I wish I were the perfect mother. I wish I could say all the right things and make all the right decisions to teach my daughter how to grow into the intelligent, strong, independent woman I know she'll be. In trying, though, comes failing. I know there are times I don't realize I'm shaming my daughter, and while I have no ill intent and would never shame her on purpose (after all, what parent would?) it's still a difficult pill to swallow. Mistakes are normal, but that undeniable fact doesn't make me feel any more triumphant when faced with her scarred feelings over something I've said or done.
It should be known, my daughter and I didn't get off to the best start. After a difficult pregnancy, she came out a quiet little thing with a smashed nose and small wail. Soon though, as I battled severe postpartum depression (PPD) that prevented me from bonding with her. Her quiet wails would grow in strength and her can-do attitude (read: super independent) would become my greatest antagonist. I loved my firstborn with a natural fierceness, ready to protect on a whim. Still, I knew from the moment I held her we'd be so very alike in all the ways that may prove challenging.
Despite the rocky beginning, my girl is growing into such a smart, thoughtful young lady with just the right amount of gusto to get wherever she wants to go in life. As the days go by, and she makes more and more plans for who she wants to be, and what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. So, I can't help but sit back and reflect on all the places I went wrong and all the ways I failed her. I find this sometimes painful reflection to be necessary in figuring out how to move forward and do right by her — mother to daughter and, someday, woman to woman. So, with that in mind, here are all the times I may have shamed my daughter without realizing, that you may have done, too. With each one, I offer my sweet girl my sincerest apology.