Trigger Warning: Abuse, trauma references and probably some other stuff that might piss people off.

I have decided that for right now, in the space I am in that my writing needs to be raw, vulnerable and unedited.  I can’t go back and allow second guessing of what I am putting out there.  There are so many thoughts and words that are bouncing around, begging for the freedom of being put on a page.

So here I am, again.  All of me.

I tend not to talk a lot about Abigail.  I do in the general terms of our relationship, of us being a family and my being a single mom.  What I shy away from her is personal trauma and my role in that.  I want to respect her privacy as well as my own.  It is an ugly topic to bring to light because there are still places in my heart that are not healed.

We have struggled.  I left her “father” (I use that term in the lightest way because he has done nothing for her) when I was four months pregnant.  We haven’t heard from him in 2 1/2 years and it’s better that way.  I made the choice to protect my daughter from his abuse and we are better off.  After that though I was on my own.  I moved from Florida where we had been living back to Colorado when Abigail was three months old.  Back to my “home” in with my parents who were incredibly abusive growing up.  Moving into to a controlling environment, with a baby, not knowing how to parent because I had NEVER been parented was a shit storm waiting to happen.

Once Abigail and I were on our own is when things started to really get bad.  I was alone.  I was scared.  My trauma that for so many years I had kept buried under the surface with drugs, sex, cutting, detaching and dissociating was rearing it’s ugly head like an angry lion that needed to be fed.  Now believe me.  I kept it covered with my “perfect little church girl ways” Paid my lip service.  Raised my hands in worship, served others, went to bible studies, MOPS, prayed like a mofo.  But when I was alone with Abigail at home that’s when it fell apart.

I had needs.  She had needs and I didn’t know how to meet either.  I needed my environment clean and controlled and with a two year old that just isn’t realisitic.  I had this brewing anger and anxiety in my chest and gut at all times and I would burst at the drop of a hat.  It was bad.  I made some really poor choices as a mom and I hated myself for it everyday.  I didn’t understand why I was in the “sin” I was in.  I would beg God to take it from me.  I figured if I had enough faith, prayed enough, fasted, moved or went to more bible studies He would do something….. ANYTHING.  But He didn’t.

I sank deeper into this storm of not knowing what to do with this beautiful little girl that God had indeed CHOSEN to give me.

I will never doubt that God, in His infinite goodness, knew that I needed to be her mom.  Even though at the time I was a drug addict living in a motel.  Yet I would question Him, hands up in the air in anger at why He would have given her to me if He had know I was going to be such a shitty mom.  I didn’t want to be that way.  I didn’t want to yell and scream and tell a two year old that everything was her fault, or that I hated her.  The shame that I carried for those things was unbearable for so long.

In the midst of this she was sexually abused at a daycare that I had put her in while I was working.  The way the investigation went and the outcome of it still angers me to this day.  The one good thing that came of it was the Victim Compensation board paid for two years of therapy for her.  Which does acknowledge that even though no charges were even filed, they agree that a crime occurred.

In the midst of that, and trying to “manage” and STOP my “sinful” behavior I had so many different people telling me what I needed to do.  I needed to spank her, take parenting classes.  Read “The Strong Willed Child” No thank you and BARF.  People were looking in from the outside, seeing my girl as her uniquely created, spirited self who did struggle with being discipline.  Only because at home everything was so chaotic.  I understand that they were, in their own way trying to help but the by the book, spare the rod spoil the child, authoritarian Christian way does not work for every child.  In doing that they were labeling both of us.  I was defiant because I balk against traditional discipline and she’s been labeled strong willed so many times.

I think I have gotten away from my original intent.   That always happen.  Yet I said I was just going to write what I needed to and not overthink it.

I tried so hard to be a perfect mom, to STOP being a bad mom.  To lay everything down at the cross.  It wasn’t enough though.  I didn’t understand the real cause of why I wasn’t able to parent Abigail the way she deserved.  I was falling apart, our relationship consisted of constant yelling and pain and I even had thoughts about giving up her up.  At five years old yes I did.  I was tired.  Overwhelmed.  Alone and hurting from my own trauma.  Now I have a traumatized child that needs me and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Now two years later we are moving forward.  We have made huge strides and God had done some serious repair and redemption in her heart, mine and our relationship.  We have an amazing therapist.  I see her for myself and we see her together for family therapy.  I learned the reasons why I was reactive.  Not anger, NOT sin.  Not something that would just stop if I read a book, took a parenting class or spanked my daughter.  I never thought that we would be here.  It was not without a ton of hard work.  We had plenty of two steps forward, three steps back.  My trip to Africa last summer sent us back about 10 steps but we have overcome in huge ways.

It’s funny in a, God has a unique approach to healing kind of way, because Abigail and I have a parallel healing process.  Like we are both in the same place at the same time.  Our spirits are so connected because we are together all the time. We just walk through it together and as I parent and help her heal I am doing the same thing for my heart.  My wounded parts that need healing and re parenting are also very similar to Abigail so I really am learning how to be a mom.  The mom that God always knew I could be when He chose me to be even as a junkie,

It’s still hard though.  I wrote about what keeps me up at night for the Story 101 summer session.  It’s the managing.  The making sure that she’s getting what she needs, that I am getting what I need and that God isn’t getting lost in the shuffle.  That I am not neglecting my anchored relationship with Him.  It does go by the wayside because right now I feel like I am constantly going 110 miles an hour.  Between work and mothering there’s nothing left.  Without a partner to share the load there really is nothing left for me.  Abigail needs a lot of me because she didn’t get a lot of the me she needed in the beginning.  It’s like we are going back to her being a baby (which we actually do sometimes) and are starting over.  After all is said and done, I’m drained.  But her heart is healing and so is mine.  We still stumble and fall but that’s where I have learned just how big the Grace of God really is and how far reaching His love really goes.

The last seven years has been ugly and beautiful at the same time.  If you can learn to grasp the ugly and the beautiful and the same time and still call it good, because you know He is good it takes some of the sting away.

As Always,

Bethany

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