100 Promises to My Baby
As a new mother, I rediscovered the spiritual values taught to me by my own parents, Rita and Deepak Chopra.
BY: Mallika Chopra
My desire to bond with my baby reflected what I knew scientifically, that the love and support a child feels-perhaps even in the womb-results in specific biological outcomes for health, self-respect, confidence, and behavior. And intellectually, I knew that my baby and I were connected at every level. But now, I actually began to experience my unborn baby as an extension of myself, of my body, of my mind, and of my soul.
So I started to write down promises to myself and to her. These promises were inspired by all the love and hope that I felt for her and by the anticipation of who she was going to become. As I wrote, I realized that each promise was inspired by something that I myself had actually experienced or learned. I started to write down the stories, memories, and lessons that I wanted to share with Tara as she grew up, as well as the values and intentions I myself needed to be reminded of as I faced the challenges of parenting. The result was that I could feel our bond grow and deepen as I wrote. This bond only strengthened after Tara was born and continues to evolve as she grows. I see that my love for Tara is reflected in her love for me. I know that we are constantly growing and coevolving.
Tara is now two years old. With her birth and the ensuing year, my writing project was pushed to the side as I immersed myself in actually being a mother. I have loved mothering Tara more than anything else I have ever done in my life. I have also realized that some of it comes naturally and that other parts of it are hard-very hard. You need patience, determination, and understanding. And frankly, some of the original promises that I had made to Tara were not really practical (i.e. I promise to never say no to you.)
As Tara became more interactive, learning day by day and soaking up the environment around her, I opened up my promises and decided to focus on them again. I wanted to remind myself of the commitments I had made to her when she was born, and I was inspired to write even more promises. A few weeks after I opened the promises, I also discovered that I was pregnant again! Hardly a coincidence, my passion for the project was driven by the love for Tara and my new baby, Leela, who was growing inside of me.
I have realized through this process that the bond between a parent and child is one of the most important bonds between two beings. Parenting today comes in many guises with unique challenges, from single parents to those managing divorce or separation, to parents from different cultures, adoptive parents, those who are older or younger than the norm, and those who are managing full-time jobs or daily pressures. But no matter where we fall on the parenting spectrum, we are all bonded by the role we play in shaping the innocent minds of tomorrow.
As parents, we have the ability to create new global citizens who have the power to change the world. In a world that is often colored by fear and violence, this role becomes all the more important. If we all make promises to teach our children love, respect, honor, and acceptance, then we are playing our parts in creating a safer, more secure, and more nurturing world for them to live in.