So What is Conscious Parenting Exactly?
Whether you are a brand new parent or moving through the years with multiple children, the road to discovering the parenting style that resonates with us can sometimes be confusing. In a digital age with many different philosophies and titles to go along with it, I felt it necessary to get clear for myself why I choose Conscious Parenting & why I coach other conscious parents on a similar path
Conscious Parenting is more of a practice than a philosophy.
It encompasses all my beliefs about motherhood (in my case), womanhood, spiritual development, personal evolution, and holistically raising children, knowing they need nourishment for mind, body & soul.
Perhaps the best way to start is by telling you how I got here in the first place.
One might think I have always been spiritual, gentle & intuitive. But that wasn't the case for me. I quite literally was dragged through my inner darkness, coming up for air and gratitude along the way.
I married Wes young, knowing we wanted children, was enough to get me pregnant at 23 in Italy on our Honeymoon, hopping trains intoxicated on wine and pizza. Pregnancy was a joy, mixed with longing & impatience. I didn't prepare in any way for birth. Nobody told me that I was about to enter a right of passage. This wisdom was lost to my generation and at least the three generations before mine.
Nobody told me that I was about to move through the transformational life stage of motherhood, which would last until the next great change in mid-life.
Nobody told me that I would become a whole new person, leaving this girl that I thought I was behind forever.
I was taught or indoctrinated; rather, in nursing school, that birth was a medical thing. You know, it should be done in the hospital if you want it to go well, with all the necessary interventions and the "expertise" of the doctors. I quickly and willingly gave up all my rights at the will of doctors and nurses at the birth of my first daughter. It was invasive, painful, and unnecessary I learned later.
I was completely disconnected from my own body, my soul, and my innate wisdom.
The greatest lesson and most profound change happened when I looked at my changed body after giving birth.
I Agonized for 42 weeks about the changes that would come, the clothes that I would need to try and fit back into.
The stretch marks that appeared at 38 weeks, with Just four weeks more to go!
I looked at my reflection in the mirror (I can see it like it was yesterday). Naked except for the disposable hospital underwear, and giant postpartum pad wedged between my legs.
Breasts were unrecognizably swelled and beginning to engorge with milk.
A tummy deflated and marked with the tattoos of Brynlee. The precious angel bundled & resting steps away from me now.
My higher self spoke to me then, "Oh Elisa, how silly all this fussing was." It was a message from the depths of my soul, recalling the shallow & insignificant thoughts and worries about my body.
I was, and still to this day, as I reflect now, in a complete state of awe and bowing gratitude for the miracle of life, for this body that knew how to create new life from a place of love. An intelligence & complexity that my mind did not understand. I engaged in a pleasurable loving experience with my partner, and from that came her. 1/2 me, 1/2 him.
I could see him in her. I witnessed him cry for the first time, as he greeted her and locked his finger in her hand.
She was perfect in every way.
As I stared back at myself, I knew I wouldn't trade my marks for anything. I promised that I would do everything in my power to cut the cord of body shaming. I would honour this body and work at caring for it in a way that was healthy and balanced. To serve me and no one else. To be a positive role model for her.
This was the birth of Elisa as a mother, and the renewed birth of my consciousness as I remember it.
I fumbled through motherhood, following everyone else's advice, and not listening to my inner wisdom, no one to tell me how to reconnect, no one to help guide me — only opinions and books that didn't help.
I let her cry to sleep on many occasions, often crying myself to sleep too, knowing it all felt so wrong, but didn't see another way at the time. This rock bottom was dark, full of guilt, and shame for the disconnection I was feeling. I loved being a mom, and I loved my daughter, why the heck didn't I just "know" how to handle all this?
With my next pregnancy, I found myself in a growing alternative scene
I didn't resist it for long, because it resonated so deeply.
I began to plan a different birth and postpartum experience for myself & my baby.
This time my birth rocked! I was so empowered, and in turn, motivated to continue with this new way of perceiving my own needs and the needs of my children.
I ventured into the attachment parenting world, learning everything I could about child development and secure attachment. Whoa, this world is backwards!
Brielle never went to sleep crying; it was a completely different experience.
But I still held the clutches of control when it came to feeding and sleeping schedules, creating different challenges that I would learn to release with my next two daughters.
With my last pregnancy, I ventured further into the holistic scene, securing a midwife, planning a peaceful, natural water birth, with no interventions.
That is until I found out at 20 weeks that I was expecting twins!
The midwife dropped me, but thankfully I found one of the few OBGYN's who would allow me to deliver vaginally as long as Baby A was headfirst.
At 39 weeks, I laboured peacefully under my terms until 9 cm. I let my guard down and didn't fight the doctor's fear-mongering & insistence to have me deliver in the OR, with an epidural "in case" of emergency. I later learned there was no indication that this was necessary. It was just how she liked to deliver twins.
Again my body grew two more humans. i was humbled, and swimming in gratitude.
I had regrets about the invasiveness of their birth, Baby B was breech, and they pulled her out of my body. A traumatic entrance for both of us. But they were here, healthy, and thriving at the breast. I took them home the next day.
I did everything the hard way this time. Exclusively nursing, co-sleeping, tandem babywearing, cloth diapering.. You name it.
And I'm positive I couldn't have done it any other way.
So the motto of my story is "when you know better, you do better."
Its never too late to start following your intuition, tapping into your innate wisdom. This is conscious parenting.
Conscious Parenting is the hard way. No doubt about it. It involves constant awareness and re-evaluation of the direction of your path.
It involves a willingness to change.
A willingness to take responsibility for your energy, and for the experiences that you are magnetizing.
That responsibility also means making informed decisions for yourself & your family. I question and still do question everything. Noticing our bias, and consciously choosing to see & consider the other side.
I learned that what was best for my babies and I could not be "told" to me from an outside source.
It's not found in a particular book. It's innate wisdom we all carry within us.
Without wise midwives in my life, I had to look within to find the answer to these questions, and then, even more, challenging was I had to be brave enough to stand firm with the decisions I made. I had to advocate for myself, and children, even defend myself and my choices at times.
I have to face each day with courage, knowing the choices I made last week, or last year, might not be the right choice for today, and that doesn't make them wrong decisions at the time.
I have to embrace change and see the lessons in every single moment, every trigger.
I have to realign myself many times a day, to stay in my integrity, and remind myself of my vision...
This is what I call both Graceful Evolution and Conscious Parenting.
So what's with the other terms?
Attachment Parenting: Parenting using the attachment theory which promotes the attachment of parent and child by maximal parental empathy, responsiveness, continuous bodily closeness & touch.
Gentle Parenting: encourages partnership with your child rather than the traditional authoritarian power dynamic. Also known as respectful parenting
Crunchy Parenting: Parenting with the environment in mind! Usually adopts attachment theory model. Eco-living with baby. Cloth diapers, breastfeeding, homemade food, babywearing.
Conscious Parenting can encompass all of the above, but at the root, it is a spiritual journey, an unfolding of truth, a peeling away of the layers of identity, walls, and safety that ultimately bring you back to your original self, your true essence.
While many find themselves on a spiritual path, for the conscious parent, this spiritual journey involves your children as your teachers.
Through them, you practice karma yoga or selfless service.
A conscious parent is not just moving through the paces,
But recognizes there is a tremendous opportunity for growth, and personal evolution in nearly every moment, and most definitely with every emotional trigger.
Conscious Parents understand that shadow or discomfort is part of that growth, and moves towards it, swims in it, and like the waves recedes, and contracts from it, and then crashes back in to it.
This willingness to heal, and allow the darkness within to surface has the power to change the way the next generations live.
Further, parenthood can be a downright assault on our senses and the nervous system, presenting yet again, another opportunity to rewire ourselves. To find tools, strategies, and practices to evolve with grace & humility.
Conscious Parents understand that we are responsible for the life that we have, and the reactions we have to it. We are accountable for our happiness and cannot place that responsibility onto our children, and attempt to change them. On the contrary, it is our job to remind them that they are completely whole and perfect just as they are.
They are not a reflection of you as their parent.
The conscious parent understands change begins with oneself, one's own perspective, perception, and actions.
A child is a unique soul, on a unique journey that has nothing to do with the parent.
As their first teacher, and you must be taught unconditional love, values, boundaries, and how to learn and question for themselves.
I believe that it's important to immerse them in nature, where they connect effortlessly to the wisdom of the Earth.
Celebrate the rhythm and cycles of nature. Birth, life, death, rebirth.
Let them know no fear around those cycles.
Teach them where their food comes from, how it is grown and harvested.
Sing to them, dance with them, impart no fear, no shame, and no guilt as they unfold, explore and discover their path and purpose.
And finally, the Conscious Parent is aware of their vastly influential job as leader, mentor, and example for their children.
Children will do as you do, not as you say!
They will imitate, & reflect the parent what they see.
As a conscious parent, you can continuously ask yourself this question:
Are you the person you want your children to grow up to be?
If the answer is yes, Bravo! You are on the right path, keep going, keep up the good work.
If the answer is no, then there is an opportunity for growth here, its never too late to be the shining example that you want to be!
If you need support on this journey I am here help!
if you are ready to commit to your own evolution, to parenting consciously, and moving through your journey with grace.
I have a fantastic offering for you!
On November 8th I am inviting you to take part in my complimentary online offering
4-steps to evolutionary parenting that is guaranteed to evolve your soul instead of feeling like your spiritual journey takes you away from raising your children, or that raising your children is not on your spiritual path.
Here is what you will take away:
- Get clear about what you value most, where you want to be, who you want to be, and how you want to show up. Sifting through what is yours, and discarding visions, or goals that do not belong to you.
- How to move in the right direction, create a practice that is for YOU, yet serves everyone else as a result.
- Get into the rhythm by learning to flow with the breath of life, creating structure and balance in the home, so everyone finds comfort in knowing what is coming next.
- Simplifying and systematizing what you thought was complex and difficult.
- Removing the confusion about how to split your time.
- Letting go of the inner conflict and guilt about not being a good enough parent because you are working on yourself.
- Feel confident in leading your family, and making decisions, trusting that you know what is best in that moment.
- Banding with others who have the same conscious parenting standards.
ARE YOU IN?
HERE ARE ALL THE DETAILS:
DATE: Friday, November 8th
WHERE: Your comfy, quiet space via ZOOM online conferencing
I would love to have you join me!