Today’s post is part of the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival celebrating the launch of the second edition of Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering by Amazon bestselling author, Lucy H. Pearce (published by Womancraft Publishing).
Today over 40 mothers around the world reflect on the internal journey of motherhood: raw, honest and uncut. To see a list of the other contributors and to win your own copy visit Dreaming Aloud.net
**Trigger Warning: Mentions child abuse and depression**
I was a tween when my orthodontist began sexually abusing me. Over a period of many years, he continued to pull me further into his web of physical and sexual torture while convincing me that I was the only one who could give him this in order to help him. Help him do what, I’m still not sure.
I told one adult, but wasn’t believed so I accepted the situation, even relished this secret reinforcing that I deserved this pain because I was broken. I returned again and again to appointments that I knew were actually making my teeth more crooked, knowing I’d have pain for days after that I’d have to hide.
This pain bonded me to him more strongly than any of his abusive mental gymnastics ever could. My own fear of myself and always falling short of perfection, made me the ideal target for him.
Even once I was free of the abuser, I kept this message of using pain as evidence that I could keep trying to be perfect. And, if I fell short of perfect, pain was the perfect punishment. I’d inflict it upon myself or entice others to give me pain.
I tried to control how I appeared, how my body looked, how good I was in sports and academics, but all the while I was afraid that someone would find out the real me inside: the broken, worthless me. I wrote poems like these:
If I read you my poetry
You will see inside of me.
Core of polluting coal,
50-pack lung soul.
Rotten bulb flowering.
So, I will never show
And you will never know.
I stayed in this headspace through college, marriage, and work. I decided that I never wanted kids because there was so much pain in the world. But, as I moved further away from work-life and more toward Yoga life, I felt that this was perhaps the reason to have kids.
I certainly didn’t know what I was getting into becoming a parent. I think I was completely focused on pregnancy, and birth as a kind of protection. If I had known what having a child actually entails, I think I would have used every form of birth control simultaneously.
I didn’t know that babies came with grappling hooks and jackhammers, but mine did. Becoming a parent meant that my carefully constructed walls were torn down and smashed. And my strategy to use pain to cope was no longer an option. Here was this example of true perfection in my arms. A being who was completely open to giving and receiving.
I couldn’t hide from him and I couldn’t hide from myself any longer. Being brave was the only option, but I cried and shook my fists about it. (I still do sometimes.)
This being was dependent on me for everything. And I was learning to give nourishment from my body and my mind without punishing myself. If I took it out on me, I wouldn’t be able to care for him.
It was the first time that I learned how to be needed without pain. It was the first time that I learned how to receive without pain. Every time the pain demons arise, this parenting gig jackhammers it back to bits.
These lessons hurt, but in a different way. I felt that I had a choice this time. It’s a paradox that when I have to care for my children, I also choose to do it with a free heart. And that makes all the difference.
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(Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than proof-reading or editing. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.)