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If You Dread Mother's Day, Here's How to Self-Mother Through Trauma

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I dread Mother’s Day for many reasons. It is supposed to be a day of celebration for the life of the woman who brought you into the world.

It is not that for me.

My mom was one of my principal abusers.

Not only did she sexually abuse me, but she also emotionally abused me, which set me up for a life of self-doubt, self-loathing and low self-esteem.

Mothers are supposed to care for you unconditionally and keep you safe. My mom did neither.

Knowing about the sexual abuse came to me as an adult through a repressed memory. I was a mother by then and the realization of the abuse was debilitating and put me in the hospital.

How could a mother commit the ultimate betrayal? How could she treat my body like I had no value? How could I have exposed her to my little girl? What was wrong with me that I did not remember sooner?

I worked with my therapist on how my mother had treated me as a child, but I could not get over all the issues that came up around her abuse of me that did not come up with my abuse from others. I saw what she did as an ultimate betrayal of someone. How could she possibly bring me in to the world and still commit such atrocities of her offspring.

I ended my relationship with my mother in 2008. She still lurks in the shadows and stalks me. She seems to not see that she has done anything wrong and does not need to be held accountable for what she has done.

Every Mother’s Day I lament not having a mother to celebrate. I think about how others celebrate their mothers on social media. They post their childhood pictures they all look so happy and healthy. Our pictures looked like that too. Underneath is where the truth lies. The pictures are lies. I was not happy. I was being tortured and no one seemed to know or care.

I miss the mom I never had. I miss innocent cuddles. I miss strong hugs when something scary happened. I miss a reassuring word when I was struggling in school. I got none of this but still long for it.

I consider going back to her.

I long for a hug and reassuring smile. None of that is possible. She is incapable.

I have learned over the years that I must care for myself. That I have it within me to self-parent and find the support I need to be successful at it. Between friends and my treatment team I am better. Mother’s Day gets a little easier every year (not to say it is not still hard).

I now work to self-parent. To give myself all I needed as a child and never received. How do I self-parent?

  • I acknowledge that I never had adequate mothering
  • Grieve the mom I never had
  • Identify what I needed then and now
  • Ask myself how I can meet my own needs
  • Ask others for what I need and be open to it
  • Do the opposite of what my mom did
  • Identify what self-care would look like for me
  • Practice self-care
  • Mother others how I wanted to be mothered
  • Surround myself with mothers I wish I had
  • Be a loving person

You can self-parent too. It is within you to decide that what you got was inadequate and you deserve better. Acknowledge what you think is good parenting and get started. You do not have to wait any longer to get what you need.

Also, buy yourself some flowers for being a great mother to yourself. That is what I did.

Stay a Mighty Strong Mom!

Getty image by LUMEZIA

Originally published: May 4, 2022
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