Category Archives: Parenting Fears

Face to Face with Fear pt 6 by Gregory Bland

pummeled-gregory-bland-the-legacy-centre“I could never love another child the way I loved Katelyn.”   That thought haunted me and catalyzed a tangible fear within my heart. I forced myself to go through the motions . . .

– I read story’s to Lynn’s belly as we lay down at night just as I did with Katelyn.
– I’d play the guitar and sing to Lynn’s belly. A treat that most never hear and for good reason.

– I would speak to the baby developing within the womb, affirming my love, telling stories of what to expect in our family, and awaiting the press of a hand or foot against my gentle hand.

I was hoping somehow all of these actions would diminish my “irrational” fear. It didn’t. I was still scared. Questions nagged me day after day, week after week, and month after month. It was unrelenting.

Could I love this child the way I love the first?

What if I couldn’t?

What impact would this have them?

Am I going to wreck them emotionally?

As the birth date approached my anxiety increased and there was a barrage of new questions. My mind felt as though I was in a boxing ring, back pressed against the ropes, hands up guarding my face as Evander Holyfield pummeled me.

Are we having a boy or girl? I know how to father a girl, but what happens if we have a boy? What do I do then? I don’t know how to relate to boys? I didn’t even have a Dad at home. I don’t know if I could love another girl, let along a boy. How would I love a boy?

I was a wreck internally.

The Dr’s decided that my love would be tested on June 30th when they declared that Lynn would be induced on that day so they could monitor the birth. Instead of watching the fireworks at the Freedom Festival between Detroit/Windsor, I’d be watching fireworks of a different sort this year.

You’d think after 5 months of fighting with these questions I would have resolution walking into the hospital room. I didn’t. Lynn was induced early in the morning and as the hours passed my anxiety increased and my prayer intensified. Lynn may have thought I was praying for her, but I wasn’t. I was selfishly praying that somehow, someway, God would give me the strength to love this child as I should. Would my love be divided? Would it be diminished in any way with the addition of this child? The unpleasantness of that thought was disconcerting and I continued praying.

The hours rolled by and nothing tangible changed. Not within my heart or within Lynn’s body. Nurses checked frequently on Lynn but precious little was happening. Lunch came and went and still no change, “You’re still 2 cm dilated,” the nurses repeated, over and over and over again. As the supper hour passed anxiety ramped up. It seemed as though God was doing His masterful work of forging patience within our lives.

Lynn and I sat side by side on the love seat in the hospital room, not much was said, but I know a lot was being contemplated. All of a sudden Lynn screamed. I mean screamed, it was so loud I jumped to my feet in an instant and almost immediately nurses were running through the door.

Finally something is happening! It was fast and furious, you’re completely dilated and the baby is crowninlove-gregory-bland-the-legacy-centreg. One nurse paged the Dr, as the others helped Lynn into the bed. I watched in amazement. (I’ll spare you some of the details.) The Dr. arrived at the room just in time to see the baby being born

He held the baby up and said, “Mr and Mrs Bland you have a baby girl. It’s a good thing she ca
e when she did because her umbilical cord is in a perfect knot and it’s tightening.  Take a look at this . . .”

I looked at her through the tears that flooded my eyes, “Hannah Mercedes,
welcome to our family.” In an instant my doubts and fears were erased. I was overwhelmed with LOVE for this precious child. My love was not divided, it was not diminished in any way, but rather I could tangibly tell it was multiplied!

I thanked God for this little girl’s safe arrival and the instant work He did within my heart. It was late that night, 11:25pm, that all my fears were eclipsed by the reality I had a greater capacity for love.

Until Next time
Consider the depth of love you have for another
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre

Redefining Failure pt 5 by Gregory Bland

youre-not-a-failure-gregory-blandThe first important step in redefining failure is embracing and believing that you’re failing at something does not make you a failure.

For me this is hard. I lean heavily toward high expectations of myself, and consequently can be very hard on myself when I ‘fail’ at something or make mistakes. There were moments I would verbally assault myself because I did not meet my own expectations, or blew it in some way. If you are above this personally, God Bless you! If you are someone who can relate, I share your pain.

Fortunately I had a close friend that ‘came alongside’ of me and helped me realize that when I failed at something that did NOT mean I WAS a FAILURE. Truth be known, I was personalizing my failure and allowing it to attack my heart, fill my mind, and erode my confidence.

I needed a different perspective on failure but didn’t know how to change my thoughts and beliefs about failure.

Thankfully a friend noticed what was happening within me and decided to have a conversation that would end up setting me on a new path embracing much healthier thoughts about failure.

“Greg, would you consider something for me?”
“Sure,” I responded.
“I want you to think about someone conducting an experiment. They are attempting something without a knowledge that what they are going to try will be successful. They are investing time, effort, and money into something they are not sure is going to work.”
“O.K. Sounds like an experiment to me.”
“The individual(s) continue and after much effort, time, and money, the experiment falls flat. What they had hoped for didn’t work out.”
“O.K. I’m with you so far.”
“What are your thoughts toward them right now?”
“Toward the one doing the experiment?”
“Yes.”
“Well. First I admire them for trying. Their determination and willingness to invest the time, effort, and money is something I really do admire.”
“But the experiment failed.”
“So what if the experiment failed!”
“What does that say about him as a person?”
“I would say that he is resilient, he’s a risk taker, willing to try. Those all seem like great qualities to me.”
“Greg. Do you think he is a failure because the experiment fell flat?”
“Of course not! Why would I think that?”
“I was just curious what you might think of him personally because your own tendency is to consider yourself a failure when what you try doesn’t work out.”

Ouch. Those words cut just a little. O.K. I’ll admit it, they cut a lot! I believe because they were true and I was being confronted by words that were challenging a faulty belief system. The words of Solomon quickly flooded my mind, “As iron sharpens iron,
 so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17 and I knew he spoke these words because he truly cared about my wellbeing.

After a moment he continued, “Greg can I press this out a bit more?”
“Yes. Of course you can.” I said with a slight hesitation.
“What would it take for you to consider your ventures, your stepping out, your risks, as experiments and how would that impact your view of failure?”

 

That question stirred deep within my heart and I chewed on that one for a while. In light of that I’d like you to consider yourself and how you would answer that question personally.

Until next time,
Remember failing at something does not make you a failure
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

 

Redefining Failure Part 3 by Gregory Bland

failure-risk-gregory-blandSome people go to great lengths NOT to fail. Our initial impression of this might lead us to believe to do so is reasonable, if not understandable. However sheltering ourselves from failure and avoiding it at all costs may have greater long-term consequences for us than taking the risk.

Failure itself does appear to be subjective. Our perception of and response to the mistakes, shortcomings, or mis-steps we make determine whether or not it attacks the heart, becomes demoralizing, and instills fear.  It seems as though people who have redefined failure and understand that it is a natural part of life and learning, pick themselves up and move forward with greater ease than those who view failure as something to be avoided.

One of my heroes in this area is Thomas Edison. A man who knew adversity, attempted much, and ‘failed’ more. We hear much about his inventions that took hold and revolutionized society, but very little about all the inventions and ideas that fell flat or were simply rejected.

What is it that set Edison apart? I believe it was his perspective on and definition of ‘failure.’ In response to a question about his missteps, Edison once said, “I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” What a great perspective. It was this perspective that allowed him to risk moving forward and resist the paralysis that often comes from a fear of failing.
(read 7 Epic Fails brought to you by the Genius Mind of Thomas Edison)

Of course Edison is not the only one to redefine failure. There are many who recognize and embrace failure as a natural part of growth and learning. Without failing in some way we’d never truly know what we are capable of.

As you seek to redefine failure consider this, “Can I give myself permission to risk and fail?”

Until next time
I’m failing with you so we can know what we are truly capable of.
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

Redefining Failure Pt 1 by Gregory Bland

get-back-up-gregory-bland

Has fear undergirded your decision to simply NOT try? Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you simply let it pass? Many of us have most likely experienced fear of failure at one time or another. The reality for us in those moments is ‘fear can be immobilizing,’ causing ‘paralysis,’ and a subtle internal resistance to moving forward.

Imagine, if you and I as adults have experienced these feelings of fear, how much more impacting are they for our children and teens?

Often the first step in helping our children walk through their fear of failure is first walking through our own.
What are our perceptions of failure? How do they impact our personal views of embracing or avoiding failure?   How are our views of failure being ‘imparted’ to our children?

There is significant diversity in how people view failure. Someone may view failure as something to be avoided, while another may whole-heartedly embrace failure as a part of a greater learning experience. The latter are happy to embrace the words of Miss Frizzle, ‘It’s time to take chances, make mistakes,’ while the former cringe at the very notion.

When you consider failure what is your perception about it?
How has your thinking been shaped in viewing failure?
What impact is this having upon yourself, and your family?

Until next time remember, it’s what you do after you get up that matters.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

Face to Face with Fear Pt 2 by Gregory Bland

ultra-sound-gregory-bland Downs? Spina Bifida? Keep your options open?  Adrenaline surged through my body as my mind raced, grasping the weight and meaning of the Dr’s words. Did I hear correctly?  Does he mean what I think he means?  “Pardon me.  Could you repeat that please?” I ask in disbelief.

“We have discovered a dark spot on the brain and are uncertain what this is. From what we can tell, developmentally the fetus is far behind where it should be at this point in the pregnancy.  The clenched fists and little to no movement have us thinking that this child will be born with Downs or Spina Biffida.  Would you like us to do amniocentesis so that your options are open?”

My mind began spinning like a kid on a tilt-a-whirl at the county fair.  Trying to slow my thoughts and grasp for an extra moment of time to think I turned and looked briefly into Lynn’s eyes. Tears had swelled to the brim and were fighting for release.  I could taste the sting of salt in the back of my throat. Emotion was high.

Hoping for solace, understanding, and a hint of affirmation from Lynn I allowed my gaze into her eyes to linger. I knew the decision I wanted to make.  The direction I wanted to go.  I simply wanted affirmation and support from her.

I was gripped by a gruesome reality in this moment.  I had not taken the time to share my deepest fears or concerns with her.  Yes, we were married.  Yes, we loved one another.  Yes, we told each other everything.  Ok, maybe not everything. This I hadn’t!  What would she think if she really knew my thoughts?  How would she react to me then?

With steely eyes the secret fears stared from their hiding places within my heart reminding me that I kept silence on this issue.  Lynn’s expression softened.   Somehow I felt she knew.  Understanding my fear but also the decision we needed to make, or more accurately, I wanted to make.  She smiled and squeezed my hand a little firmer as if to say, “It’s ok Greg.  I know what you are thinking.  I understand.  Please know that I will support your decision.”

Gaining control of my runaway pulse I turned from Lynn and looked toward the doctor.  His eyes were noticeably different than Lynn’s.  Hers were warm, supportive, and understanding.value-acceptance-gregory-bland  His were cold, calculated, and begging an answer.

Searching for the right words I mustered up the courage to speak and say what was on my mind.  I could feel my pulse racing and my heart pounding as I opened my mouth. Finally the silence was broken and I began to speak, broken at first, but with growth strength and resolve with each passing word.   “I don’t think you understand.” I began, “We do not want further testing done to keep our options open.  We will love whoever this child is that is coming into our lives!”

There it is.  Out in the open for all in the room to hear and see.  Face to face with fear I had a new determination and resolve.  The words spoken, a decision declared, and the toughest part of the journey still ahead of us.  Would my life validate the words of my own lips?

You have no doubt surmised that the story is far from complete.  I will continue writing another day but first let me ask a couple of questions for your consideration and thought today.  When I shared with you that I had not told Lynn my deepest fears relating to a ‘uniquely gifted’ child what thoughts went through your mind?  Are there topics of conversation in which you just ‘won’t go there’ with your spouse?  What benefit do you see in ‘risking’ entertaining those conversations with our spouses?Until next time can I encourage you to be open and honest about your greatest fears.  It might just bring a greater understanding and healthier connection between you.
Thinking of you and the health of your relationships today
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland