Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Breast cancer changed my approach to motherhood.

Beth Gainer has a great focus both in her writing and her life. Here is her take on how being a survivor influences her parenting style. Suzanne

I notice so many uptight parents nowadays. These individuals frantically wipe never-ending drool and take inventory of the stains on their precious babies' clothing. I've seen moms running after their children with a stain-removal stick, get deeply emotional when a bib flies off and chocolate flies on, and freak out whenever a baby drops crumbs on the floor.

Before breast cancer, I had a Type A personality, so I probably was destined to become such a parent. The worrier. The perfectionist. The dramatic.

Breast cancer has helped me leave the Type A arena, and this is reflected by my parenting style. When it comes to my daughter, I no longer sweat the small stuff. What do I care if there are stains? Babies get dirty constantly. She drools, and I do wipe her chin, but not obsessively. What's a little saliva? And as for crumbs on the floor, there's always time to sweep at the end of the day. There's always time to straighten up after my little whirlwind wreaks devastation to our home.

There's always time to deal with the unpleasant sides of motherhood. However, when it comes to life, I know all too well from my breast cancer experience that my time as a mother is limited and precious.

And that is why I choose to focus my time laughing with my baby; enjoying her antics; hugging, cuddling, and playing with her; and being grateful for her. I spend time well -- marvelling at all the positives of parenting. I refuse to get wrapped up in the all-too-common parent trap: comparing my child's motor and intellectual skills with other children.

I do have bad days and times when motherhood is taxing. But when I consider how hard it was to fight cancer, drool, stains, and crumbs are mere childsplay.

Beth L. Gainer has had numerous publications, including an essay in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer. Her popular Calling the Shots blog at www.bethlgainer.blogspot.com. offers information and advice on how to navigate the medical system. She is a contributing member of Medpedia and Navigating Cancer.
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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Beth. It's amazing how breast cancer can be an unusual gift when it brings clarity to our lives, making us aware of what is really important. I believe that each member of the breast cancer support group I belong to are the happiest women around. We survived! We've lost friends to the disease, and we're lucky to still be around ~ so we're all living life to the fullest, not taking anything for granted.
    Congratulations on your survivorship and for motherhood! You go, girl!