Love in the time of parenting

Lisa - Prescott, Arizona
Entered on March 26, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: love
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This I Believe

I believe a person can be taught how to love by being shown love.

I have heard many people say, “Why is it that you need a license to drive, hunt, fish and get married, yet anyone can have a baby; no training or license required?”

Having worked as a labor and delivery nurse for ten years, I have seen many babies come into this world. At times, I have experienced feelings of dread when handing these newborn babies over to their parents. Some parents seem overwhelmed, disinterested and even dysfunctional. Others are addicted to drugs or alcohol, or are victims of poor parenting. Some are high on methamphetamine, pacing, grinding their teeth and picking at sores. Thankfully, some of these parents do not get to take their babies home. Susan was such a parent. She was found living on the streets, pregnant and addicted to crack cocaine, trading her body for her next fix. She had three children, all of whom had been taken away from her at young ages due to her inability to parent. A stranger named Arlo found her living in an alley outside his apartment building and offered her help. He drove her to a small town two hours north of the city and helped her settle into a recovery home for moms and children. Susan came to our rural hospital for her first prenatal visit during the eighth month of her pregnancy. I could see she was hoping for a chance to love this miracle child. Susan was 43 years old. The doctor and I treated her with respect and care. We modeled for her the love that we hoped she would be able to give to her child. The nurses on the unit took up a collection for Susan to buy clothing and food until the baby came. I was lucky to be working a month later when Susan came back to the hospital in labor. She was amazing! Susan went through the entire labor with nothing for pain because she wanted to stay away from drugs. She brought into the world a beautiful and healthy baby boy. She named him Arlo! It took six months of assistance from Child Protective Services, foster homes and rehabilitation for Susan to prove she was capable of caring for little Arlo. Last fall Susan re-established broken ties with her family and moved in with her sister to raise and love her baby. I believe that Susan was able to love Arlo because, the nurses, doctors, social workers and community members supported her and showed her the love she would need to be a great mother and raise a child in a nurturing home.

I believe each loving act does not begin or end with that person. Arlo will grow to be a loving parent if he is raised with love. When shown love a person is able to give love. This I believe.