Trauma With Your Mama | Stories | 009

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When I was pregnant myself I found myself waking in the night shaking with rage, thinking about all the times I had been invalidated and treated badly by my Mother. I realised that I had been hiding in my busy life from the grieving and anger that I hadn't had the supportive, trustworthy, stable Mother relationship that I had wanted in my bones, and that I was so terrified of traumatising my own daughter. I had the sense that I was out of control, that I was going to suddenly start acting like she did without being aware of it and cause harm to my child. I have had OCD since childhood, which I kept hidden very effectively from pretty much everyone, but it got to the point of being unbearably painful for me - intrusive thoughts that I was going to black out and hurt my baby followed me all day and night. 

A very skilled therapist helped me to consider the harm that was done by the years of my Mother lashing out verbally and subsequently denying it had ever happened... or acknowledging it, but saying that she couldn't help it, things 'just come out' (whilst usually crying and centering her own trauma and pain so that I would enter into 'caretaker' mode and tell her that everything was fine.) 

I had got the message deep down that when you're a Mama, you lose control of what you say and do. I realise now that my own Mother has been stuck in her pain and her story, and it has made all relationships difficult for her. I feel sad for her, but am working on letting myself feel unashamedly sad for myself too (without excuses or guilt... 'she did her best, she was mentally unwell' etc. Those things are true but they don't mean I can't acknowledge the harm that was done and pain I still live with) I feel proud of myself that I am working so intentionally on my own healing so that I don't feel stuck in my history as I think she does, and so that I don't pass that particular pain to my daughter. I will never be a perfect mother. No one is. But I know with complete certainty that I will always stop, take a step back and listen when my daughter says that I have hurt her. No matter how much that brings up a wave of shame and defensiveness, I will commit to always apologise for harm done and validate her feelings...without centering my own hurt or making her responsible for 'fixing' me. 


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