Dear Ameli,

I know I don’t often write you letters on random days of the month, but usually gather up all the little things I want to say to you into your monthly letter. Today is different though, because today, I don’t want to tell you about you. I want, instead, to tell you about me.


Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


The things I have learned about me are more than I ever knew possible.

I have learned that there are some things that you can never know until you have experienced them. Holding your first born is one of them.

I have learned that there is an unused, previously unknown portion of your heart that suddenly comes alive once there is this kind of love to fill it. I never missed it before you were born, because I didn’t know that it was there.

I have learned that I actually do possess perseverance skills. Laughable as it sounds now, I was dreadfully worried that I’d become bored of being a mother. Sure, I’m only about 1/18th through the influential part of motherhood, but still: so far, so good.

I have learned that I am exceptionally capable. Things that may have seemed daunting two years ago are now common place. Like surviving on day after day of broken sleep. Of having quiet ‘me-times’ be far and few between, and yet finding new ways of achieving inner peace and quiet. Of utilising and maximising the shortest times to the greatest effect.

I have learned that my mind is inquisitive – something I have always known, yet now I have the time to explore things – like how breast milk is made, ingredients in commonly accepted child medications and so on. I have the time to discover and the intelligence to understand.

I have learned that I am fiercely passionate. Which amuses me, because the things I am passionate about are things I never knew existed just a few years ago. I don’t do anything because I think it looks good. I do it because I believe that it is.

I have learned that I am worthy. I am worthy to be loved, just as I love. I am worthy of being respected, just as I respect you. I am allowed, no, required to care for myself, so that I can care for you.

I have learned that I can look in the mirror and not despise what I see – not because it is beautiful, but because I do not want you to mimic self-loathing. I have learned that I will love myself, and accept myself as I am, so that you will do the same for yourself.

And I guess the most important thing that I have learned, that you have taught me, is that I am strong. Cliché as that may sound, there have been days when I’ve not wanted to get out of bed. Yet I get up, and I carry on, and I do the best I can on those days. Even when I feel my tank is empty. Those days I realise that I am strong.

As much as some people like jumping up and down with statements of being ‘sick to death’ of those in the “natural birth camp” or “the breastfeeding camp” or “the natural parenting camp” for making them feel inadequate, I cannot help, nor apologise, for what you have taught me. And I am proud.

That I can endure 48 hours of labour with focus and willpower to birth a child – just as a marathon runner or mountain climber feels pride – so do I. That I can go through the ups and downs of breastfeeding, pumping, nipple pain, mastitis, and still nurse you – I feel pride that I persevered. That I hold you close, keep you near, sleep by you, attach you to my heart, my head and my body, I feel pride that I can dedicate these years to you, knowing that these days will come back to me many fold.

I feel pride, because it is my achievement. It is what I have worked for. It is what I have learned from this experience of motherhood, thus far. I feel pride when I look at where I have come from and where I have been and how I have grown. And when I look at you, I know that my sense of pride is not an exaltation of myself above any other woman.

No, it is an exaltation of myself above my old self. It is the betterment of me.

And it is all because of you.

How will I ever thank you?

With all my love.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • Affection — Alicia at I Found My Feet has finally become a hugger and kisser, now she has someone sweet and small to snuggle with. (@aliciafagan)
  • Learning from Daniel — Amy at Anktangle hopes that she and her husband will always be open to learning from their son. (@anktangle)
  • Kids Cultivate Awareness of Universal Truths — From forgiveness to joy, Amy Phoenix at Innate Wholeness has become aware of deep truths that come naturally to children. (@InnateWholeness)
  • What the Apple Teaches the Tree — Becky at Future Legacy has learned about imagination, forgiveness, and strength.
  • A Lesson in Slowing Time — Bethy at Bounce Me To the Moon revels in the chance to just be with her baby.
  • Learning From My Children: I Am So Honored — WAHM Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey is learning to choose tea parties over work. (@MyMotheringPath)
  • P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E — Now that she’s a mother, Danielle at is finally learning about a personality trait she lacked. (@borninjp)
  • Top 5 Homeschool Lessons My Children Taught Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what she learned from homeschooling her (now grown) children. (@DebChitwood)
  • Learning to Live in the Present By Looking to the Future — Dionna at Code Name: Mama finds the patience to be a gentle parent, because she knows how fleeting childhood really is. (@CodeNameMama)
  • The watchful Buddha boy — At Dreaming Aloud, they are learning to cherish their thoughtful, sensitive child in a action-driven, noisy world. (@DreamingAloudNt)
  • What My Children Taught Me — Dulce de Leche‘s children have taught her to value herself for the wonderful person and mother she is.
  • Lessons from the First Year — Having a child made Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama realize that her decisions affect more than just herself. (@CrunchyishMama)
  • Lessons from Loss — Erica at ChildOrganics learned so much from the love — and loss — of her sweet Bella, five years ago. (@ChildOrganics)
  • The Socratic Baby — Erin at Multiple Musings has so-called “identical” twins to serve as a daily lesson in nature vs. nurture. (@ErinLittle)
  • Learning to be a Mother — Farmer’s Daughter learned the type of patience that enabled her to calmly eat one-handed for months and change clothes seven times a day, before noon. (@FarmDaughter)
  • A Few Things Being a Mom Has Taught Me — Heather at Musing Mommy shares the curious, hilarious, and sometimes Murphy’s Law-like tidbits we learn from our children. (@xakana)
  • I Feel You — Motherhood has taught Jamey from At the Bee Hive empathy, and it extends beyond just her child. (@JameyBly)
  • Lessons From My Child… — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the inspiring ways she’s learned to expect the unexpected — and have a camera ready! (@imaftmummy)
  • My child is my mirror — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama has seen herself in her children – and it’s not bad. (@crunchychewy)
  • There is enough to go around… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life learned that love doesn’t diminish when it’s shared.
  • Learning From Our Children, Every Day — Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia, Canada is continually inspired by her children. (@UsborneBooksCB)
  • Life Lessons From My Children — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood has learned that every slug is fascinating, doing the dishes is fun, and sharing a banana is a delight. (@crunchymamato2)
  • Things I’ve Learned From My Children — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings uses pictures to share what she has learned from her children. (@sunfrog)
  • Beyond the questions lies the answer — Lauren at Hobo Mama stopped wondering and started knowing — loving and liking our children comes naturally. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • Learning from Children — Lily, aka Witch Mom, finds out just how enchanting balloons can be. (@LilyShahar)
  • Lifelong Learning — Lindsay at Living in Harmony has learned that what works for one kid might not work for another. (@AttachedMama)
  • Walking alongside my daughter — Lindsey at Mama Cum Laude is learning to give the clock less power over her family’s life.
  • Things my baby taught me about me — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is proud of how she has grown as a mother. (@lvano)
  • From my children, I have learned — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip has a litany of beautiful lessons, from selflessness to sleeplessness.
  • The Little Things in Life — In a simple and lovely prose poem, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shows how adults worry about the wrong things and forget the little, important ones: watching ladybugs, jumping in leaves, cherishing each moment as it comes.
  • The Virtues of Motherhood — Melissa at The New Mommy Files has had opportunities to learn from children as both a teacher and a mother. (@NewMommyFiles)
  • My Kids Have Taught Me That It’s Time To Stop Blogging — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! has learned that childhoods fly by too fast to blog. We’ll miss your wonderful online presence, Melodie, and we wish you much peace and happiness. (@bfmom)
  • Having Kids Has Taught me a Thing or Two — Michelle at The Parent Vortex learns all day long — from fun facts about hedgehogs to tying a complicated wrap with a screaming child and an audience. (@TheParentVortex)
  • We Could All Learn from the Children — Momma Jorje takes time to get on the floor and play so that she can see the world through her child’s eyes.
  • Teaching Forgiveness — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog has a daughter who’s taught her unconditional love — even when she feels like she does’t deserve it. (@littlegreenblog)
  • Parenting as a joint venture — Olivia at Write About Birth appreciates watching the astonishing way her children learn. (@writeaboutbirth)
  • Beginner’s Mind — Rachael at The Variegated Life learns from a child who builds bridges to nowhere, calls letter magnets his numbers, and insists dinnertime is truck time. (@RachaelNevins)
  • A baby’s present — RS at A Haircut and a Shave presents a short poem on the differences between a baby’s mindfulness and ours.
  • Self-Confidence Was Born With My Daughter — Sara at Halfway Crunchy learned to trust her instincts by responding to her child’s needs — and saw her self-confidence bloom.
  • The Importance of Being Less Earnest — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante has one list of earnest and one list of silly things she has learned as a parent. (@seonaid_lee)
  • Lessons my children have taught me — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes learned that attachment parenting was the best way to meet the needs of her child and herself. (@Sheryljesin)
  • Till the water is clear — Stacy at Mama-Om learns that being present is the best present. (@mama_om)
  • I Hold It — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has learned that the ability to communicate is much more important than the number of words a child knows.
  • What My Children Taught Me About Letting Go — Summer at Finding Summer is learning from her kids to laugh in the face of heartache. (@summerminor)
  • Finding My Tools — The Artsymama has applied some of what she’s learned as a mama in the classroom, with great results!

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