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lani

The beautiful burden of being a parent

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Hello, i am a 30 year old mum of  2 year old and 4 year old. Although i have never really had spiritual peace i believe that since becoming a mother i have become more existentially anxious. I love my children so much that it is quite overwhelming. I feel a big burden that i brought them into this beautiful yet complex world. i am wondering if you know of any good books, pod casts etc anything for children to introduce them to spirituality in an open and relaxed manner (not dogmatic and non specific). Does anyone have any tips in regard how to overcome my guilt as a parent for not having all the answers (let alone the answers that humans have been seeking since the dawn of time). I know from a biological point of view obviously most of us are meant to have children (hence why we are all here). From a soulful point of view i feel a massive weight on my heart that i brought these two wonderful people into the world and now what..... so many unknowns ! Any tips or words of progressive wisdom appreciated :) 

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For children (of all ages) I always liked The Velveteen Rabbit" and "Hope For The Flowers." This are little kid books but they were required reading for seniors in high school when I taught theology.

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Hi lani,

As you point out having children is, at least for most, a natural function from a biological point of view. To me, guilt is a product of judgement. Perhaps you judge yourself too much for something that is ingrained and normal and carry the weight (burden) of their future on your shoulders. The future to me is to be planned for but it is hypothetical in nature and not for the thinking mind to be lived in. I would recommend for you Eckhart Tolle best seller book, "The Power of Now". 

Joseph

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I know the feeling Lani and I felt very much the same when I was going through my period of anxiety and depression (which coincided with my kids being about 2 & 4).  My wife was also experiencing post natal depression and we didn't recognize it for that until she sought help.  I know there can be a stigma associated with depression/anxiety but I would encourage you to consider talking to a professional if that might be a possibility.  There's nothing wrong with that and both my wife and I found such a process exceptionally beneficial.  I am not saying that is your predicament, but it could possibly be feeding into your anxiety about your children.

I don't know where I read it and I have since had trouble locating it, but I remember reading a a story around that time that I found particularly comforting.  It went along the lines of this:

A distraught mother had her three young toddlers in a bath, preparing to drown them.  She was distraught with the thought that if she didn't raise them properly that they might not 'choose Jesus' and would go to Hell.  She thought it better to kill them now as innocents so that they would see heaven, than take the chance of raising them and they possibly end up in Hell.

In distress at the thought of killing her kids the woman cried out to Jesus saying "please don't let me do this - take my life instead and spare my children - grant them life with you".

To this Jesus replied "Woman, if I loved you so much that I was prepared to die for you, do you really think I could allow you or your children to be separated from me".

Now I could have the story wrong (wherever it was written) but that's how I remember it.

For me personally, it just made me think that if there is anything 'existential' or 'spiritual' to our existence, whatever it is can only be a good thing in the end rather than a harmful thing. If my kids (or I) get it wrong in our tiny blip of an existence on an eternal timeline, then I'm certain that whatever 'higher power' might possibly exist, it would understand.

This in turn has allowed me to better accept the day to day.  I ponder spirituality and religion, as I do life in general, however i feel no compulsion to 'get it right' or for my kids to.  In the end, they will simply work out for themselves what works for them.  Sure, guidance is important in life, and opening up our children's minds to the possibilities of all things (not just the spiritual) is a burden that all parents practice to different degrees, but I rest easy knowing that what works for them, will be what works for them.  

I hope I make some sort of sense.

Cheers

Paul

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Thank you Paul this is very helpful !! I am a mental health social worker/psych and have no issues at all accessing regular support as I have to face a lot of tough things in my job. I didn't get anxiety or depression when they were babies, quite the opposite! I was in a big blissful bubble until 6 months ago (they are now 2 and 4). I believe a combination of turning 30, my complex work challenges and simply loving them and life so much has lead to my existential difficulties. Your post has helped as i need to consider that it is natural to bring children into this world and love hopefully is the overarching component behind and to our existence (and hopefully the spiritual domain). It can't all be on me!!

 

Thanks.

 

 

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I think loving your kids and letting them know you don't have all the answers, is more than enough!  I'm sure your kids will be just fine with a loving mother like you.

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8 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think loving your kids and letting them know you don't have all the answers, is more than enough!  I'm sure your kids will be just fine with a loving mother like you.

Amen!

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Thank you. A mothers love sure is incredible. It's going to take me a while to settle into not being at the whim of the universe whilst tying to create love, safety and routine for my little ones. 

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