expert advice

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
ee cummings

Someone very dear to me is expecting her first child and emailed me recently with concerns. They were pretty much the same concerns I had when I was pregnant with Seven, and they came from an overly close reading of the what to expect books and parenting websites. Those things are like tortilla chips, or IKEA. You know you shouldn’t, but once you start, you can’t stay away.

Luckily, Seven survived infancy and, consequently, I overcame my fears of maternal ineptitude. That was when I started going with my gut. And the poets. It might sound crazy, and my kids are still very young, but so far, poets have been the source of the most inspirational parenting advice I’ve come across, and ee cummings in particular.

That quote above, it is equally valid for a young child as it is for a young mother.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
This entry was posted in poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to expert advice

  1. anno says:

    Perfect quote … even for those of us with older children. Thanks for the introduction!

  2. meredith says:

    Here’ one from one of my favorite poets:
    “All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”…Emerson

    I like your advice. Parenting books are good, but gut instinct is usually better. I learned that the hard way 🙂

  3. Aunt Patti says:

    Love the comparison to tortilla chips and IKEA! Real SF sourdough bread and butter also come to mind. It’s amazing how my grown kids turned out despite all the mistakes I made. The wealth of information must be even more overwhelming now that we have the Internet (not a research option when I was pregnant). Your advice was spot on……and your kids (and you) are beautiful and amazing!

  4. Annemarie says:

    sun moon stars rain

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