Monday, October 18, 2010

The Invisible Cords - Stages of Separation

Laura Innes has written a lovely guest post for us, about her experiences with her girls, on separation and independence. Thanks Laura!

After the birthing of your child, whether it is cut or falls away naturally, the separation of the umbilical cord is an awakening.An awakening to the idea that you and your child are indeed two separate entities. After a pregnancy where you felt very much to be one being, two hearts beating within the same vessel.
While this is the more obvious and well known ‘cutting of the cord’, it has dawned upon me that there are ongoing, more subtle separations that help to ease us gently into the growing independence of our children. The creating of their own lives, separate from ours.

One of these moments came upon me when my first daughter, new to the world of school, tried to insist that I needn’t walk her up to her class anymore.
 It’s not that I wouldn’t feel safe letting her make her way to her classroom, there are only forty-one children in the whole school, and I find it to be a very safe little community. I just simply want to do it. To hold her hand as we make our way up together. As much for my benefit (or maybe more so), than for hers. While I’m not working, I have the opportunity to be there every day. I love being involved in what’s new in her world. Seeing her creations, meeting with her teacher, and putting a face to the so often mentioned names of her friends.
It’s a small way of comforting me that she is safe, accepted and comfortable in the environment where she spends so much of her time these days.
I’ve realised that her not needing my kiss goodbye anymore, though I still offer it every day, is not a sign of rejection. Rather it’s a sign of confidence. That my precious child feel s secure enough in her being  not be intimidated with the prospect of being away from my side.
I no longer force that morning kiss; just accept graciously when it is returned, and walk back to the car, to my day, knowing that my girl is okay without me.

Another of these subtle separations presented itself to me with the return of menstruation after my second daughter’s birth. Eleven months after her umbilical cord was cut, I recognized that familiar, yet almost forgotten warm trickle. I felt a little overwhelmed, not something I expected to happen. It was like a marking of the final chapter to my pregnancy and birthing era.
Although I still feed her frequently at my breast, my body has shifted in the recognition that my baby is less dependent on me, and is making way for the opportunity to nest and nurture a new spirit.

What an amazing gift to be a woman in this moment. To trust and amaze at the instinctive capabilities of my own body.
These moments are providing me with a reflection on the idea that our children, as much as they are a part of us, are also their own separate beings.

An opportunity to let go a little of the emotional strings of attachment, and allow these beautiful souls room to grow and develop.
At times I know I’ll have the natural urge to hold on tight.  I will try instead to take a step back and appreciate the resilience and confidence my children have developed. To feel proud that I have been a part of that, and to know they feel safe enough to venture out on their own, while trusting that I am here when they need me.

About me:
My name is Laura Innes; I live in the Yarra Valley and am a young mother of two spirited girls who inspire and amaze me every day.
I am passionate about instinctive parenting, gentle birth, breastfeeding, and trying to grow as a mother through all the trials and joy motherhood brings.


  1. I have found with my son, that his journey to independence has an ebb and flow to it. Next year as he starts school and has many more influences in his environment. This will be a challenge to me, to let go some more, to allow him space to find his own way of being. To accept who he is and to trust.

  2. What a beautiful story. What struck me was this line: 'I’ve realised that her not needing my kiss goodbye anymore, though I still offer it every day, is not a sign of rejection. Rather it’s a sign of confidence.' Very apt and so true. As the mother of a 7 month old darling girl I am nervous about the prospect of her growing further away from me, but excited to be able to be a part of nurturing her spirit so she is confident enough to be without me in the world.

  3. I think every child is different (of course). I don't think it is necessarily a sign of confidence to not needing to be kissed etc. Some children just are not the kissy/cuddly types. I believe my youngest son of 7 is extremely confident (probably over-confident) but still wants his share of kisses no matter what the situation or who is watching. Which I am truely thankful for, that he is not yet self conscious as boys often end up.

  4. Oops, I didn't mean to make it sound so generalised that it was a 'sign of confidence', I guess I was refering to the change in my daughter herself, (who still loves kisses and cuddles also), but I'd just seen a shift in her, and this small thing was a part of that. :) She is also still in that lovely age where if I do give her a kiss/cuddle in public, she is in no way self conscious about it, and will openly tell me she loves me right back in front of whoever may be around. :)
    I wasn't meaning to make people think their children didn't display confidence if they were asking for a kiss/cuddle. :)

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