Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Letter to Myself and Others Like Me

You are not 'just the parent'.

It is easy to feel that way.  Like you are 'just the parent'.

In the beginning, you bought the books.  There are a lot of books.  Books about baby care, books about development.  Books about sleeping and eating and pooping.  Books about raising children.  And those books told you about normal.  About typical. You took some classes, joined some new parent groups.  You felt prepared.  Ready to take on the challenge of parenthood, to love and raise your beautiful child.  And you learned what you needed to learn.  How to change diapers, how to feed your child, how to soothe him. You were building your story together.

But then at some point you discovered you were not dealing with typical.  With 'normal'.

And the Fear and the Doubt set in.  You went out and found the experts.  Doctors, therapists, teachers, all well-educated, all professionals, and all very well meaning.  Experts.  And they are filled with Knowledge.  They know what to do.  They might suggest, imply that you don't.  That you can't, because you don't have their Knowledge.  You are 'just the parent'.   They'd take it from here.  Or maybe you feel you can't help.  The Fear and the Doubt have made you feel Powerless.

But I am here to tell you:   You are not 'just the parent'.

You are the Expert on your child!

You are!  You have been there from the beginning.  You know her smiles, his frowns, the things that bring her joy and what brings on his fear, sadness, or withdrawal.  You are keenly aware of her strengths and his challenges.  You are the keeper of her history and the foundation for his future.  You love, and because you love, you mean more to your child than any other professional can possibly mean. You must trust yourself.  Trust your instincts, that inner voice that calls to you. 

Now, you might need to read new books.  You might need to learn new skills, skills other parents don't have to learn.  You might need to parent a little differently.  Or a lot differently.  And the professionals you bring in to learn these new skills are there to serve you.  To foster your relationship.  To support you and your child, together.  The good, the very best professionals will do that. They will listen.  They will work with you.  They will hear what you have to say, and respect your opinion. You will be included. Cherish these people, because they are worth their weight in gold.

And don't let the others ... the ones to presume to know better than you... take away who you really are.

You are not 'just the parent'. 

You are the Expert on your child!


Cheryl D. said...

Very true--an excellent post!

Lynn said...

here here! There is no one more connected or invested in my child than ME. And no one knows her better or could ever love her more.

kate hopper said...

Absolutely, Pia. So well put.

Anonymous said...

This post is wonderful! Thank you so much for such heartfelt, honest and supportive writing. This is just what I needed to read. I am going to share this post, I am sure there are many people who will appreciate this as much as I do.

the mamapundit said...

Right on!

Kathleen Basi said...

Excellent post! Frankly, I have no idea how this popped up today--I must have clicked through from somewhere--but it is exactly what I needed to hear today! I'm contemplating quite a note to the teachers and school nurses at my daughter's school, and this is the upshot of my point.

Pia said...

I am happy it spoke to you Kathleen! Isn't it nice when we find what we need just when we need it!


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