I see as you’re struggling, and I have so much compassion for you. For the nights you lie awake worrying about your kids, the moments of guilt after you scream because you’ve reached your wit’s end, the painful goodbye as you leave your crying child at school or cry as you leave your child, the anxiety-filled silence as you wait to find out why the counselor is calling you, the ache as you fake a smile and trade pleasantries with the other parents as you wage internal battles, the loneliness and isolation of the new mom up with a hungry baby at 3am longing for rest and simultaneously guilty for having that longing. Parenting is filled with the most beautiful experiences of connection and pride and love, joy and excitement, and also the most vulnerable, raw, intensely painful moments, most of which people don’t talk about, but I hear about them all the time.
I have supported hundreds of parents now as I’ve worked with children for the past 15 years. And now that I have a child of my own, I too have ridden the highs and lows, felt unparalleled love but also been through sleepless nights, deep postpartum depression, tear-filled daycare dropoffs, sick visits to the pediatrician, googling “is this normal” and seeking reassurance that I haven’t somehow irreversibly damaged my child as I make parenting decisions. I don’t yet know the trials, the pains, or the joys of the years to come. But I know that I want more than anything to give my daughter a perfect life and I know that I will fail – she will have pain, sickness, heartache, and loss, because it’s inevitable – and I feel the fear, the insecurity, the worry that I’ve watched you all come to me to find relief from.
I see you as you fight back the shame and the tears and the fear as you tell me what’s wrong, or admit how long it has taken to get help, or hide the shock when you hear a diagnosis or learn what your child told me they wanted to share with you. These are growing pains, not signs of bad parenting, please know that I know this. The fact you came to me means you are exploring, raising consciousness, deepening your connection to yourself and your child, and this type of growth is not a failure, it is a privilege to get to do and to witness. Your work with me – your healing, your ending a generational cycle of trauma, your learning how to respond to your child- this is the greatest gift you can give your child and it is an honor and privilege for me to be part of it.
I’ve been with you through some hard times and now I recognize some of my own moments in those stories. The grief of losing past norms, the mourning for the loss of the pictured “perfect” future and adjusting to an imperfect yet beautiful reality. The sitting with so much uncertainty, about plans, about parenting choices, about COVID, about everything going on in the world–wars, global warming, name your future nightmare. And also the flame of hope, that our kids are going to be the ones to change things, the faith that the future will bring some really amazing and beautiful things for our kids and for us as parents that we can’t even imagine yet.
I take so seriously this responsibility to hold space for your stories, offer connection during the lonely times and witnessing for the thankless work and invisible pains you suffer from, to walk with you as you figure your way out of the scariest times of your life as you try and fail and try again and succeed in helping your children during their times of need. It is a privilege to be trusted to do this work, especially now that I see just how incredibly vulnerable and difficult it is to be a parent. To learn again and again that you cannot control, fix, rescue, heal, or solve every situation, to disappoint or hurt your loved ones, to see them suffer- these are universal discomforts and parenting birthrights and by going through all of it we learn about our strengths, the depth of our love and patience and compassion, and the gift that we can truly offer our children- not our perfection, but our real, connected presence.