The Offhand Band - Will It

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More details behind the writing of the song can be found at: theoffhandband.com/2010/07/will-it/?postTabs=1

A sad birth story would be painful for practically anyone, staying with them for the rest of their lives. There is, though, a kind of person for whom it could be particularly tragic. Because of their values, not only would the situation itself be more painful than for most, but even if the situation were overcome, those very values could continue causing despair.

Parents engaged in a natural family living lifestyle, including approaches like attachment parenting and unconditional parenting, often believe strongly in providing powerful connection and support in infancy and childhood as the very means to help children naturally achieve healthy development. High priorities for many of these parents include natural childbirth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing and stay-at-home parenting. They would feel very strongly about maintaining physical contact with the baby almost continuously from birth, nursing as soon after birth as possible and continuing as the exclusive means of nutrition for several months or even a year, and even having the baby sleep in the same bed with them. Sending the baby to a separate nursery room alone or to get nutrition from other means would be anathema for months, even years, yet no time more than the crucial first days of life.

Beginning labor believing that all was well and having such a strong and particular vision of what would happen afterward, a serious medical issue that demanded immediate separation would be devastating. Bad enough to be uncertain if your child would even survive. Far worse to go through that while also believing that each minute apart in the service of physical health could cause lifelong emotional damage to the child.

Underneath all this, though, would be a terrible, ironic truth. Truly unconditional parents would lament each moment of the crisis, but if they got through, they'd simply be grateful for the child's survival, treating each day as a gift, an opportunity to make the child feel loved. Parents who couldn't get over what may have been lost through the crisis, though, would reveal themselves to be conditional at heart. Rather than genuinely valuing love as unconditional parents are supposed to, they could attach greater value to an image of the perfection that they believed love leads to, and could therefore find themselves unable to fully love a child they see as less than perfect.

For these parents, even with the initial crisis overcome, that trauma is merely the beginning. With their idealized expectations of the child and themselves, neither the child nor they themselves can measure up. Every time they see a flaw in their child, they'd wonder if it was because of the birth crisis that was out of their control or because of their own ongoing failings as parents. The gap between reality and and expectation undermines their ability to provide the very things they believe all children deserve. Constantly plagued by the pain of that discrepancy, they would be forced to choose between either living a life of self-inflicted misery in which they harshly judge their child and themselves, or confronting the darkness inside themselves so that they might eventually align their hopes with reality. Only then could they become the parents they really want to be, helping the child grow up with as much genuine nurture as possible.

lyrics

The pains have just begun
But we're prepared, expecting all goes naturally
Upon first light, the babe to breast
She'll stay with us for all the rest
No nursery
All together as it's meant to be

And then when doctors done
Back home to where our family future feels so bright
We'll live to give a strong attachment
All life long without a catch
But on first light
We find out that there's something not right

Will it be okay?
It's not up to me
Not anything to do or say
Will it be alright?
Can't will it to be
Want all my fears to take their flight
To stop, to end
Will it ever be okay again?

Arriving, all seems fine
Nine months, no complications through this very day
The sweat, the pain, through all the hours
The triumph that will prove your powers
But now you pray
One quick touch, then they took her away

It wasn't your design
A newborn and her parents in two separate rooms
The bonding never comes to pass
She crying trapped behind the glass
You're helpless, too
Their machines hold her instead of you

Will it be okay?
It's not up to me
Not anything to do or say
Will it be alright?
Can't will it to be
Want all my fears to take their flight
To stop, to end
Will it ever be okay again?

Back home they finally come
But they don't feel a family yet, they self-condemn
Mistakes are made, they're sad and rough
They wonder if they love enough
Just what's the stem?
Is it what happened, or is it them?

They wish that they were numb
Attached to expectations, they can never win
Perhaps if they can just let go
Accepting that they'll never know
What could have been
Maybe finally their love could begin

Will it be okay?
It's all up to me
In everything I do and say
Will it be alright?
Must will it to be
Just stop my putting up a fight
I've got to bend
Or I'll never be okay again

The pains have just begun...

credits

from SpinTunes #1: Round 3, released July 28, 2010
The Offhand Band

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Spintown Middletown, Ohio

I run a songwriting contest called SpinTunes. Most of the material hosted on this account is a result of that contest. You can follow the contest on Twitter (@SpinTunes) or my personal account (@Spintown).

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