This I Believe

Kathleen - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 4, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood

I believe we should act from our instinct, not our impulse. When my daughter, just reaching adulthood, informed me that she was unexpectedly expecting my first reaction was dismay and judgment – that was impulse. We all grew up in a society where people are judged quickly and severely for anything that is not within the ‘socially acceptable’ loop. Having recently gone through some of my own discoveries of being outside that loop, I had some insight into being judged. With a lot of practice, I have learned to distinguish my impulse (it’s always first) from my instinct. I informed my daughter that I would talk with her and her boyfriend soon, but right then I needed some time. I took the time to sit with this impulse, allowing it to pass, and allowing my instinct to come to the surface. This did take some time as my mind was filled with all that is involved with pregnancy and parenting. When the impulse passed, my instinct was to see my daughter and her situation from my heart. This is not to say that she was not still responsible for her choices – because she was. Allowing the time to have my instinct rise to the surface gave me clarity about my boundaries and it widened by comfort zone to allow me to support her without judgment. My grandson recently turned 6 months old and I watch my daughter struggle with the awesome responsibility of another life. But I have also gotten to see her grow and mature and appreciate her son. I believe that without the judgment of her mother, my daughter was able to accept her responsibility and I hope that she will react to her son from her instinct, not her impulse.