On Will & The Head

No, I am not writing a story about Will & The Head. I am talking about my arch-nemesis – The Head. Nathan’s head, that is. And his lack of control over it. I am really grateful for everyone’s support and advice the other day, when I posted about what comes..after the high. But the truth is, this is THE BIG ONE for me. This is the thing that gets me the most. I can handle everything – the not walking, not talking, not sitting, not not not not. But The Head is such a quality of life issue for me. I think for me a lot more than it is for him. He doesn’t seem to mind his wobbly flopply head. I obviously mind WAY MORE than he does. Anyways, on to the point of this post.

This morning I went to see my spiritual coach. I have been seeing her since the beginning of my pregnancy with Nathan. She is a healer, nutritionist, energy worker, life coach, spiritual guide. An amazing human being, and a glorious support and help to me. I couldn’t help but talk about The Head. I thought I’d been proactive and moved on. But I obviously haven’t because I couldn’t help talking about this issue without tears.

We spent quite a lot of time talking about ACCEPTANCE. That big word that I’ve used so much in this blog, this wonderful concept that I strive for every day. I’ve been working on this for years…but I’ve been unwilling to accept The Head. I’m holding on to that need, that desire for The Head to actually work. It seems like an issue of human dignity and quality of life…and I fight and fight and fight emotionally, unwilling to just accept, he may never gain head control. Even typing it gives me the hibeejeebies. I don’t want to let go of that expectation.

So Miranda then pointed out that the only way that Nathan can/will gain head control is if Nathan WANTS to have head control. Which got us talking about Will.

Will is a a Waldorf term for the inborn drive to try things out, to start projects, and see them through to completion. It is through will that we become who we are, we develop our sense of self, that we accomplish things. If we have the will to succeed at something, then the effort and practice will follow. But without will we are like leaves in the wind, blown in all directions, without a steady purpose or direction.

I’ve said this before – Nathan’s will to accomplish new things is very weak. Ever since birth he has been treated like a royal prince. Everything’s been done for him. It is human nature to take advantage of this. So his will is very weak – why should he want to have head control when we’re always holding his head for him, and if it falls, we always fix it for him? Especially when it is SUCH hard work for him? If you had somebody who would do all of your laundry, cooking, cleaning, dishes, everything that you considered hard – wouldn’t you happily allow them to do it?

Miranda mentioned that thus far, I have been Nathan’s will, and Owen has been Nathan’s body. I have been the one holding a view of Nathan’s potential. I’ve always been the one to pour hear heart mind and soul into his rehabilitation. Nathan tries to tolerate what we put him through – but it doesn’t come from him. More often than not, he resists the programs. And Owen has been the one attaching him to his body and walking for him, running for him, playing for him. So between the two of us, we’ve given him a very easy opportunity to be complacent and we’ve robbed him of the chance to develop his will.

So today I made the decision, it’s time to give him back his will. It’s time for me to let go and let him be. He needs to develop his own wish to do the things he wishes to do. And if he doesn’t want to, then I have to accept. Just accept that he can only do what he can do. But first I have to give him a chance. Because in wanting to protect him and wanting him to avoid suffering, I’ve prevented him from developing his will.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, leave him on his belly so he develops neck strength. But I don’t do it, because he cries, it makes him upset. So instead I return him to comfort. Same with the walkers, same with his therapies. Our tendency is to give in to his tantrums when he doesn’t want to do something.

Today I share with you my decision to step back and allow Nathan to develop his will. This will mean leaving him on the floor on his belly, even if he cries. It will mean letting his head flop, in the hopes that one day he will decide for himself that he wants to lift it and fix himself. The orthotist that I saw on Saturday pleaded with us to do this. He kept saying, “But Marcela, he CAN fix his head. He CAN hold it – when he wants to.” He’s right – hours later at Disney, I witnessed amazing head control. So since he CAN, we just have to let him. I will have to be really strong and courageous, to deal with The Stares that people will send my way when he’s out and about and with head flopping. I will have to put on armor so that his crying and tantruming doesn’t get to me.

But if I don’t do this, and if I don’t do this now – I think I’d be harming him more than helping him. Overspoiling children never leads to good results. So for his benefit – he has to struggle a little bit.

While he develops his will, I will also develop MINE. Letting go will require all the will I can muster! And practicing acceptance, with this last morsel of expectation that I was holding on to, will not be easy. But it’s the least I can do – for myself and for him!


  1. My Dear…Please relax! Do not worry about Nathan he is a happy boy!!!! You need to get ready for Belle… believe me! Nathan is going to grow and learn through Belle. Do not stress!! He will develop more through Belle! Christopher has through Ryan!!!
    I can not even explain………….you just wait and see xo

  2. Oh, Marcela, this post made me smile. I think that you will definitely allow Nathan to grow his “Will” once Belle is here without even working so hard at it! You just simply won’t be able to cater to his every whimper. I find that Emma developed a lot of will from me just being busy with other things that I couldn’t run to her all the time. I still struggle to get her to want to take steps/walk, participate in therapies, but then again they are so little they will get there.

    One comment on the head, though. Our PTs don’t let me let Emma’s head flop forward or to the side too much – they don’t want it to hang for more than a few seconds! They tell me that it could stretch out her muscles which in turn will make it harder for her to keep her head up. So, they told me about a year ago to tell Emma, while she’s in her chair and her head is flopping forwards or sideways, to pick her head up or I’m going to tilt her back. You see, she doesn’t like to be tilted back in her chair. At the time she could only hear for about 4 months with her CIs and her brain was probably still making sense of it all, so she probably had NO idea what I was saying to her. But, after only a month or so, she quickly learned that when I told her she needed to pick her head up and she didn’t do it she was titled way back and she hated that. That is when I noticed a HUGE improvement in her head. We still struggle with it, but it’s soooooo improved from a year ago. So, stick with your plan to stay firm with Nathan. Oh, and if we really want her to keep her head up, we put something that blocks her view from everyone (she’s so nosy and always wants to look at what is going on!) if her head is down as another incentive to keep it upright.

  3. Amiga……. paciencia, tolerancia todo lo que podamos hacer por nuestros hijos es valorable y aceptado, si tu ahora piensas que es lo mejor para Nathan, hazlo, despues de un tiempo vas a ver los resultados, solo te puedo decir que la desiciones que podamos tomar para nuestros hijos, a veces no van a ser las mas optimas, pero es algo que hay que hacer para el bien de ellos y todo vale en el crecimiento personal de ellos, nunca debemos olvidar que somos las personas que mas conocemos a nuestros hijos y podemos intuir lo que va a resultar de lo que queramos emprender. Amiga ánimo, ten confianza en tí mismo y en Nathan, todo lo que puedas hacer para él, para darle su autoconfianza y autonomía es válido, mucha luz para ustedes y que todo resulte como tu lo esperas, fuerza y les mando un gran abrazo, mil besitos para Nathan y Belle!


    you can do it marcela what child sn or not would not take the cuddles if they just cried a bit, don’t kid yourself belle will do it to.

  5. Just what I decided i will do with my angel, zimizo. I decided I will leave her on her tummy most of the time { she doesnt like it either. why do they dislike it} , I will just block my ears to her cry. I guess if one does it for a month she will stop crying. Well done!!

  6. Good to hear from you!!!!! Yes we have started the “big tummy time”. This weekend we were on it and expectedly big cry, but my ears were blocked. Most times I had to lie with her to keep her calm
    BTW, we are hoping to do ABR in May and I am just wondering if it is worth it, just hoping that it wont be money down the drains. It will cost us about $8,000 , therapy fee, airfare, accodation and all. We’ll be going to Denmark for that. We have been on the traditional PT for all these three years and I just want to try some of these alternative therapies moms talk about on the forum. You have done so much for Nathan that I feel like I have just been watching my baby.
    Saw your “belly” Hm…….

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