Sunday, April 1, 2012

parenting: don't trust your instincts

"Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey 'people.' People say different things: so do instincts," C.S. Lewis

About a month ago, Cece and I were sitting on my bed looking through some keepsakes. She was asking me about her footprints from the day she was born.

"What is this, Mommy?"

I explained how her footprints were made.

"Was I scared?"

(I paused.) "I actually wasn't there."

"You weren't there, Mommy?"

"I wasn't there when they did your footprints, but your birthmom was there. I came a few hours later."

"You mean you didn't sleep with me in the hospital?" 

(Pause again.) "No, I didn't. I visited you every day, and you were safe with your birthmom until your daddy and I took you home with us forever."

We have an open adoption, so Brian and I spent precious time with Cece's birthfamily in the hospital the first two days of Cece's life, and on the third day, we brought Cece home. Our instincts certainly would have prevented us from wanting an open adoption, but advice from those who have gone before us and a lot of research about adoption shows that giving an adopted child the gift of knowing her biological family is huge. In addition, truth is freeing, and we are not afraid of what is true.

From the huge in our family to the small, I am realizing that instincts are not what parenting should be based on. While instincts and intuition are different, I really believe that parenting well usually doesn't happen naturally.

Instead of my instincts, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me know how to answer Cece's questions honestly. I have to trust my Heavenly Father to heal the wounds in my children's lives, and lying to them to protect them will only do more harm. It's hard not to want to keep your child from experiencing any kind of pain, but those are usually instincts talking, not what is truly best in the long run.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for sharing this. I needed to hear this. Instincts fail. Holy Spirit does not. thanks again. and bless you. nothing but love.