THE STAGES OF PARENTHOOD
by J. Farnum May 18, 2008
From the cradle to the grave once you become a parent you forever remain a parent. The stages of parenthood from birth until death are full of joy, surrender, heartache, laughter, love, hate and faith. You as a parent will be stretched by anything you can imagine and you will make it through it all. Follow me as I share with you my ideas on the miraculous stages of being a parent.
This statement will no doubt incite debate but parenthood begins at conception. I will go a step further and offer qualifiers to my statement. In each of my pregnancies I knew the life I carried would be precious and special. I saw that life inside existing on the outside my body. I saw the hand I would hold, helping to walk and the day I would let that hand go to walk on its own. I considered the eyes that would hold mines full questions that I would provide answers. I foresaw smiles, tears, joy and laughter. For me and many others we will not falter when we state parenting began at the moment of conception. In this I feel firm in assigning conception as the first stage of parenthood.
Stage 1: Conception
No matter whether you did or did not plan to conceive you have at this point entered the first stage of parenthood. It is a stage of wonder and awe. You as a parent will experience many changes, adapt, and adopt many philosophies about your particular style of parenting. In this stage you will become visualize and opinionate. You will search and research many ideas, techniques and possible avenues about the pregnancy, birthing methods, early childhood developmental stages and question every aspect for what feels right for you.
As you singularly or jointly develop and progress along in the pregnancy feeling life maturing and preparing for the entrance you need not feel foolish at second-guessing. Second-guessing will become a close friend. Whether the seasoned parents admit to the familiarity of second-guessing or not; we all have it as our constant companion. The second-guessing constantly reminds us all of our vulnerability as we parent. Second-guessing does not constitute unworthiness, inabilities, or inexperience. Second-guessing serves to foster nobody is an island. The adage that it takes a village to raise a child is true . In stage 1 during the conception phase you will need a team. The team will consist of qualified medical professionals. The obstetrician, midwife, nurse, pharmacist and the supporting staff for the next nine months or so these individuals will be instrumental to your parenting.
The day will arrive and there will be no delaying it life will come forth. In the instances when does not remain, it does not cancel that it did exist. You will have experienced the first stage of parenthood nonetheless. The journey is unending as life continues you move forward to providing for life outside your body.
Stage 2: Birthing
Life coming forth from you marks you have given birth. However, stage two, birthing or birth is the introduction to the world. Here is the record of existence; the emerged life has not been before this moment. A date and time will be certificated and registered on an official document. A name will be bestowed. Presence will begin to connect with personality, search for familiarity of voices and tones. The heart of a child and parents are merged in the first stage of conception. This stage is shorter than the other stages but it is profound.
Stage 3: Bringing Baby Home
Going through the door and settling in with your baby the first day may seem overwhelming. You will experience joy, fear, and host of other emotions. As visitors come and go each bring gifts of encouraging words some that will be of benefit now and some will be used at a later time. Bringing baby home is symbolic for the next eighteen to twenty-one years. It is not relevant how many babies you bring home, it more important to for you and baby to feel at home.
The doors you open for you and your child have to give comfort. When you enter the door to home, you are opening a door to a haven. This haven is a place where you commune, contribute, and connect. Do what is necessary to keep the door from creaking. The creaks are symbolic of the annoying distractions of life. No doubt you will have creaks—stuff that interferes with the settling comforts of parenting. The disobeyed curfews and the piercing in parts you as parents cringe at. There will be musical differences and forbidden friendships forged but if you can recall your yesterdays you will know your baby will have brighter tomorrows.
Stage 4: Cutting the Ties that Bind
No cut will be as deep. The moment will arrives when your parenting reaches a supersonic level and the hearing of your child grows faint. They hear only the high pitch shrill of your guidance. The road they chose to take has signs of error, danger and failure. You as the parent have the ability to see through the fog and you see it clearly the mess just ahead. Offering gentle advice, is met with the famous, “Oh please.” You repeatedly, cringe because you cannot stand to see the pain the trouble path will bring. Here in stage four you must realize the ties that bind must be cut. Cut, yes cut, it is the only way for true growth to begin. It is a double edge sword, it cuts both ways. You will be cut and your child will be cut. The cut will allow the infection drain. Infectious discarded advice, angry words and closed minds has to be cleansed for your relationship to be strengthened at this stage. The drainage will produce a foul stench and it will ooze of mess you will not like. The antibiotic is harsh; it requires you to keep from judging, offering advice and saying I told so. Your child’s development here is essential to you cutting the ties that bind.
Growing an adult child is more complicated than insuring their development in childhood. Life has many of the same hard lessons in-store for your child as it had for you. Life will bring decisions to make that will not be plain to them, but you have the answers only you cannot provide them. The proof for this walk of life is that your child needs walk it alone. The proving point for them comes through suffering and struggle. It is their solo flight. Support them with belief that shows you know they will make it through the journey just fine.
Stage 5: Befriending
Cookouts and cook-ins pull out the old family photo DVDs and pictures and smile at the memories made, the ones being made now and those in the making. Through the good, bad and indifferent as a parent you made it. Not every day is just what you expected, you could never prepare for every unexpected circumstance. In stage five, befriending is being okay with it all. Do not hold life close to the vest; let some of life go by smiling despite the near misses and messes. You parent forever and a day and I will have to write a few more parts to this article. (Laughing out loud)