“With my first child,” Beth explains, “I was so young, so immature. I didn’t know what I was doing. I had an emergency C-section, little time to bond during the first few hours’ post-op, little support upon our homecoming, and she was colicky during a summer heat wave! It was hard. I still have regrets.”
She continues, “My second child was way easier. I had a successful vaginal birth. My baby was so round and wonderfully calm and easy. It was a cinch.”
It probably doesn’t need to be said, but Beth does note that with her fourth child, she never let her leave her arms. “It was a joke amongst the maternity ward nurses, ‘Are you going to let us see the baby at least once before you leave this hospital?’”
Beth and I conclude our discussion with two discoveries:
First: it wasn’t until Will was in her arms and able to bond, that she could love him. It is their family love that clearly contributes to Will’s continued survival.
Second: that in our shining moments of courage we rarely give ourselves credit…we continue to compare our insides with others’ outsides. We tend to find examples of people coping with the same pain or courage challenge, but dealing with it better. We think of the exceptions and the exceptional—the Lance Armstrongs of the world.
Why do we begrudge ourselves our most human, vulnerable moments and force ourselves to be better? Perhaps it is those very shining examples of courage that encourage us all to be better. If only we could let others inspire us with a little more compassion for ourselves, we might soon discover we are the true hero or heroine in our own story!
Beckett, C., Maughan, B., Rutter, M., Castle, J., Colvert, E., Groothues, C., Kreppner, J., & Stevens, S., O’Connor, T., Sonuga-Barke, E. (2006). Do the effects of early severe deprivation on cognition persist into early adolescence? Findings from the English and Romanian adoptees study. Child Development, 77, (3), 696 – 711.
Southwick, S. M., Vythilingam, M., & Charney, D.S. (2005). The psychobiology of depression and resilience to stress: Implications for prevention and treatment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 255-291. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.1.102803.143948