What Becoming a Parent Taught Me About Compassion


Becoming a parent is one of those things in life that change you. Knowing that you’re responsible for another human being can rock your world! You question things you gave little thought to before because you know that who you are will make an impact on your impressionable child.

Today I want to share a touching story of how becoming a parent changed my blogger buddy, Mychael.

What Becoming a Parent Taught Me About Compassion

Celeste has asked me to tell my story about how I became vegan- thank you for asking, Celeste. Here is the condensed version:

I’d been vegetarian in my younger days, and had put quite a bit of thought into eating animals and whether I should or not. Little by little, I went back to sleep, until about a year and a half ago, when I started focusing back on long-term health again. I am a, let’s say, slightly more “mature” father of a young child, and realized I’d have to be in peak health to 1) keep up with him now, 2) watch him grow up, and 3) live long enough to see him well into adulthood.

I found Colleen Patrick-Goudreau some months into my “leaning in to” a whole-foods, mostly plant-based diet. Although Colleen doesn’t know me, I had started referring to her, when talking to my wife, as “my friend, Colleen”.  I had already watched documentaries like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives and later read The Food Revolution (which had been on my shelf for years).

To make a long story into blog entry length, after listening to all of Colleen’s podcasts, I realized I was already vegan. I assume we are all this way. After peeling away layer after layer of carnistic training, built up over a lifetime, after removing all the unquestioned barriers, there appears a vegan gem inside. Like the ancient jade carver explained, the final piece was there all along, but just had to have the extraneous bits whittled away. I had no more arguments or excuses to eat or use any kind of animal parts or secretions. Thus my vegan adventure began!

Since becoming vegan, I have felt better physically. I know I am walking lighter on our planet. Honestly, though, the best part about it came to me as a surprise. When I was eating animals and their secretions, I unwittingly kept them at a distance. Now that I don’t eat them, and do my best to not participate in their exploitation, my heart has naturally opened to them. They have become included in, as Will Tuttle says, my circle of compassion.

Gary Francione talks about non-humans being part of the moral community. When our circle of compassion grows to include more beings, it naturally follows that we feel better, cleaner, about the lives we are living, doesn’t it?

About Mychael

I’ve been asked for a link to Mychael’s blog, but he’s not a blogger. I met him through Yelp, and you can find more about him and check out his reviews here: Mychael’s Yelp profile.

Photo courtesy of Cute Baby Animals.

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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21 Responses to What Becoming a Parent Taught Me About Compassion

  1. What a beautiful way to describe veganism and the vegan in all of us.

  2. HeartBound says:

    What a wonderful post! Thanks. What’s the link for Mychael’s blog?

  3. natarunmore says:

    What a beautiful journey, you are right about so many things. Becoming a parent had a similar impact on me, I wanted to be sure I was the best person that I could be.. for them. It kick started my journey for that reason too. But however you come to this path, it is absolutely true that you begin seeing the world, and everything living on it in such a different way. We are just like them (the animals), and not above them, and more importantly we don’t have the right to kill and eat them in any which way we want. THank you for this.

    • Thanks for your comment Natalie! It is so true that as a vegan you see the world and everything living on it so differently. Sometimes I don’t get how I could have ever participated in the abuse of animals. Of course, I did for a very long time without feeling the slightest bit of guilt. It is my hope that my blog will at least help a few people to begin to respect animals more. Have a lovely day girlfriend! Celeste 🙂

  4. Lovely post, Mychael. I think Colleen has been a “friend” to many, myself included. 🙂 And I so agree with you about there being surprising aspects of being vegan that one never would have anticipated. It’s hard to explain to people who are “asleep”, as Colleen would say, how truly expansive veganism can be when all they may see is deprivation.

  5. gratefulvegan812 says:

    Well, thanks so much for all the nice comments, y’all! The web may be full of nasty comments but not here on Celeste’s blog! Almost makes me want to start my own blog…someday! Thank you for all you do for humans and non-humans alike! And thanks again, Celeste, for the guest spot. Cheers, friends.

  6. carmen says:

    Wonderful post about Mychael’s story!

    I’ll send you my story soon, Celeste. Thanks for asking me too and especially for your patience!!

    ❤ carmen

  7. I love the image of a vegan gem residing in all humans if we just peel away all the meat layers.

  8. reocochran says:

    Connections to people who are living their beliefs are always blessings to us all. We can learn from Colleen, Mychael and you, of course, Celeste! I loved the beginning of this post, too. Having children really changes how we look at things, small changes in recycling, making ‘green’ choices and including vegan or vegetarian diets can lengthen their lives and expand our world, too! Hugs for this, Celeste!

    • Thanks for reading this Robin! I love Mychael’s story – it’s SO inspirational. Mychael lives close to me, and I hope to meet him in person one day soon. You’re inspirational too Robin! I love your upbeat personality and appreciate all the love you show on my blog. 🙂

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