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This Birth Would’ve Been This Mom’s Worst Nightmare! It Didn’t Stop Her From Loving It

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 26 April 2023

My partner and I had asked all the big questions as we got ready for the birth of our son. We'd prepared ourselves both physically and spiritually for what we expected to be a smooth, beautiful childbirth assisted by our midwife.  It just never occurred to me that we would need anything besides each other to welcome our child into this world.

How do you feel about your childbirth experience? In which ways, did your experience help you to bond with your baby?

Growing Up Different is OK! What Autism Has Taught This Mom About Raising Her Daughter

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 16 March 2023

One of the hardest challenges with raising a special needs child is trying to keep people, including us as her parents, from attempting to force her into being a "typical" child. Jackie is different. She will always be different, and I celebrate that difference.

How do you allow your child to be different? How do you allow yourself to be different from other parents?

I Love You When You're Angry

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 7 March 2023

I never felt like I could get angry as a child. My parents sure did, but I got the message loud and clear that I was supposed to keep the peace, be good, and above all, never ever lose my cool. As a parent, I found myself getting angry at my child for being angry.

What if I let my daughter be angry? What if I just listened and empathized but didn't try to fix it?

Falling in Love with Our Children is Scary: 3 Tips to Make It Easier

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 14 February 2023

Falling in love with our kids is a daring thing to do. Love opens us up, wide open: no armor, no defenses. We're naked and vulnerable when we're in love. Love is powerful. It's not just cupids and chocolates and diamonds. Love is raw, open, vulnerable, crazy, courageous, light that shines on every dark corner, every unmet need, and everything we don't want to look at.

When can you practice bravely allowing yourself to fully love your child?

New Year: A Time to Pause and Reflect

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 10 January 2023

Like cooking turkey on Thanksgiving or giving flowers on Valentine's Day, I cannot help feeling the tug of this time of year to pause and reflect. Yes, January 1 is just the next day after December 31. But it feels like a beginning, and the part of me that loves rituals and traditions always comes forward with thoughts and questions.

What are your questions?

Give Your Child (and Yourself!) Rest From Being Compared to Others

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 27 December 2022

Comparing seems to be part of human nature. We compare ourselves to others. We compare our children to each other and to other children. Practicing how to refocus from comparing to appreciating makes it easier to see our children, and ourselves, as lovingly unique individuals!

What are your child's strengths? What are your strengths?

How This Mom Reset Holiday Expectations, Lowered Stress, and Found More Family Fun (and You Can, Too!)

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 6 December 2022

Later, when we were listening to Christmas music as we were putting up the tree, I didn't even try to make up a story about how decorating was going to go. I just experienced it as it happened and that was enjoyable. I hope to be able to do the same through the cooking-decorating parties we've been invited to, our town's tree lighting festival, caroling, and whatever other holiday events we've got on the calendar.

What happens when we plan ahead, but events don't go as anticipated?

I Love Doing Art, Just Not with My Kids: How I Got Over Myself and You Can, Too!

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 29 November 2022

Underestimating the amount of mess that can be made with two cans of shaving cream was a grave error in judgment on my part.

While the whole point of art is to enjoy the process and not worry too much about the end result, I lost that focus while gazing at pictures of magical, snowy trees and imagining my kids making something similarly cute.

What lessons have you learned, or relearned, through experiences gone awry?

Celebrate Your Village!

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 22 November 2022

Warm relationships with other adults sustain us when we're struggling or feeling isolated. These "villages" are our connected communities of caring adults who support us in nurturing our relationships with our children. 

The idea is that “our people” come alongside us when it’s hard, help us answer our questions, encourage us to grow into our roles as moms and dads. And we do the same for them! That’s what it means to be part of our village.

What does your village look like?