The Myth Of The Common Parenting Experience

After a brief recuperation period from my gall bladder surgery, it is back to business as usual. Charlie and I have resumed our regular activity and appointment schedule. However, something is different despite the familiar routine. Lately, I’ve been having the reoccurring thought:

There is no such thing as a common experience.

One of the things that I felt I lost when I became a micro preemie mom is the common parenting experience. Because of this, I struggle with envy and jealousy from time to time. It does not take long for a random parenting article such as “How Your Child Can Become Fluent In A Second Language” to pop up in my news feed and that pang of envy follows. Second language? We are desperate for a few words of a first.

I frequently battled the anger, frustration, and hurt that surfaced whenever I heard someone complain about a parenting problem I wish I had. Worried about having to pay future college costs? I’m busy scrambling to cover my child’s astronomical medical bills now.

Even though I’m surrounded by amazing people, I felt lonely and isolated. I secretly desired to rejoin the “regular” parenting experience. But then, something happened.

One night while seeking new blogs to follow, I surfed through countless sites. As I read through blog posts, I noticed that there were single parents, loss parents, gay parents, special needs parents, working parents, religious parents, holistic parents, adoptive parents, hospice parents, and a multitude of other parenting identities.

It clicked. The common parenting experience that I longed to be a part of doesn’t really exist. My observations over the next few days further supported the realization. I saw other types of parents at the store and at the playground. Not one of them was the same as the last.

I suppose the “common experience” is that everyone has their own unique experience and challenges. The grass only seems greener on the other side. Knowing this takes away from the bitterness brought on by envy and jealousy. I am starting to see beyond my own hurt. If anything, I feel less alone.

Charlie examines the slide before going down it.

Charlie examines the slide before going down it.

About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

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