Monday, June 16, 2014

A Parent Grows in Hearts

After successfully making it through the mom and dad holidays of the last two months, I find it necessary to share a little tidbit that's not been settling with me well. I've seen folks post things like, "Happy Father to Be" to a man who's partner is pregnant or adopting. Or "How was your first Mothers' Day?" to a mom with a 9 month old baby. Guess what? These people are parents from the second they learn of this baby. It may not be the same parenting, but that's the awesome (and albeit, sometimes really challenging) part about parenting; it's always evolving. We dedicate time, energy, and love to this new being as soon as we know it exists. We plan, we dream, we worry, we read books, we change our behavior, we google at 3am, we talk to friends and family, we listen, we love. All of those things fall under the job description of "Mom" or "Dad". He's not a Father to Be; he's a father. She isn't celebrating her first Mothers' Day; she's been a Mom for over a year. It is when we recognize the depth and the timing of these early relationships as parents that we can truly understand the greatness of pregnancy loss. The title of Mom or Dad is not earned the minute a happy, healthy baby is born. Instead it begins months, even years, earlier. To say that is the starting point discounts so much of the experience, including some of the really hard parts. Anyone that has had the honor to parent knows that it is in those hard moments that your real parenting muscle gets toned. Parenting is accepting all the dimensions of love, and for so many that begins long before the baby rests in arms, but rather when it grows in hearts.