For many of us, the people that bring us into the world are not the same people that enable us to live our best lives. Too often, in fact, the people that birthed and raised us through childhood become an obstacle to our health and personal fulfillment in one form or another.
When we realize this, we feel guilty and conflicted. And alone.
We could instead rejoice at the fact that life has supplied us with several different parents, all the parents we need, if we would only see it. More good news: we don't have to fully reject our original parents in order to receive the parenting of others, either.
There are parents out there for every stage of our lives, every area of personal challenge. There is someone to guide us and love us through it all by way of regular face-to-face interaction, or through words, or through example. We may never even meet some of them in person. A dead author can be a parent if they speak directly to your problem and directly to your heart. You can feel their benevolence through their message and know they would have loved you and the thing you are trying to accomplish. That can be enough to sustain a person.
The corollary to this is that any of us can be parents, regardless of our biological activities. You can be a parent without even knowing it. You can help someone walk part of the road between the cradle and the grave, supporting them when they need it most, raising them up when they fall--and when you do this, you are raising them, period.
I'm excited to be a mother, yet I know I cannot personally supply everything that another human will need throughout their entire life. I want my daughter to know that she can have all kinds of parents, guilt-free, as she walks through life; that if anything, I never want her to feel alone and unsupported.