I’ve often heard it said that parenting is the gradual process of letting go. To me that saying always made me feel a little sad, like from the beginning I had to start saying goodbye. After having three children of my own though I’ve realised that the process of letting go isn’t actually so, it’s just the way that we parent our children that changes and adapts to them getting bigger.
When our babies first arrive in our arms, be it through natural birth, C-section, adoption or surrogacy, they need us and that never stops. Sure, as newborns their needs are so very clear. They need to be clean and fed. They need to be warm. They need help with burping and winding and they need love.
As they grow and develop though, the ways in which we parent our children changes. All of a sudden your baby is no longer a newborn. They don’t need burping the way they once did. They might not need your help getting off to sleep. But they do start needing other things. Things they didn’t need before, a different kind of parenting and a different kind of love.
"All of a sudden your baby is no longer a newborn." Image: supplied.
As they find their feet and start exploring the world around them, they enter the world of bumps and falls. Now you’re no longer a mum of a newborn with newborn specific needs, but you’re a mum who’s needed to cuddle, to console. Your baby needs you to make it all okay, to fix up the grazes and bruises. They need you to walk with them, assisting with those first few steps. You need to be their eyes, looking out for dangers they are not yet aware of. Your love needs to be there when another child hurts their feelings, it needs to cover and protect them when something mean bursts their happy bubble.