It has been several months since I had an epiphany about my life: past, present and future — surrounding kids. Actually, it was less of an epiphany and more of a slap in the face. I had one day just realized that this narrative I was speaking, “I don’t want kids”, was just projecting out of my mouth and when I was finally faced with “why”, I was stumped.
So, I started unpacking that thought and I found out I actually had a lot of reasons why, but they were all rooted in trauma and fear.
- A manipulative and abusive relationship with someone who wanted to drill into my head that I didn’t want kids, that I wasn’t meant for that life. Eventually, his words became my script. I did not see it coming.
- Fear of becoming all of the personas of people who hurt me. “I don’t want to be an abusive parent”, “what if they don’t love me?”, “what if I can’t handle it?”, etc.
- Fear of not being able to protect them.
That last one has just come into play recently and it has hit me like a ton of bricks. I finally felt free enough to say out loud, “I DO WANT KIDS. HOLY SHIT!” (I wish it was more poetic, but that’s basically how it went). And since that moment, I feel really open, to receiving love and to giving more of it away.
But then I started getting so emotional every time I was around kids. Not in the sense of, “give me one”, but more, sadness. Here is a prime example, at therapy a few weeks back, there was a young girl in the waiting room with me. She was playing with a marble set, I had the same one when I was a kid. She looked sad. Really, really sad. I started welling up, and it was a really big struggle to hold back those tears. I didn’t know what that was about at the time, but I do now.
I think ultimately my biggest fear keeping me from even admitting I wanted to be a mother, is the urge to want to protect children. All of them. I have so much respect for parents, it seems like the most overwhelming job in the world, trying to protect kids. My parents did a great job of protecting me as best they could, but ultimately, someone still hurt me.
My childhood trauma has left me with some emotional scars that have kept me from getting close to anyone, at least I suspect, that has played a big role in who I have chosen to be in relationships with. Men who won’t commit and who I have no future with have always been who I sought out. I would never have to face my fear of protecting a child if I never have to think about having one.
At the meetup this week, I almost came emotionally unglued. A girl came, who I could instantly tell was hurting. My heart almost ripped in half when I couldn’t help her. But bless our community of people at Breaking Free, because everyone in the room, all looking at me in the facilitator chair, took to my aid. Amazing and supportive words, all of which were true. “That wasn’t your fault”, “you can’t help everyone”, “we are all in different places in our journey”.
I know all of this, but I wasn’t hearing my own advice. Now I understand. I was hurting for her because I know what that pain feels like. As a kid, you don’t yet know that you will come out on the other side. But as an adult who has been through real shit, trust me, you can.
To that girl, and to all the girls and boys who are hurting: you are going to be okay. You will grow to be resilient and strong and you will inspire someone else who needs help. I hear you, I understand you and I definitely see you.
As always, Breaking Free is as much of a gift to me as it is to many of you.