My 8 year old son reached out to the nailpolish and grabbed the brightest, strongest pink in the row and asked, “Can I get this one?”
Fear ran through me: they’re going to make fun of my beautiful boy! But his face was so hopeful and excited! I had two choices: I could tell him no and disappoint him but ultimately save him from being made fun of or I could be respectful and let him choose for himself.
I gave him the money and he walked up to the counter at Sephora and bought himself his first bottle of nail polish.
Allowing your kids to be themselves is sometimes difficult. As parents we can be scared to let go and allow them to experience pain and disappointment. But I reached into my doula self and showed my son the non-judgmental support I’ve been cultivating over the last 10 years in this job and supported him exactly the way he wanted to be supported.
“It’s going to be so fun to put on, Mummy!”
And it WAS fun! And some of his classmates did make fun of him. But, he was fine.
His fingernails were bright pink. And everything was ok in the world. He did something he really wanted to do and it felt great. It made him so happy. That whole first week he walked around flashing his fingers in the air to make sure everyone could see how beautiful they looked.
After that first clutch of fear in my gut I was so proud of him.
I feel the same way when I watch my clients work really, really hard and come out the other side of their birth with their newborn in their arms or after getting help with breastfeeding. I feel so happy and in awe of how amazing they are.
I like to think I’m a progressive parent. What makes me progressive, I guess, is really that I’m trying to be a better parent all the time. This time I was challenged to be truly non-judgemental. It was a lot harder with my kids than it has been with my birth and postpartum clients.
I have my clients to thank for teaching me to let go and for inspiring me to embrace being a modern mother.