Friday, May 13, 2011

Growing Into Parenthood

I recently mentioned an article I had read about pre-baby marriage counseling to a dear friend who just had her second baby.  She just happens to be a counselor herself and is interested in training to provide this kind of counseling.

You should check out this April 28, 2011 Wall Street Journal article, So Cute, So Hard on A Marriage, by Andrea Petersen.  It is interesting reading and makes a lot of valid points.  People don't know how stressful having a baby can be until they do it themselves.  Partners also don't understand the kind of pressures and stresses having children can put on their marriage.  So the idea of getting some pre-baby therapy could be pretty darn helpful for folks, I'd think.

I somehow managed to stumble upon the May 4th follow-up Letters to the Editor (I am not that dedicated of a reader).  I found it amusing and disturbing that it was under the heading "Relax and Accept Parenthood Joyfully."  Well of course we all want to relax and accept parenthood joyfully, but when it comes down to it, there is a lot of work that needs to be done which makes relaxing rather difficult, and there are many times when joy isn't exactly the emotion we are relating to.

From the tone of the letters, I am guessing they were mostly written by folks who have grown children and who have forgotten how demanding being a parent of young kids can be.  The letters unfortunately appear to be anti-therapy and rather traditional in mindset.  However, one particular letter from Sue Cuthbertson of Yucaipa, California, really stuck with me: "It takes time to grow into parenthood.  Take a deep breath, don't expect a bed of roses, and love each other, remembering that love is an act of will.  Then, when your children reach adulthood, you can exhale together and pat each other on the back for a job well done." 

I thank Ms. Cuthbertson for drawing attention to the simple truth that it does take time to grow into parenthood, and I imagine we all do it on different time lines.  Perhaps this is another factor which influences how successful marriages will be in navigating the ups and downs of life with kids.

All in all, I've always thought that people generally don't speak openly about difficult subjects (like having babies).  There is an important distinction which is often overlooked; just because you acknowledge the difficulties of parenting, it does not mean you are not grateful to be a parent.  I think if folks are wise enough to get a bit of advance training, it will only help them on their journey. 

This one is for my sweet friend, K, over at A Mama Being.  

1 comment:

Mamabeing said...

Aw, thanks sweetie! And thanks for posting the link, can't wait to read it. Maybe it will be part of my PR one day. ha ha. I'm glad you talk about all of it, it helps us all feel less alone.