When do you become a parent? Some go through heart-breaking agonies over countless years pursuing that very dream. To others it’s a surprise revelation, a shock, maybe something that they weren’t planning on. But most parents have a time period before the arrival to adjust, to plan, to adapt, to prepare. For mammals, it’s called pregnancy. These days parents can clutch a hazy, grainy photo and say that’s my child. But are they parents in that moment?
I don’t think you become a parent until you have that small, fragile, vulnerable life form in your hands, until you can feel the tiny, delicate heartbeat, until you have a life in your hands which is depending on you. At that moment, two souls meet and join, a relationship begins and every instinct and fibre of your very being swears an oath of protection and care to this small, fragile, vulnerable life form.
Being a parent isn’t just about having physical charge of a child, it’s not even about bloodlines or looking after one of your own species. It’s about a very special bond between two beings, two souls, one dependent, one caring.
Even when that little one grows, leaves, fledges, matures, however they progress, that bond will always be there. Your heart is joined to theirs and you simply care in the truest form. Their well-being is intrinsically tied to your own, their pain is your pain, their hopes your hopes, their achievements yours … Your heart soars with theirs. And sinks too.
You can’t ever lose the emotional tie of a child, of being a parent to a little one. It is more than memories. It’s not facts or even really feelings. It’s two hearts, two hearts that cannot be separated even when that little grows, leaves, fledges, matures. And when the little one is lost, it is a heart that has lost part of itself.