Friday, March 2, 2012
Notes on Parenting . . .
Is there a dark place in every parent that makes us capable of killing or abandoning our own offspring?
It is a miracle to me that more parents don't kill their children. Yes, I mean that sincerely. Noted psychiatrist, Walt Brackelmanns said, "We are all fu@%ed up (all of us), it's amazing we get anything done."
When I work with parents and they ask me, "do you have kids?" I know what they really want to know is, "have you ever felt overwhelmed/exhausted/helpless/powerless as a parent? have you ever experienced the urge to kill or abandon your own child but managed to contain yourself somehow?"
Do you understand the vulnerability that parenting creates? Do you understand that it is like ripping your chest open with your bare hands and pulling out your very own heart to send to school, child care and into the world everyday?
"Will you work with me and not judge me for the dark place, pain and ambivalence that exists in all parents?"
"Will you support and empathize with me as a parent and not just feel sorry for my child?"
If we love kids, then we need to love their parents. I mean, REALLY love them - nurture, guide, listen, understand deeply, offer genuine praise, provide a meal when they are too tired or dis-spirited to cook, respite child care, and so on. This is true for any parent, but especially critical for a parent with a mental illness. We all need help sometimes. All of us. There is no shame in that. That is what community is for - for thousands of years this has been so. We need more loving, supportive, and connected communities. Amen.