A few months ago, I talked about the personal blog that I used to keep to document my pregnancy and the first year of the diva’s life. Today, I’m sharing another little nugget of the now retired blog – an entry about the shift that takes place when you have a baby, which still holds true today.
When you have a baby, a shift happens in your life that is very unexpected. You know when you’re trying to conceive that you will be your child’s protector and when she is born, you must care for her and provide all of her physical and emotional needs. You begin doing this (or most of us do) the moment you get two lines on the pregnancy test, or as in my case, the moment you decide to have a baby. You begin to nest and clean and clean. You avoid alcohol and artificial sweeteners, meats cooked less than well, dippy eggs, too much salt, the list goes on and on. The shift doesn’t happen here though.
When you hold that baby in your arms for the first time and your eyes lock, you realize that you have to do much more to protect her than cleaning and avoiding dangerous substances, you must protect her with your life. It’s not a conscious realization. It just happens. Any toxicity, whether it be germs or negative people, becomes a threat to your child’s well-being. Before the baby arrived, you weren’t as sensitive to the hostility in the world. You just dealt with it.
But then you realize that you don’t have to “just deal” with the toxicity. You actively work toward providing a safe and happy home. Just as you buy hand sanitizers and baby gates and Clorox wipes and drawer locks to protect your baby from physical harm, you begin to analyze the people in your life to ensure they are going to support you in raising a healthy, happy baby.
You make sure to tell your spouse you love him every day and continue to build a strong foundation for your family. After all, she will learn about relationships and love and anger and empathy and compassion and frustration from watching the people in her life. Will she learn to fight fair? To share? To deal with stress in constructive ways? To care about others no matter how different they are? To love to learn? To have respect for others? To be a productive member of society? To have ambition and a strong work ethic? This is all up to you. When you realize this, that’s when the shift happens.
So you remove the toxicity and seek out loving, caring people to provide an emotionally healthy world for her. But you know you can’t protect her forever, so you do your best to raise her so that one day she becomes a woman who respects other people and expects the same. She becomes someone who is brave and hardworking and loving and, most of all, happy. She becomes a woman who will be the first person to offer a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on, but will never, ever allow anyone to treat her poorly. And then, one day, she too will experience the shift.