What I've Learnt... From A Love You Can't Conceive
My start is not the start and early life my children have had. At around 2 years old I was removed from my drug-addicted parents and placed in a children's home.
I was adopted and later sent away to boarding school, suffering abuse of various sorts in both instances.
This is not a hard-luck story. This is a story of the sheer transformative power that comes from having children and the indisputable gift of parenthood.
I met my beautiful wife whose daughter had just turned 8. The road of step parenting has been rocky at times, to say the least. That could be a story in its own right....
She fought me hard but I could see her fears, empathy, and consistency won through. These are things I have learnt are so powerful in parenting.
I'm touched to say that today this amazing 17-year-old young lady calls me Dad. The lesson here is that the power of just being there is so strong. Presence through the years and containing their emotions and helping them to understand them is something vital.
On the 1st February 2013 my first child was born. Tears come to my eyes just writing this. We named him Morris. Perhaps, after Johnny Morris the old children's tv presenter? We can never be sure how the name came about?
My wife gave birth to him at home in our bed. I had never experienced such primal power in my life and my admiration and love for her swelled. There were complications towards the end but she was determined, so I was determined for her.
I did all I could to be steady for her, taking little breaks when I could to pray and meditate in the toilet. These moments were very brief as if I wasn't massaging her or feeding her an endless stream of chocolate, I was in trouble!
My first born was the happiest day of my life. To have this experience of my own flesh and blood is something I can't begin to explain here. I knew now, so deeply that life had new meaning and that with new life everything had opened up. I was consumed by a love I had not comprehended.
On the 22nd of September 2015 my second son was born. We named him Ernest. Originally going to be called Ned, we changed it last minute before signing the birth certificate as we felt he was too sombre for Ned (we couldn't have been more wrong!).
We had another home birth and this time I caught him. I'm welling up again as I recall his warmth and fragility in my hands.
Incidentally, whilst writing this blog I did a little google search on Johnny Morris and discovered that his full name is Ernest, John Morris. I had no idea. I'm a little freaked out. It's like the spirit of Johnny may have somehow entered us around the time of naming our children. I did play his stories to Morris in utero....
My heart can feel like it's full to capacity with pride and love for my children. Then they show me something new, some new expression or echo of their mother. They dance in some bizarre interpretation of a song, talk sweetly in their sleep, show me a little more of who they are and capture me completely.
These things and infinity more, incrementally build on the love I have. It is this kind of love that I don't think can be conceived until you have your own children.
Yes it can be tiring and at times you can be going out of your mind but they are a blessing that defies description. The pure light that emanates from them charges me daily.
There are a few things that I have learnt are key in this...
They have a life of pure acceptance. This is unconditional positive regard. I am not over compensating with this for what I lacked growing up but I more than some understand the importance of this is raising children with feelings of healthy self-worth.
I'm not perfect at this but I strongly believe in complete connection with my children. This involves empathy, putting myself in their tiny shoes and meeting them where they are at. I don't want them to feel alone and not understood. This has worked wonders, especially in regards to helping with tantrums. I can't help but give them a bottomless love and I like to think I have very secure children.
With these things I hope they will be as strong, balanced and happy as they can be. I'm devoted to giving them this parenting but I like to have these things to keep going:
My counselling course studies (Thursday nights out)
Writing, children's stories or just my journal
Chatting with friends
And dedication to my business as a gentle parenting consultant
Harry (Dad to Laura, Morris and Ernest) x