Now that I can no longer claim to be a young mother (let’s just say that my daughters are young mothers) I like to think that I have gained some amazingly wonderful insights into the whole business of birth and motherhood!
If you have read my book, A Glimpse of Heaven, you know that I have four children that have given birth to and 2 children that my husband and I adopted from Russia.
I was determined as a young mother to stay home with my children. I was a pretty typical run-of-the-mill LDS mother who exercised lots of creativity in figuring out how I could maximize time with my children, maximize our income, minimize our expenditures, and minimize my time away from the home!
I believed President Benson’s admonition to stay at home with my children rather than pursue a career. And….there was that something inside my heart that couldn’t bear the thought missing out on all of my children’s ‘firsts” in exchange for a career. However, I can’t honestly say that I understood…really understood what my sacrifices for my children were about or what they were accomplishing.
Fast forward to our adoption…then fast forward 5 years after our adoption was finalized and VOILA….I understood. I understood in ways that I could have never understood before.
It was about five years after we adopted our children from Russia that I learned about an emotional condition called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I had personally been dealing with two cases of RAD for 5 years but I had not understood what it was that I was dealing with or its causes.
You see…my two Russian children were removed from their birth parents for neglect and abandonment. As a result of not receiving the care, nurturing, and love they needed as infants and young children their emotional well being was greatly impaired.
What I learned is that when a child does not receive the care, nurturing and love that they need – the appropriate development does not occur. Reasoning ability is delayed or not developed, the conscience is impaired, desire to engage in loving relationships is dismally weak and desire to engage in strange, controlling behaviors is frustratingly strong. For example, my son once deliberately failed an honors class not because he wasn’t capable but because he wanted to show the teacher who was really in control.
In the normal development of a child, the first five years is very important but the time between the ages of 6 months to 18 months is especially critical. It is during those months that a child learns to trust. That’s why we often see babies become so attached to their mother’s during that time of their life.
As a child learns to move and become more independent, they need to learn that we are there for them. They have a dirty diaper and they fight us when we want to change them yet our changing their diaper communicates our love for them and that we are going to take care of them. They try to climb something dangerous and we don’t let them and they learn that we are going to keep them safe. They try to hit us and we teach them hitting is wrong and they may cry unhappy tears but they know that we are providing boundaries that they know will help them be secure.
During those formative months and years that we carry our children within, give birth to them, and then raise them are soooo precious. It is through our presence and our care (physical, emotional and spiritual) that we are able to teach them that they are loved, that there is a safe place for them in this world, and enable them to develop in the very ways that Heavenly Father designed for them to develop. So the next time your baby cries as you leave for date night or your energetic children are exhausting you – smile! Something wonderful is happening! Know that your endless hours and daily care are making a magnificent difference!
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