Seeing the World as a Parent

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” 

― Debra Ginsberg

It’s been over a year since I’ve paid any attention to my blog. It’s been a momentous year and a half. If I thought my pregnancy was eventful with the Graves’ Disease diagnosis, the last stretch was even more so.

The past year has been tough. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, filled with love and tears, good times, great times, bad times, miserable times. If child birth and breastfeeding was painful, the post-partum depression broke me. As I fought to keep my grasp on who I am in my changing life, I have watched the world around me crumble and tear itself apart. Bomb blasts, killings, war, violence, I have had to stop watching the news for a while. My already fragile self found it hard to handle all that hatred. I could not bear to see more people suffer. But watching children die has been the worst. Little sparks snuffed out even before they could blaze. And every time, I find myself asking, “Why God, why does it always have to be the children? Why bring those pure souls into this world just to make them suffer the most?” I’m not a religious person. My idea of God is simple: Love for fellow beings. But prayer has been my refuge in times of despair. And how can I not? I have become acutely aware of every parent’s worst nightmare, losing their child.

Image of a parent holding the hand of a child
Photo Credit: Elf-8 via Compfight cc

When I was 35 weeks pregnant, I woke up one day to a terrible rash that spread all over my body. My skin felt as if it was on fire. After two of the worst weeks of my life, I ended up in the hospital where the nurse running tests informed me that she was checking to see if I have obstetric cholestasis (OC). It is a condition among some pregnant women which affects the liver and causes intense itching. She told me if that turns out to be the case, my baby could be dying inside me. It took a while for those words to register. Though she assured me it’s unlikely, those words stayed with me. Luckily, the results were negative and I went on to give birth to a healthy baby. But those words, they are still with me more than a year later. Just the thought of my child dying was unbearable to hear. And here are families, killed, wounded, fleeing war zones, families losing their loved ones, parents losing their children, and my heart breaks for them.

Humanity is meting out its worst to children. Abused, homeless, torn away from family, covered in blood, washed up on a beach, innocent lives that look to us adults to keep them safe. I want to hold them all, to make them feel safe and loved. To look into their eyes and tell them they matter, that they are loved. That everything is okay. So I pray. I pray for those children and those families. I pray that God’s love and grace shines upon them and keeps them safe. I pray that they have a roof over their heads, a warm safe bed to sleep in, food on their plate and their loved ones by their side. The tears come and I imagine their faces and I feel my heart shatter. And through those tears, I thank God everyday for his grace. But for the grace of God, it could be my child, my family, fleeing my home, risking our lives, and yet be kept at bay by most of the world under suspicion of being a terrorist out to hurt their families. I thank God that I get to hold my child at night and watch him fall asleep. That I get to see him laugh.

Through all these times, I have come to realise a few things. As a parent, I see the world differently now. I’m more aware of the lurking dangers that could hurt my child. But I have felt more love, more gratitude, and more faith than before. I remind my self that I must. How else will I teach my child to live without fear? How else will I equip him to carve out his own place in this world? How will he know about compassion and empathy for all life, if he doesn’t see it in my life? Being a parent makes me want to create a better world for my child. Perhaps that’s what our world needs, for us to see it as a parent. No, becoming a parent is not for everyone, I understand that now more than ever. But the love that a parent feels, the desperate urgency to make our world safer, better, kinder, cleaner, if many of us felt that, could we not make that happen? Why? Because we love. The kind that sees beyond my child and my family, and sees them in other children and other families. The kind that stares into the eyes of hatred and says, “No I will not bow down, I will not give up. I will not let you hurt my child.” The kind that meets terror and fear mongering with resilience and kindness. The kind that wants to hold all children and make them feel safe and loved. The kind of love, that sees this world not just for what it is, but for all that it could be, and believes that that dream, that world, is worth fighting for. The kind that tells us to be the change. That’s the world I want to leave for my child, for every child.

Yes, I believe in that kind of love. Do you? Share in the Comments.

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