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No one can ever truly prepare you for the beautiful pain that is love and parenting. Children can lead us to our greatest joys . . . and our deepest sorrows. And they are worth every minute of it.
The Beautiful Pain That is Love and Parenting
When you bring a child into the world, you have to accept the inevitable pain that comes with it. Most people expect that there will be a certain amount of pain associated with childbirth. But childbirth is only the beginning. You are creating an independent human with the ability to make you cry tears of joy and sadness. Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have, but it is an experience filled with beautiful pain.
It Starts Early
From the moment they are born, babies can bring a mix of joy and pain. One moment, you are overflowing with love as you hold your absolutely perfect child and wonder over his or her existence. But when that perfect child has been crying for five hours straight and you’ve exhausted all possibilities as to why, the pain can be downright palpable.
Then there is the pain of separation. It may be something as simple as leaving your child at home with the other parent while you run out to the store for a few things. Or, if both of you have careers, there will come a day when you must return to work and leave your child with a “stranger”. Even if the “stranger” is a family friend or someone you’ve thoroughly looked into, handing over your precious child for the first time can be traumatic for both the child and the parents.
Love and Pain As They Grow and Learn
As our babies get older, the beautiful pain continues. You can’t wait for them to walk. But when they do, they drive you crazy getting into everything. Whether it is safe or hazardous is of no concern to them, but for you, the worry is relentless.
You can’t wait for them to talk, but once they do, you can’t help but have moments when you wish they’d shut up. After four hours of being asked “Why . . .?” and being told, “NO!”, you might be at your wits end.
And as babies turn into toddlers and become more mobile on their own, there inevitably comes the day when they fall down hard enough to make themselves cry. They may not be injured at all, but you’ll feel the pain as your heart leaps into your throat. And if they are injured, you might feel like the worst parent in the world.
And Then Comes School
Kids are often excited about going to school. And if your child has been in daycare, you might already think you’ve got this covered. But the life lessons just keep getting tougher from here on out. Your child being older brings him or her more choices and more opportunities to make mistakes.
Sometimes the pain of parenting can come about from having to discipline your child. It can be as hard on you – the parent – as it is on your child. But without instilling a sense of right and wrong, your kid can head down a dangerous path. Teaching your young person compassion, respect, and responsibility is all part of your job description as a parent. As unpleasant as it can be at times, it is an important part of raising youngsters you can be proud of.
Life Experiences As They Grow
We live in an imperfect world where even children can be faced with situations that can cause emotional pain. It may come from their parents’ divorce. It may be a romantic breakup, the loss of a friendship, or even relationship problems with siblings. The difficult part of these emotional pains is that the parent often feels those pains as well. It can be tough to face your child’s pain when you’re feeling your own, but love, guidance, and understanding can ease the process along.
Bumps and Bruises and Fevers (Oh My!)
There are few things that can cause pain and anxiety in a parent like a child who is either sick or injured. All children will suffer from short-term, transient illnesses like colds and flu. Many will incur injuries from playing sports or doing any of the risky things that children sometimes do. These can be trying, but children eventually return to health.
If your child is injured more seriously, however, or will have long-term health issues, it can be very difficult for you to deal with. Birth defects, acquired diseases, or permanent injuries are not for the faint of heart. The good news is that even this pain is no match for the bond of love between you and your child.
We Have Liftoff
It may be the day they head off to a college dormitory. It may be a small studio apartment in the city or a house shared with friends. But eventually your child will grow and take their first steps into the world on their own. Later on, marriage or career may result in your child relocating to a distant city or state.
As much as it may hurt your heart, you’ll realize that this separation is a necessary part of life – a rite of passage. It can help to remember that your own parents dealt with the same feelings. Phone calls, social media, letters, and road trips to visit each other ease the pain of separation through the years.
It’s true that there is pain in love and parenting. But it is a beautiful pain which results in parents realizing they are much stronger than they would have believed. These various pains also provide opportunities for your child to grow and mature. One day they may have children of their own. As they experience their own parenting pains, they’ll remember the example you set and appreciate having such a good parenting model to work from.
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