Believing in hummanity

Before having children my husband and I truly asked ourselves ,”Do we want to bring children into such a cruel and dangerous world?” “Why on Earth would we want to have babies when the human race has evolved to be heartless and selfish?” We’ve all seen daily horrific acts of violence and terrorism playing out on the news and sometimes in our own communities.  School used to seem like the safest place for a child – now parents have to worry about cyber bullying, bomb threats, shooting sprees, and other human created terror where our babies are being educated – not even movie theaters or marathons seem safe anymore. “Who in their right mind would want to have kids in such a scary world?!”Its easy to be scared and hard to be brave.

After much thinking and soul searching, my husband and I came the same conclusion – even though the world is frightening, we would do our best to raise children who had capabilities to change the world for the better. Lofty goals, yes, but shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land in the stars. We knew and hoped that how ever many children God blessed us with, they would have every opportunity for greatness.

The world only seems like a dark, dismal place if we let it.  Our world is what we make of it for our children. Doom and gloom stories lead newscasts.  A professor of mine once proclaimed “If it bleeds it leads!”. When are media outlets going to realize heart touching stories are just as compelling as heartbreaking sagas?! I want to hear about the lady who, out of the goodness of her heart, raised thousands of dollars for a family in need … I know these stories are out there! We deserve to be informed (with unbiased, uncensored, truthful facts); we don’t always want bad news – GIVE US SOME GOOD NEWS! Help people believe in humanity again.

Besides the news, us moms have people in our daily lives constantly forcing us to question our mothering skills and our direct link to humanity.  Its amazing how a mother-in-law, grandmother, or even a friend can make you feel like the worst mother in the world.  Aren’t they supposed to be in our corner? They surely know how hard being a mom is? Maybe we don’t give them enough credit, or maybe we set our expectations for them too high.

Despite all the negativity in our society, there is great news – there are normal people in the world! People who empathize with others, compassionate people whose spirits and peace far outnumber the evil and spiteful.

Just when I couldn’t become more disillusioned, I finally had a girls night out and met a girl who was 35-years-old, a lawyer, and absolutely gorgeous. After some ice breakers, she informed me her husband of tens years left her a few months back – he had been cheating on her with numerous women, one of which was her good friend. They were even in the process of finally starting to try for kids after years of focusing on their law careers. She was completely blindsided. At the end of the conversation she was so thankful and professed, “Its so good to meet people who are normal. It helps me believe in humanity again.”

Human nature leads us focus on the negative more than the positive; but imagine the world we would live in if more people took their individual struggles and tried to find the silver lining. Even when our wounds are raw (like my new friend’s), we have the ability to follow her example by finding grace, dignity and triumph during tragedy. Easier said than done, but even a positive effort can change perspective!

Our decision to have children became easy – but being a parent is tough and the most difficult, rewarding thing a woman can do.  As moms we have to guide our children with our hearts and intuition, but also teach them the world can be scary and wonderful all at the same time. I hope my children come to think of me as compassionate, understanding, loving, truthful, loyal, protective, giving, and most importantly admirable – the opposite of the few monsters in the world.  Children first see the world through the eyes of their mothers.  Stay positive but don’t ignore the world, because we can always find light in the darkness. And remember, the good really do out number the bad.

The day my husband and I became proud parents.

The day my husband and I became proud parents.

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“Unideal” Congratulations

When we find out we’re expecting baby, how do we expect people to react? My husband and I had been married a year and half (previously dated 4 years before with a year long engagement) so total we knew each other five and a half years before we got pregnant with our first baby.  We were very lucky that everyone in our family (to our knowledge) was thrilled.  Even though it was confirmation that my husband and I had indeed had sex, our parents were ecstatic about becoming grandparents. “Congratulations you guys!” We were lucky.

But what about those couples, or mothers, who don’t experience the “Congratulations”?

Every circumstance is different; the teenage mother, the unmarried mother, the “not sure who the baby’s dad is” mother, etc..  How is society supposed to react to these “unideal” parenting situations?

My family has been in an “unideal” situation.  I come from a very conservative, and extremely traditional family – you graduate high school, get a college degree, get married, and then maybe have kids. How was I supposed to react? “Congratulations” sure didn’t seem like an appropriate term of endearment in the circumstance.

In reality, I somehow felt I was encouraging the situation by giving a literal “Congratulations”  and in some way making them feel their “unideal” pregnancy was acceptable.  What a horrible thought right? Of course there were other extenuating circumstances that prevented me from being able to verbalize “Congratulations” and the ever present family dynamics.  But what is the appropriate way to react?

During a recent trip to Wal-Mart I was scoping out the baby section and noticed a very young couple browsing baby clothes – I swear the girl couldn’t have been older than 15.  I wondered to myself, “why on earth are high schoolers looking in the baby section?” Then my answer.  Another couple from their school greeted them and asked them why they were looking at baby clothes. The young giddy girl answered … “Oh we just found out we are pregnant and we couldn’t help but look at stuff.  We are so excited!” The other couple seemed shocked and asked when she was due. “We just found out so we’re only about 8 weeks along.” The couple answered “Geez Congratulations.”
I wanted to run over and say … “Don’t buy anything! Save your money! Kids are expensive! You need to go to college! AHHHH!” I kept thinking, this girl has her whole life ahead of her and this is the decision she is making.  

Again, what a horrible thought right?  

I suddenly felt this rush of guilt. Who am I to judge what someone else?

I don’t think anyone is ever truly ready for kids; so sometimes the perfect arrangement can be unideal.  Every situation, every person, every pregnancy is different – so maybe our reactions should reflect this. Does a woman who decides to have a baby out of wedlock warrant the same “Congratulations” as an expecting married couple?  All I know is that my mom has always said, “treat others as you want to be treated”.  So no matter how hard it is to conjure up an unideal “Congratulations”, the right thing to do is show your feelings through a card, a gift, or a smile.  Sometimes your reactions and actions are the ones that are most remembered. And let’s face it, no one has ever lost sleep over being too nice.