I can remember the first time I said it.
It was just days after we brought him home from the hospital.
I was standing at the makeshift changing table finishing up a diaper change.
And he was crying.
I picked him up and snuggled him close into my heart.
And, to my deepest surprise, I said it.
The words I never thought I’d say.
From some very well meaning place, engrained deep inside my unconscious, the words bubbled up without me even thinking.
“Oh Baba, don’t cry.”
And, in that moment I experienced for the first time, the dreaded mom-guilt.
Holy, shit. I can’t believe I just said that.
“I’m so sorry, sweet boy. Mama didn’t mean that.”
“Let it out sweet boy. I hear you and I’m here for you - no matter what”
And, that moment, I made two vows.
One to him.
And, one to me.
To him, I vowed I would do my best to never, ever say that again.
I mean, I wrote the book on this stuff.
Crying is a perfectly natural self-healing mechanism.
And, if we want to create a society that is actually good at grieving, we have to let our children grieve - no matter what.
And, to me, I vowed, that when I did say it, I’d be kind to myself.
Because, patterns are hard to break. And, this one was obviously deep.
And, if we want to create a society that is actually good at grieving, it has to start with the self.
Radical self acceptance - no matter what.
A few weeks later, after several other well-meaning visitors said it, I made a third vow.
I vowed to speak up.
I vowed that I’d tell the well-meaning visitors that “crying is okay in our house.”
And, I did.
Even though I’m shy and I hate to rock the boat...
And, even though my hands tremble and my voice shakes, I still do.
Because if we want to create a society that is actually good at grieving, we have to speak our truth - no matter what.