Becoming a mother has caused me to look to the future in a way that I have never done before. It has also caused me to release my egoic view of the world and imagine how it would be as an outsider entering this world right now. Sure, I thought about the future in my pre-child life; perhaps to plan out my next holiday or envisage a future with my boyfriend. But there has been a deep shift in my consciousness, one that I am just trying to begin to understand.
I have come to the sudden and profound realisation that we are destroying our planet at an absurd rate and so many of us are not even considering the impact we are having beyond, or even within, our lifetime. In the six months that I have been a mother, I have begun seriously contemplating things that barely grazed the surface of my mind before motherhood: growing my own food, reducing waste and protecting natural habitats. I’m not saying that everyone needs to have a child to become an earth conscious philanthropist, just that, it has been an awakening for me. It allowed me the space to develop perspective.
There are too many of us and we are using up the world’s resources insatiably. Medical knowledge is improving and life expectancies are increasing; technology is expanding and women are now able to have babies later in life.We can not save the world but we may be able to provide a better life for future generations if we make sustainable living a priority now.
Prior to parenting, I saw the internet as an exciting and invaluable resource to tap into a wealth of information. Now I realise that my son has been born into the age of internet, data collection and rapid technologic advancements. His lifetime will see us using self-driving vehicles and living in a virtual reality where the “cloud” will know every detail of his schedule, finances, aspirations and social connections.
I understand the positive impact technology will have but I can’t help feel apprehensive of the problems we are yet to face. Even already, I feel self-conscious of the exposure my six month old has to my phone – the constant pictures, messages, social media, online shopping, books, apps and even white noise all exploding out of this device.
What will be the impact of this technology on these developing brains? Not only from the constant radiation and wifi spinning around their heads but also the secondary impact of reduced parental mindfulness and presence in this crucial stage of development. I shudder to think what we will discover years down the track. I am feeling completely overwhelmed because at the rapid pace technology is changing, working out how to set boundaries, safety barriers and parent effectively is completely new terrain.
The other thing that has become blatantly apparent to me since having a baby is that our time on this earth is so limited and our precious time should not be wasted preoccupying ourselves with worry, fear, jealousy and doubt. A baby has an amazing way of showing you how magical and different each moment can be if you let go of the narrative in your head and become present.