This is the second week my toddler has been in preschool. She asks the night before if she can go to preschool "tomoyyo" and before we even arrive she yells, "BYE MOM!". Meanwhile, I cried for 3 consecutive nights before her first day and feel a pit in my stomach each time I drive into the parking lot.
My husband, a professional family therapist, has done his best to 'talk me down' as they say... He reassures me that she has a secure attachment with us, that she is confident, capable and excited to be there. And that she is safe and cared for where she is. He is right on all accounts!! Why then is it so hard for me to see past all logic and rationale, and still have such strong emotions regarding her going to school?
I think back to my pregnancy. As a vessel for our unborn children we do everything we can to create a healthy environment. We take our prenatal vitamins, we eat well, exercise (when we can peel our butt off the couch after endless self-talk negotiating), we do yoga, try out positive birth affirmations and spend endless time reading, playing music and talking to our babies. When we finally hit 38-40 weeks we beg and beg our babies to EXIT!! Come out baby! Let's go baby! I'M ready baby! One of the toughest lessons of pregnancy is SURRENDERING. Learning to t r u s t our bodies and babies to go and grow at their own pace. To position themselves as they should be and to come out when they're ready. We learn, one way or another, that we have zero control over these babies. They will fit in our wombs as they want and they will arrive when they want, regardless of how much acupuncture, chiropractic work and chanting we do. And, if you're anything like me you've tried it all! Pregnancy is step 2 in letting go. (TTC is really step 1...but that's a story for another time!)
And then there's parenthood. What a trip! Its a constant battle between wanting to provide the best for our children and trusting that they too have a compass within and can make decisions for themselves at even the youngest age. We try EVERYTHING to get them to nap. I've made deals with the devil to get this child to close her eyes. Yet, ultimately, we see in hindsight that their timing has its own logic. Their rhythm is unique and when we surrender to that, the schedules, routines etc seem to fall into place. And that happens over and over again at different stages. In fact, "trust her" has become a very useful and powerful mantra I use. When she would cluster feed for what felt like hours on end as an infant. When she would feed every hour through the night during a growth spurt. When I feel like I could scream because she won't nap or won't fall asleep unless she's laying on me touching my face for an hour at night. Trust her. Trust her process. Trust her body. Trust that she is doing whats right for herself in this moment. Let go.
L E T G O. All of my crying before preschool was an attempt to hold on to my baby. To keep her completely reliant on me. To save a piece of motherhood that I valued so dearly. I turned a blind eye to her independence, her self reliance, her natural need to grow, explore, experiment. I placed my value as a mother on being the only one who could successfully care for her throughout the day. When in fact, as her parent, my value lies in preparing her to live her life! I have been reassured time and time again since I began my journey to conceive, grow, birth, and raise my daughter that the best way to hold on is to let go.
I know I will still cry before sending her off to school each year. And I will still worry for her, feel sad that she's growing up so fast and have (multiple) moments when I wish I could freeze time. However I will surrender, honor the moment, and show gratitude that she is well-prepared to grow on her own. By trusting her and the process, I have set us both up for success. I hope that you find ways to let go and trust your body and your baby. It is certainly a process- and never ending. But the sooner you surrender, the sooner you can make peace with it. Want suggestions on how to let go? Call your doula ;)