Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"The soul is healing by being with children." Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My kids are the absolute best. In some weird way, they have helped me heal from the pain of the past.

When I had my oldest, I was terrified I would hurt her and do to her what was done to me. While she slept, I locked myself in the bathroom, turned off the light and in the dark, knelt down on the floor. I begged God to help me not to hurt her. I was terrified. I heard those who were abused, abuse their children. I spent hours in that bathroom, on the floor, begging God to help me never to harm my child. I pleaded with Him to teach me how to be a good mother. I didn't know how. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. All I knew was this innocent little creature depended on me to give her what she needed. I felt so overwhelmed, so afraid.

On days I felt exhausted and impatient, when the building tension inside me needed a release, I cut myself, or threw up, - the only ways I knew to be strong and not fall apart.

I became aware of the power I had over this child. She was so small, so vulnerable, so trusting - I watched her grow, each year of her life more awesome than the previous. It amazed me to see how freely she moved in her body, how easily she laughed and chatted, how safe she felt in her world. I prayed over and over, "God, don't let me ever take that away from her."

Watching her, I saw me as a child; - terrified - hiding, afraid, hating everything about who and what I was. Hating my body, - believing it was my enemy; Unable to speak, - my words caught in my throat; anxious, on guard, - always petrified of getting hurt.

With each stage of her life, I saw myself,- at eight hiding under the balcony, in dark corners biting my arms, slicing deep gashes on my skin, shooting dope into my arms, refusing to eat, living on edge, trying desperately to avoid getting caught, getting hurt.

Then something strange and wonderful happened. I learned to play. I don't know exactly when or how, I just did. All this energy inside me wanted to come out in positive ways. I took my kids into the woods and together we felt the power of nature. The deer came out and the blueherons and my kids went nuts. I went nuts with them. We climbed to the top of the mountains and then we chased each other all the way down to the bottom. I took them to hideouts, and neat secret places that became our places to dream, to talk, to laugh, to bond.

I have never called my kids names, or hurt them. When I'm having a bad day and become irritable and impatient, I apologize to them, letting them know it's me and not them. Since they were little, I have told them I am the luckiest mom in the world to have been blessed with the greatest kids ever.

Teachers, friends and neighbours tell me all the time how amazing they are, how good, and kind and wonderful. God had heard me. He helped me learn how to be a good mom. Yesterday my teenage daughter told me I rock, that I'm her best friend, that she loves me to the moon and back a gazillion times.

My kids have no idea what I lived. I used to think if they did know, they would hate me. I don't think that anymore. I think maybe they would be proud of their mom for having survived and overcome what I have. One day, I'll tell them. For today, I just want to build courage and strength in them and to make sure they know they are completely accepted and respected for who they are.


kiwispirit said...

Good for you. I know it is hard at first trying to make sure we dont do what was done to us. But knowing what we went through and the love we have for this precious being makes it so much easier. But what about the people who did wrong by us why did they find it so hard. They would have known the pain so why could they do it.

Epiphany said...

Parenting is hard enough under "normal" circumstances. To have that relationship with your kids after what you've been through really does show your faith in God and how He's working with you.

I hope my 4 year old daughter says that to me when she's a teenager.

Hannah said...

such a lovely post, very thoughtful.

Polar Bear said...

You have incredible strength and courage. It's great that you have broken the vicious cycle of abuse.

A long time ago, I promised myself I would never have children, and I have kept that promise (even if it's true this was not so much a choice as it was just the way things turned out). I don't think I would have the courage like you to overcome my own hellish childhood.

Your children are so lucky to have a mother like you.

Patricia Singleton said...

My children, a son and a daughter, have known about my incest issues since they were old enough to understand about child abuse. I have openly discussed it with them and answered whatever questions they had. I wanted them to know why they didn't have my father in their lives. I wanted them to know that I was protecting them from him. I wanted them to understand why I am who I am as well. They know that I love them very much.

Terri Tiffany said...

Wonderful how you were able to let it go and play and relax with your children. I think we all fear what we will pass on to our kids, you had more fears than the norm for sure.
I sent you a sample One Sheet and Query letter. Hope it helps!

Colleen said...

Beautiful post. I worried so much about being a good mother and giving my two boys a wonderful childhood. I think I did! Jesus helped me a lot.
My boys have known about my childhood since they were old enough for me to tell them. They both have read my book but I think they found it hard to read the details. They are adults now and good young men. I am proud of them. And I broke the cycle of abuse. That in itself is a victory over what happened to me.
Thanks for visiting my blog and for your note!

Maggie said...

That is a beautifully written and beautifully experienced post. All of the thoughts and feelings that you share with respect to not wanting to hurt your child, the lengths to which you go to prevent it (particularly allowing yourself to think about it and be open and honest about it - that is really fantastic work and self-awareness) are so inspiring for those who read about them - you help normalize people's thoughts and fears so that they too can accept what has happened to them so that they will not repeat the behaviour. I'm so glad you are really able to enjoy being with your children - I find nature is very encouraging that way as well.

Lovely words and more importantly you are working so hard to be the best mother can be through your own self-honesty. I think you are doing really well.