I was asked to write an article about why I love Aware parenting and Parenting by connection.
I would like to start with a bit about myself. I came to AwP when my daughter Maya was 11 days old. She did not stop crying after being strapped into a hip harness to allow her hip to aline better. We tried so many things to make Maya happy and content. I continuously tried to comfort her with breastfeeding, rocked and walked her and took drives in the car to abate her upset so that she might at last sleep for 15 min. We where exhausted after 2 days because she would not stop crying for long. She was distressed and so where we. Then I found the book “The aware baby” from Aletha Solter in a baby shop. I was relieved to find information about my baby that I did not know before. In Aletha’s book she describes, next to other things, the natural healing power of crying.
Babys heal with their crying, they are highly aware of their surroundings and take in information and need to let things out. Like they need to let out their poo and wee, they need to let out their excess left over feelings from their experiences in their day. The only and very effected way to do so, is to tell you about their life is to cry in your arms. Once their shared those feelings with you and feel again connected with you, they can move on to new experiences or to a deep and restful sleep.
So instead of trying to stop Maya from crying I listened to her. When Maya started crying, I had an internal check-list and made sure that all her immediate needs were fulfilled. When she was hungry I fed her, when she was wet I changed her and made sure she was comfortable, and close to me. When these things where all in place and she was still crying I would just sit down with her face to face and would give her my full attention. When I listen to her cry, I found I felt immensely connected to her. It was a way to get to know her on a deeper level. I got to know her in the ‘normal’ day to day schedule to learn when she is hungry to learn how she interacted and explores her surrounding and when she needing to sleep. And in her crying I got to know her inside more clearly, was she frustrated about the whole learning curve, was she sad or frightened. I was deeply satisfied to listen to her instead of stopping her feelings. After those cries she ether fell into a deep restful sleep or was alert and open to have connection with me. During the day she was a very aware and watchful little girl, delightful to be around her.
In my own healing journey I discovered that when I allow my feelings to flow freely I feel much more connected and alive in myself. As a baby and a child I was many times stopped expressing my feelings of sadness, frustration or fear. I am in no way judging my parents for what they did, they are great parents. They just did not have the information I got now. I learned that painful, strong feelings are not wanted in society and needed to find ways to contain them. My way of containing them was getting sick (head ages and belly ages), eating, and keeping busy. In my early adulthood I realised that my body stored those feelings and that this not really worked out for me. I was a lot sick, depressed and frightened by life and needing help so I began my healing journey. I had lots to re-learn in many therapies, self-help-groups and personal grows groups. My essence of that is: “When I am suppressing my feelings (eating, being busy, watching TV or distracting myself constantly) I feel disconnected and am not able to feel the happy joyful feelings ether. When I on the contrary, look where I feel safe and seen and allow myself to feel all these vulnerable and yucky feelings and express them, I can re-connect to myself and others and live my life more alive, flexible, relaxed and joyful.”
I am passionate about bringing the understanding to parents that all feelings are OK in babies and children and in us, as long as they are met with love and understanding. That we can support the natural ability from babies and children to release feelings so that they don’t need to sedate there feelings in order to fit in.
I would like that parents understand that babies understand way more than we think, that Babies pick up little details in our life, that they have a deep longing to be heard and understood. Lets treat them as equal and support them thru the transition from womb into this world with kindness and an open heart. Lets see them as beings who can transform our life into more aware people, because we can learn from their freshness, their flowing with life, their willingness to express themselves without stuffing feelings down, as we learned so early on. I would like parents to know that babies have feelings and when they cry it doesn’t mean always that they need to rush in and try to fix things for them. Sometimes, when all their babies needs are met, it is just on us, to sit down and be with them and listen to their extraordinary expression, to be curious about their life, because thru their crying they communicate so much and give you an view into their world. A cry does not mean that we do something wrong, it means they feel safe enough to tell you how it is to be in this world. As an infant it is not easy to have sooooo many new experiences. Imagine to come out of a womb where everything is safe and quiet, dark and warm and to come into a world where they need to wear things close to their delicate skin, need to learn to suck in order to get nourishment and to breath to be able to live.
So how would you feel when you are in a say different planet and you know nothing about it and somebody would stick something into your mouth, whenever you want to tell them how frightened or how new your experience is for you? Would you not rather, that this person would come and just sit there and try to understand what you tell them? To take the time to get to know you, want to know you no matter what. Not wanting to FIX everything and be busy trying to work out what you need, but rather take the time and the ease to listen?
I would love to support listening and accepting all feelings in this world, I believe when we really listen and not constantly interpreting feelings as something bad we transform this world into a kinder and nourishing world.