This is a video I wanted to do last year but never got around to it and now’s as good a time as ever.
So myself and my wife were at a prenatal course last year and there was a big group of couple’s, round 40 people, all ready to be first time parents. We were broken into smaller groups of 5 couples where we had to some exercises but a conversation started about the delivery and who will be allowed into the ward. And there was one girl saying how her mother will insist on being there and her mother won’t leave the hospital and how she’ll be very hands on and really emphasised how much support she has from her mam and i started to think of the other couples and what of they didn’t have any relationship with their parents…what would it be like for them to not have that support on their life.
As a lot of you will know and as I’ve learned, having a baby is all consuming and you don’t really have any time for yourself. But if you are estranged and in great emotional distress as a result, your self-care needs to be on point: diet, exercise, talking to others when you feel down…but sleep is a huge one. And you will be sleep deprived, compounding your distress.
Having a baby emphasises many great things about in life but it can also highlight the family loss…both past losses as well as future losses as your child(ren) may never have a relationship with their aunt/uncles/grandparents…and possibly adding an extra layer of guilt to the situation.
Then there is the question of how do tell your kids about estranged family members…and will they want to connect with them in the future.
But one of the biggest concerns I hear is parents being fearful of projecting our one hurt on our kids. We internalize so much of our upbringing that it can seem like an uphill struggle to not react with frustration, impatience, etc. But there no perfect parents…only parent who try to be conscious and aware of how they are in their relationships and course correct if necessary. It is important to have a partner who gets what you have been through and keeps you on the right path without judging. But then they will make mistakes aswell and your experiences are important. But balancing parenting styles will be a challenge and may be a source of stress between you unless you can work colaborately.
And the fact you are aware of the hurt you carry and how it might impact your kids is important and gives you a head start over many who refuse to go inwards. But its equally important to act on your concerns and contine to focus on working on yourself, processing the hurt and striving emotional stability and safety.
My latest video discussess the challenges of starting a family while you are estranged.
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