Although being a parent is the greatest joy of my life, if I must be completely honest, it is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I thought it would come naturally, because I had always longed for the day I got to become someone’s mom. But what I realized was, I was so detached from my own inner voice, my own needs, that it was next to impossible to understand what my child needed from me. I had to reconnect with my inner spirit before I could make sense of, or have the strength to really dive into motherhood. But when I did, I became the person I was always meant to be.

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She was lost, but motherhood dug her back out, dusted her off and said “your authentic self is needed. This shell of a person will not do for these precious little one’s.” I did not see myself as worthy of living a joyful authentic life, but I did see my children as worthy of having an authentic attachment figure. So despite the immense urge to curl up and hide, I instead pushed forward with my self-reflection and self-discovery and found my inner voice.

She was so quiet in the beginning. A little squeak saying “can you please pay attention to me for a minute, if it’s not to much trouble?” But I kept listening to her, I kept giving her space to feel heard and validated. I spent time understanding her needs and then meeting them. And as she felt more heard, more nurtured, she became louder. Before I knew it, her voice took over. She now fights for her place in my mind, but she is heard, and she takes up more and more space everyday.

Responsive parenting requires so much intuitiveness and connecting with yourself, it can be scary for those of us who have been trying to survive by detaching. Being a mother does not force you to attach, it gives you the hard choice between being your authentic self or trying to ignore all your inner thoughts and feelings. Both are difficult in their own ways but the journey you take with your authentic self can only improve the quality of your attachment relationship with your child. While choosing to block yourself off from all the emotional energy emitted by your family and yourself, can be quite damaging to one’s spirit and their relationships with the people around them. It is a protective fear response; avoidance. Being authentic is standing up in the face of fear and saying “no, I won’t let you control me. I see you, I feel you, I choose to listen to myself instead.”

Being authentic and listening to your inner voice can be uncomfortable when we’ve been conditioned to try and minimize and ignore our own feelings. The first step to understanding your child’s emotional needs, is actually understanding your own.

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