My name is Jaime and I would like to tell you a little about myself and my life. I believe that what I have to say might take on more meaning if you know where I come from.
My childhood was rocky, which really isn’t a new theme in this country. Most of us came from homes that lacked in certain areas and frustrated or stunted our growth in certain ways. I will insert here that as a child, I witnessed a lot of yelling and had a step-father that was very angry and as I got older, he got more abusive both verbally and physically. Truth is, none of us are born knowing how to be a good parent. There is no manual and our parents do the best they can with what they had to work with. That is key. In my childhood, there were good parts as with anything, however, some of the bad parts shaped who I would become as a parent down the road.
As a teenager, I became very angry and rebellious and my anger was getting me into trouble at school. I eventually was told by a doctor that I was bipolar, and rapid-cycling at that, which is stupid-insane-hard to treat. He gave me some medicine that made my stumble around like a drunk and then the next day I felt like crapping rainbows. Well crapping rainbows didn’t fit in with my angry and rebellious persona, so out the window they went. I spent many of the next few years telling myself that I didn’t have any problems and that everyone else had the problem.
My journey in parenthood began in 2000. It was the best thing to ever happen to me. I have to say though, that I knew nothing about parenting. My childhood didn’t prepare me for parenting and I knew that some of the things I had hated about my childhood I didn’t want to pass on. I also didn’t know how to parent differently so I didn’t even have a clue as to where to begin. I didn’t know anything about wearing my baby, I didn’t read any books in preparation. I didn’t know anything about natural birth and certainly didn’t intend to practice it. I was still very angry even though I had come a long way. Once my daughter was two, I thought that because she was talking that she should understand everything I told her to do. I screamed too much and was very impatient. I made her cry a lot. I think she was scared of her mommy at times. Heck, I didn’t even realize that kids are still growing teeth when they are two. I took great care of her physically and loved her the only way I knew how, but realize that maybe I didn’t do the best for her emotionally. Looking back I regret this and realize that we learn our initial parenting skills from what we experience as a child and in order to change, we have to have a strong desire to pass on something different. We have to learn new skills. Perhaps if I had been willing to admit that I had a problem while I was a teenager, I would have been able to be more balanced for my oldest’s early years. Looking back, I realize now that most likely I had an untreated case of postpartum depression. When this mixed with the untreated anger and possible chemical imbalance, I was frustrated and angry a lot of the time.
Over time, I grew and changed and made the decision that I didn’t want to be the way that I had been with my daughter. I didn’t want to look back on her childhood with sadness. I didn’t want my anger from my past to affect the relationship with my family. I didn’t want a potential chemical imbalance to define who I was. Just because I had a bad stuff happen in the past, didn’t mean the people around me had to suffer, especially not my children. I want them to grow up and be loving, caring, affectionate parents to my grandchildren. I want them to look back on their childhood with fondness.
I say all of that to tell you these things:
I have come away from drugs, alcohol, caffeine and even my then beloved cigarettes, alone and without rehab. I have accepted therapy and I learned to not be so angry all the time. I have learned how to practice mindful parenting and patience (it is far from perfect but it is improving daily). I have learned to use medication if necessary and try hard not to feel broken or messed up because I take medicine. I have learned the wonderful benefits of yoga and meditation (even though I struggle currently with fitting it in my schedule). I am way more patient with my first loving little girl. In fact, she told me last night, “Mom, thank you for being so patient with me.” I responded, “Honey, I try but am not always successful.” She shook her head and said, “But mom, you do good because I can see in your eyes that you could be a LOT more frustrated.” I have since had another daughter, and I am able to show my oldest daughter how to be patient with a baby and how to cloth diaper and baby wear. Hopefully she can learn from my example and will be able to show this love to her children.
In my past 8 years as a parent I didn’t become über patient or become the best parent ever (in fact anyone that has tips on patience could send them my way) but I did gain a lot of information that I think could help other parents in similar situations. In these years I have went from the unsure mother who couldn’t fathom breastfeeding and only tried her hand at wearing baby in a baby bijorn to a mother who breastfeeds, crochets hats, makes her own wraps out of jersey fabric, makes slings out of sheets, is cloth diapering and will be making my own baby food. I have made the transition from being a train wreck of a parent who is ashamed to look herself in the mirror to a parent who is learning to model patience, caring and empathy (most times). I am learning to breathe and trying to learn to play. Playing is my hardest part, I feel like I have forgotten how to do that without feeling annoyed.
I know the struggles that I have overcome and I believe I have something to offer to parents who are looking to make the change into more peaceful, loving, natural parents. This way of parenting certainly doesn’t come naturally to me and I have to learn new things constantly. Every day I wake up and remind myself of the challenge to be better today. I know how long it has taken me to find all the information that I have acquired so I hope to share it here to save my clients and friends some time! I am learning every day and am far from perfect but I feel this is a good way to learn while sharing. If you find that you would like to make some changes in your parenting, It just starts with one step. Once the ball is rolling you will find that the steps become easier.
In this blog you will learn how to apply mindfulness to daily parenting, you will hear about the books I have found have been instrumental to change. You will also learn about cloth diapering and other methods of natural parenting. This blog will start with my birth stories because that is the beginning of my transitions of mommyhood! I will also try to go back and share how I overcame addictions and things of that nature. If there is anything you would like to know, please ask!