to be the one holding my child. How lucky I am to be the recipient of such pure love. How lucky I am to be a mom.

Motherhood is messy, motherhood is hard, motherhood is challenging but motherhood is so very GLORIOUS!

There is no night and day

API-Logo-20th-themeAttachment Parenting International is 20 years old. Twenty years of promoting connection and spreading reassuring support to parents across the globe!

When I first became a mother, I followed every instinct to connect with and nurture my baby. I held her, I nursed her, I gazed into her eyes…regardless of the time of day. Strangely though, I met a lot of resistance to my “alternative” approach to parenting.

“Nursing AGAIN?!” became a common greeting, and although I did not waver in my approach, my confidence took a big hit. I was exhausted, and I felt alone.

This is where I thank Attachment Parenting International for showing me that I am not alone. I am so grateful to have stumbled, completely by accident, upon this wonderful concept of Attachment Parenting. It turns out that I am not alone in my approach. In actual fact, there are many, many more mothers like me, feeling the same way and taking the same approach of connecting with our children.

So many of us feel this sense of loneliness, particularly in the darker hours when exhaustion sinks in and it feels like the rest of the world is soundly sleeping. So to the mama who is feeling isolated and exhausted right now, I offer you this…

There is no night and day.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was awake throughout the day and I slept during the night. I moved throughout the day and was still during the night. The two were totally separate, as stark a contrast as light and dark.

And then baby bean was born, and all at once, light was thrown into my world in more ways than one. The edges of day and night started to merge together into a blurry grey smudge. You see, I had birthed The Great Unsleeper.

I knew nothing of tiredness before motherhood. The kind of tiredness that saps your body of strength, that throws its arms around you and just keeps squeezing, where you feel like the air is running out of oxygen and you forget which way is up, the kind of tiredness which almost makes you lose yourself.

Almost.

unnamedAlmost, because you find yourself with every touch of baby’s soft skin, cheek to cheek. Almost, because you find yourself with every gaze held in those deep, pool-like eyes. You find yourself with every smile, every gurgle, every clap of the hands and sweet “mama!”

You find yourself when you need it most. You find yourself during darkness.

Because our darkest hours are actually scattered with stars, with gems of pure love. In this time that I once termed “night,” quietness rules. There is no sound in the world besides baby bean’s soft breath and my own steady heartbeat.

In honesty, there have been moments in which I felt isolated, scared and incapable during these dark hours. But these have been momentary flashes of doubt amid the darkness.

Because when I stop and look at my beautiful girl’s profile against the shadow-like beams of light lingering in our bedroom, I understand that I have all that she needs — that I am all that she needs. I understand that I am enough.

Nestled safely in my arms, she does not need light or direction to nurse. Resting her head on my shoulder as we sway forwards and backwards in our rocking chair, she does not need daylight to feel safe and content. Little bean and I do not race through this notion of “night,” because for us, there is just light and dark, and there is beauty and connection in each.

As we sit rocking, cuddling, nursing, I imagine the hundreds of hours that we must have spent in this peaceful state. I imagine us rocking across great distances, to other countries and cultures. I imagine us meeting versions of ourselves at each destination, all these miles from home.

A mother. A baby. Connected in darkness.

I imagine us rocking through time, backwards and forwards. I imagine us glimpsing versions of ourselves wherever we land, be it hundreds or even thousands of years away from here.

A mother. A baby. Connected in darkness.

You see, in truth, little bean and I are not alone once the moon rises. We are part of a bigger picture, a louder heartbeat, a stronger pulse. Mothers. Babies. Connected in darkness.

Because for us, there is no night.

Revering parenthood is patriotism

By Terri Murray

Terri Murray and familyWhile up in Washington, DC, USA, visiting my aunt and my grandma, one morning my husband and I were able to walk down the street with our youngest for a quick cup of coffee and to walk our Corgi.

The quick cup of coffee turned into a fascinating hour-long conversation with a former congressional candidate for the area. She was also a mother to 3 school-aged children and was very committed to being an active mom. She went on to tell me that she lived in France for some time and in various parts of the United States and had a very successful professional career as a Federal prosecutor that she gave up when she decided to become a mother.

With very little input from me, she went on to explain a lot of what drew her to run for Congress was that she wanted to honor and increase awareness on the patriotism of being a stay-at-home mom or the home-based mompreneur. Hmm…that was interesting. I had never thought to lump the stay-at-home mom or other committed mothers who may work outside the home with patriotism. I wanted to hear more!

She went on to explain that while living in France 30 years ago, she was pregnant and a new mom to their eldest child. She described that the French at that time perceived pregnancy and motherhood, among other qualities, as patriotic. France’s citizens revered moms, because they were raising the next generation of their society. They had a huge undertaking at hand. These moms were forged with raising and developing boys and girls that would one day be running their country and businesses, and serving their community.

And because of the gravity of this, moms were treated with respect and held in high regard. What a wonderful sentiment!

Instead of being the loathed fellow passengers on a plane, the nuisances in line at the grocery store or the disturbance at the restaurant, mothers with their children were treated like they were on an important mission and given respect and help when in public.

To her point, helping to raise and rear the children in our country–they don’t have to be your own–is as much of a moral obligation as it is patriotic. Our country is made up of citizens who were all once kids. Just as we should keep our parks clean and our roads in order, part of keeping this country great for everyone is ensuring kids are raised to become good citizens who contribute to society.

My newfound friend went on to berate a cover of TIME magazine, on which there are two young adults leisurely laying on a beach with the title, “The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means NOT Having Children.” The article described how the birthrate in the United States is the lowest in recorded American history: 1 in 5 women in America are not having kids. I think we both agreed that this was a personal choice and not all adults should or can have children. However, the point of her argument was the article’s claim of not having kids to be a prerequisite for “having it all.”

Should we really be reveling or trying to promote that not having kids in our lives is the only way to live the good life in America these days? After all, one day it is the kids that become the doctor or nurse giving us medical care, the political leader who will decide how our tax dollars are spent and what laws we must live by, the police officer or firefighter that protects us or responds to an emergency situation we may encounter, or the consumer or client for our products and services that support our economy and lifestyles.

Is it harmful to parenting or does it downplay the joys and happiness of the parents raising the next generation of Americans to headline you can’t “have it all,” because you have children. Is that really the society we want? If so, in the very simplest summations, we will have a short-lived society.

Now again, not everyone should or needs to have kids, and some want them but can’t physically, financially or emotionally have them. Fortunately, we live in a society where I don’t think childless adults are thought of as unfulfilled or living an abnormal life. But this title does imply a negative message about the undertaking of parenthood. “Having it all” is what I want! So because I have 4 kids, does that mean its not going to happen for me? I thought it already was happening!

We could further rant on as to why are others trying to define what someone’s life should be like to “have it all?” Anyone can make the case they “have it all,” and each of them will have a different life–and hopefully most of us feel as though we are living life at its best. I am focusing on the fact that it is sad that a national publication through its cover title is subtly and coyly sensitizing and normalizing the thought that children are a nuisance and an intrusive aspect of a quality adult life. They are not.

patriotismAnd let’s revere the moms and caretakers who decide to immerse themselves into raising children and acknowledge when they are great moms just as we would revere her as a CEO or other successful professional who made sacrifices and did what was necessary to get to her elite professional status. As a society, let’s not forget that the job these moms do at home are just as important, if not more important than a job they may do outside the home, because they are rearing and developing the future of our country.

Being a proficient mom and raising high-functioning children doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work, dedication and perfecting your actions to be successful. And their success in raising  empathic and compassionate children helps better society as a whole.  Thus this woman’s point: that devoted, purposeful moms are not only benefiting the children that they raise, but that America as a whole is strengthened. These children will grow up into our doctors, lawyers, police officers, policy makers, etc. The job we do as as parents and adults raising and caring for our young will dictate the future state of our society and our country. Hence, motherhood is a form of patriotism.

I hope we, as members of a society, look for opportunities to be a positive, helping hand for the children who come into our lives from our neighborhoods, communities, households or social environments as they hold our legacy and future as a great nation. I hope we do not begin to perceive children as interfering with our adult lives or as a speed bump to happiness. Let’s not start looking at them or their needs in a negative light, but look at how we can make a difference in their lives. What can we do to make our future generation into empathic, high-functioning, compassionate, thriving adults.

It just happened to be an coincidental conversation that got started, because it was with me–who is trying to help promote the benefits of Attachment Parenting in my world back home in South Carolina, and I take my role as a mom very seriously. She, on the other hand, just saw me with a feisty 2-year-old, and we were sharing space at a cafe.

I was fascinated by her thought and claim that part of being a dedicated and engaged mom in a sense is very patriotic and is good for America. And after our conversation and reflecting on it more, I have to agree.

Terri Murray lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA, with her husband and their 4 children. She leads the Charlotte Natural Moms playgroup. Terri feels that her kids have changed her for the better beyond imagination and keep her on a journey of self discovery and betterment. The more she has learned about Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting, the more she has found her guidepost for raising her kids. Her background was in genetics, and she is currently a Certified Health Coach and loves all things nutrition, traveling the world and meeting people.

Confidence through motherhood

By Sarah Dubé

flowerI suppose when I think about it I have always had a fairly healthy level of confidence even if it was a more superficial sense. I had your basic “Yeah sure…I’m okay” level of appreciation for myself and for my body and never thought I was any less or more than average. In a way, it was good because I was happy with myself but the problem was that I never strived, in anything, to be more than average. I didn’t have the type of confidence that drives a person to accomplish more.

I didn’t, that is, until I became a Mother.

From the first moments I found out I was expecting, something inside me began to change. I looked at my changing body in a different way, realizing that what my body was doing was a true miracle. I gained a newfound amazement in myself and in my body, and this feeling climaxed in the moments of my son’s first breaths. I looked over at him, a brand new life where there wasn’t one before and it was there because of me. All of the possibilities and potential of that life kind of flashed before my eyes and it made me feel like God.

Life as a Mother was a whole new ball game. I was responsible for this whole other person and suddenly being average didn’t seem like good enough anymore. I navigated through the first year doing my best but always knowing that I should be striving to do better for my son and future children. I went through tremendous personal growth during my son’s first year. I learned so much about myself and about life, and came out of that first year with valuable life lessons. My confidence was still growing.

At the end of that first year, I learned I was expecting a second baby. The thought of two babies under 2 was mind blowing. With mixed feelings of a confidence and doubt, I prepared for the arrival of a second precious life to come into this world.

Now, my first birthing experience was actually quite traumatic. It was more like a nine-day-long nightmare. This experience left me slightly terrified but also slightly determined to take a little more control, which is something I didn’t have the confidence to do before. My second birth ended up being a much more enjoyable experience for me, although I let my fear take control and agreed to be induced and eventually have an epidural. I did insist on rooming-in with my daughter even though the nurses suggested on several occasions that I send her to the nursery so I can get some sleep. I also insisted on going home early the next day even, though my doctor suggested I stay in the hospital one more night to make sure breastfeeding was well established. The instincts within me were becoming a little more defined.

The real change within me happened when I looked down at my 1-month-old nursling, all chubby and thriving, and realized that it was my body and only my body that sustained this precious life. My body did just as it was supposed to and produced the milk to nourish my baby–no bottles, no formula, just me. At that moment, I felt a wave of realization come over me: I was extraordinary.

In July of 2010, I embarked on yet another womanly experience: natural childbirth. More confident than ever and armed with more information than I could possibly retain, I began to plan my perfect birth. A lovely, serene home water birth would welcome my third baby into the world. With all that I had learned, how could I walk away from this experience?

All the preparation in the world, though, could not have prepared me for the deeply spiritual and life-changing event. I felt as if I had been let in on a secret kept by all mothers before me since the beginning of time: that I am powerful, primal, connected and creative. That’s heavy! It connects me to them, and now I have that same wisdom to pass along to the next generation of mothers to follow.

The experiences of Womanhood and Motherhood are incredibly powerful, and for some of us, they are the defining moments of our life, as without them we wouldn’t be the fierce women we are today. I believe with all my heart that, for me, this is true. The place of deep understanding and appreciation for myself that I have attained through experiencing motherhood could not have been reached any other way, and I am forever grateful to my children for giving me those experiences.

Sarah Dubé, 30, is a stay-at-home mother to 3 children: sons Hayden and Oliver (who I was pregnant with when the author wrote this), and daughter Lily. Sarah had an amazing home water birth with Oliver, but that’s a whole other story. Sarah and her family live in a small Northern Ontario town called Bruce Mines, which is just a blink along the Trans-Canada highway.  The kids just love it here as they get a lot of freedom and fresh air.  Sarah spends most of her time doing Mommy things, and her husband is a trucker. Sarah’s hobbies include photography, writing and star gazing.

Cloth

Cloth NewJ

As I carefully held you, my little parcel, I remember wishing the cloth away, wishing that there was nothing between us. You see, we had been linked your whole life. I had felt every hiccup and every stretch.

As soon as I had the strength to sit up, I threaded you gently in between the lines attached to my IV sites and pressed you against my chest. But the clean crisp cloth felt like thick cold walls between us.

As the weeks went on, I wrapped you in cloths of many different colours and custom ties. You were fashionable, cute and cuddly. You were pink, blue and green. Yet amid the colours and patterns, I saw only your eyes, the soft sweep of your brow and the curl of first smiles.

Then we found stretchy cloth and it seemed never-ending. It took a hundred times of wrapping and unwrapping, tightening and loosening, before one day, I caught a glimpse of us in the mirror and realised that I hadn’t even noticed completing our cloth origami. And that is where you stayed. Snuggled into me and listening to my pulse, just as you had from your very first heartbeat.

In time, I could wrap you against me with my eyes closed…with both of our eyes closed.

We would face the winter like this, snuggled together, cosy and warm.

We would breeze through outings, walks and errands in exactly this position.  You, me and our cloth.

As you grew, the stretch seemed to shrink and new cotton was bought. This cloth was bright and strong…more supportive for a sleepy head to rest in. This was the first cloth that you asked for, that you spoke about and that you wrapped around your teddies.

What was once a barrier, cold and unknown, has become a link between us. It is handlebars for our journey, a shawl for warmth. It is easy. It is fun. It joins us as one, even though we are now separate, little one.

When you were born, they wrapped you in cloth, but you’ll be wrapped in my love forever.

 

Signed…Better Late Than Never

Hello all,

I wanted to share this letter below that I received today. I am deeply touched that this person, identity unknown, took the time to express himself so openly and honestly. I hope we can all read it and take something from it, whether we are parents or not.

 

Dear Sandy,

I’m probably not your average reader. I’m a single man without kids.

I take responsibility for the path I have chosen to follow in life and the dreams that have never come to pass because I have never followed them to see where they would lead. Still, there is a part of me that wonders how much different my life would be today if I had a mother who had loved me, the way you love your boys.

I wasn’t yet in the first grade and I remember going to bed at night, looking forward to the hugs and kisses my mom would give me. I loved her so much and couldn’t tell her enough times or kiss her cheek often enough. Then a moment would come, before bed, when she would tell me that she’d had enough and it was time for bed. I would ask her to tell me just one more time that she loved me and she would refuse, telling me that it was getting to be a bit much.

I would begin by asking nicely and when she refused to tell me that she loved me, just one more time, I would begin to beg, “mom, please tell me that you love me, please.” “No”, she would say. “Now go to bed and quit being a baby.”

I remember the feeling of going to bed wondering if I had upset my mom and if she even still loved me at all. In the morning, I would wake up and look for a smile on my mother’s face or a hug to reassure me that she did in fact still love me.

It was this one event that continually reoccured. She quit tucking me in at night because of the fuss it would cause and this is what began the deterioration of my self confidence. From that point forward I remember that I would never hear her say, “I love you” often enough. Even when she did say it, I doubted whether she really meant it or was just saying it so that I would behave.

The feeling of insecurity that comes from believing you must earn your mother’s love, is damaging beyond belief to a child. When I made this observation last week, I began crying uncontrollably.

I just want to say, “Thank you for showing me what love looks like.” From this one observation I have been able to take back control of my emotions and I have a confidence in myself that I have never had before. Now, for the fist time in my life I truly feel comfortable in my own skin.

Signed,
Better late than never.

Thank you, Mr. single man without kids, for your kind words and for allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I respect you for looking at yourself, and your upbringing, and for being open to learning and growing. I am so happy you are comfortable within your own skin and I wish you so much love and happiness in this life. We all deserve to be loved and I do believe that the need for LOVE begins at birth and continues on always. I am so delighted that you get to move forward and live your life from a different perspective and with a newfound confidence. Much Love and Respect.

Please always tell the ones you LOVE that you LOVE them. Please do your best to show it by being patient, respectful, loving and kind. We all need to hear it and feel it. I choose Love always and I am sending my Love to all of you.

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