Wednesday, February 6, 2013

First Lessons in Parenting

8 years ago today was a day that I don't think I will ever forget.
It was the day we went in to have our first ultrasound,
to check on the well being of our first baby.

I was nervous that day.  I had been having a large amount of blood loss.
We were trying to find out why.
The worst case scenario I had in my mind was
Placenta Previa and a necessary C-section.
It turned out that Placenta Previa would've been great news,
compared to what we got.
The tech told us our baby had something called Anencephaly.
We'd never heard of it.  What did it mean?
It meant that being born would turn out to be fatal for our baby.
He would not be able to survive for very long, once outside of my womb.

On February 6th, we found out that we would see our baby die, and soon.
We only had a few months of being able to parent Gabriel.
But we learned some life changing lessons in parenting
(and about love in general).

We loved our son.
But we also knew that our love would not change the course of his life.
Our love, as parents to child, was not about him making us proud.
Our love for him would not take away the hard stuff.
Our love for him would not make him into a better person.

Our love could only be about giving;
Genuinely giving all we had.

Sometimes we as parents, (spouses, friends, whatever),
get our actions of loved mixed up with actions of control.

We tell ourselves if we love them enough, then they'll love us enough.
If we love them enough, their life will be free from hardship.
If we love them enough, they will make all the right choices.

But not really...

Love is about giving.  It is not about results.
Love is powerful.  Don't get me wrong.
But the power of love is something we don't have much control over ourselves.
As soon as we start controlling with it, and trying to accomplish our will with it,
we aren't actually giving our heart in love anymore.

This lesson in parenting that our firstborn helped to teach us
is a key foundation for adoption.
Are we nervous about being the right parents for this child
who is currently a stranger to us?
Yes, if we're honest, we are.
Are we worried that he might have "problems"?
Are we nervous about the way he will "turn out"?
No, not really.
Not because we think he will be problem-free, and we are sure he will "turn out" well.
It's because being a parent is not about controlling the child and the end results.
But being a good parent is a lot about loving your child well.

Loving well is about giving, and not controlling what is done with that love.
Just love all the way.  Give it with joy.  We don't know what that love will accomplish.

This song, "All of Me" always reminds me of Gabriel.
Matt Hammit wrote this song when he & his wife were given a diagnosis
for their baby (still in the womb) that could be fatal.
I think the message can apply to a lot.
It's about loving all the way,
even though there is nothing sure about what the love will accomplish.


sarah said...

thanks for sharing your heart. one of my dear friends just lost her baby to Anencephaly and my heart breaks for any mother who experiences loss. loves.

Anonymous said...

My heart was deeply touched by this entry. What perfect timing. I just found out last night that we face a court battle for the adoption of our 8 month old baby who has been with us since she was born. We need a miracle...God is in control and is all we have to win this battle.