The marvel of motherhood

by Sandy Gordon Frankfort on May 26, 2015

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me and pThe Friday just before Mother’s Day, I was going about my daily business and realized I hadn’t looked at my phone for awhile. As I went to grab it, I saw a screen filled with missed calls and text messages. I scanned it for any pertinent information, and my heart dropped as I saw the words: Your Mom is in the Emergency Room. Please call.

Editor’s note: As part of Attachment Parenting International‘s celebration of Mother’s Day, APtly Said published a special “Inspired Mothers” series May 11-17. Sandy was so excited to join in the project when she had a family emergency, as she explains in her post today. API is grateful for her belated contribution, and we hope you find it inspiring, too.

In that moment, every memory of my mom shuffled through my brain — everything she ever sacrificed for us, everything she never experienced, everything she justified living without to be our mom. In that moment, I realized once again how powerful and important the role of a Mother is in each of our lives.

My heart expands each day as I look around and witness the miraculous power of men and women raising little human beings. I consciously breathe in the significance of each person I pass by. I observe the Mothers, the Fathers, the Children.

I feel tenderness and empathy as I contemplate each of you. I thoughtfully consider the whole family cycle and everything in between: the extraordinary, undeniable love that either existed as we were created, or did not…the feelings each person had in making the decision to create another life or living with the fact that the decision wasn’t yours.

We are each the product of a mother and a father. We were born. We may be raised by a mother and a father, a mother and a mother, or a father and a father. However we came to be, however we were brought up and nurtured, we are here.

The process of conception to birth is unlike any miracle I’ve ever witnessed or experienced. Although we may not quite comprehend the marvel that a precious life is growing within our bodies, everything changes the moment we first see the eyes of our child. Everything changed for me. In that moment, I knew my purpose was much bigger than what I had ever known it to be. I knew this new role I was being given would fulfill me in ways no one could have prepared me for.

As I walk around and continue to ponder your depth — your soul — I question if you ever lost a life growing inside of you, at birth, soon after or ever. I am crying as I write this, because I have dear friends in my life who have. I cannot write about the beautiful, precious gift of motherhood and exclude the dear, courageous women who have lost a child. I know there are no words I can offer. I can only tell you that I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry. I truly embrace and cherish each and every moment I am given, and I know you do, too.

Although I may be emotionally and intellectually aware of how invaluable these moments are, this doesn’t mean I don’t question if I am doing all I can to live my true happiness, my true purpose. I am trying to find my way each day. I feel everything. I let the joy, the pain, the fear, the love, all of it, become a part of me…and I allow it to guide me as I continue to take each new step forward.

Within it all, we find ourselves. We lose ourselves. We grow. We change. We live. We love. We know the answers, yet we question so much. We want to do our best, be our best. We don’t want to make the same mistakes others did before us.

My mom is much better today. The emergency thankfully has passed. She has endured more than I can explain, and she is still here. As I spend time in hospitals and share my love with those who continue to suffer, I will continue to treasure every moment I have with her…with the ones I love deeply…with myself. Many lose the battle. Many are given more time. This is our time. I know this, and I want to live it.

I know loss. I know you do, too. My heart and love are with you. May the things that have caused us pain give us strength. This is my wish for each of us.

Wishing you a belated and Happy Mother’s Day, every day.

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Responding with sensitivity when it’s hard

by Alexis Schrader on May 21, 2015

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bracelets-2-799181-mAs an API Leader, I frequently give parents guidance on ways to respond to their children in different situations. But the truth is, I don’t always follow my own advice. As all parents know, it’s one thing to be removed from a situation and think about solutions rationally; it’s quite another to deal with a public tantrum or a kid who won’t go to bed when you are exhausted and frustrated. That’s why it’s important to have tools at your disposal to cope with these situations before they arise.

First, it’s helpful to become aware of how often you respond in a way you’d rather not and what triggers those responses. Some parents use stacking rings or bangles on one side of the body, and move one to the other side each time they respond to their children in a way they’d rather not. A jewelry-free option would be gently snapping a rubber band on your wrist. This helps you become more conscious of how you respond to your children, and any patterns that provoke a certain response.

As for preventing an unwanted response, here are a few ideas:

  • Do some kind of physical activity, such as running around the house, jumping up and down or dancing. Exercise helps the brain process stress that might otherwise be directed toward your children. It’s also pretty funny for little kids to see Mom or Dad suddenly jumping up and down, which can diffuse a stressful situation.
  • Sing what you would like to say to your child. Singing prevents you from yelling and tends to gets kids’ attention more easily than talking, because it’s out of the ordinary. It also forces you to control your breath, which will help to calm you down.
  • Have a mantra that calms you down. You can put it on sticky notes around the house, write it on your arm or just repeat it to yourself. Bonus points, if it also makes you laugh. My personal favorite is yelling, “Serenity now!” (Try not to feel better after that. It’s impossible.)
  • Leave the room. I’ve had parents express concern about this, because it seems similar to a timeout. The difference is, a timeout is a controlled response by the parent to the child. Leaving the room is helpful when you know you can’t control your response, and it will be less damaging to your connection with your child than what you might otherwise say or do. Take deep breaths, scream into a pillow, whatever you need to do to calm down. When you come back — or before you go, if you’re able — you can explain to your child what happened: For example, “I was feeling frustrated, and I needed to take a break to calm down.” This can be a great opportunity to open a dialog with your child about negative feelings and healthy ways to deal with them.

Even with these tricks, don’t expect to be a perfect parent all the time. We all make mistakes. Just be sure to take time to reconnect with your child when you do. Try to keep your stress levels low by taking time for yourself, and do the best you can.

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Editor’s note: This post was published originally on Oct. 25, 2008, and it continues to give timeless inspiration to parents seeking connection at meal time: All this talk about presence has made me re-examine some of the good, and bad, habits my family has fallen into. When I was a new mom, and therefore full […]

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Editor’s note: May 15 is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, on observance designed to increase awareness of Kangaroo Care and skin-to-skin contact. This is one of the many ways that mothers and fathers and their babies can benefit from Attachment Parenting International‘s Fourth Principle of Parenting: Use Nurturing Touch. Today is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, a […]

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Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey. I am […]

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May 11, 2015
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Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes every mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day on May 10 and every dad is looking forward to Father’s Day on June 21. This week, in honor of all mothers, API gives you a special “Inspired Mothers” celebration. We hope these posts inspire you in your parenting journey. Growing up, […]

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