Four Years and Healing

5 years ago

My child turns four today. How did it happen? Where did those sucking-at-the-breast all the time days go? Now replaced by the talking-all-the-time days. They were, are, both wonderful and draining at the same time, sucking it all out of me while filling me up again all the more too. Plus with some.

After 64 hours of labor: first of many nights together

Really, I do feel, as I posted on Facebook a couple of nights ago, that my child is my little yodi; my little teacher and inspiration.

I started therapy again this past winter because I fell apart one sunny winter morning; the morning of Christmas eve. I fell apart because I wanted her not to suffer as I did when I was a child. A few sessions into therapy, I confessed this to my therapist; that I felt somewhat inauthentic in my quest for therapy. That I was doing it for her. To be a better mom than mine was.

"Then bow to Lilly," my therapist responded.

So I bow to Lilly.

Towards the end of this latest cycle with my therapist, and after writing about the various ways of finding healing over at Love, Sex, and Family, I dared to do what I described there, which is this:

In psychoanalysis, the idea is to expose the wound by facing the original trauma and thus in a sense reentering it in order to let go of it.


I postponed it till the end of one of my sessions; still reluctant to go there. Fearful I'd fall apart. But then I did it. Spastically, I sobbed the words to something ugly that happened to me as a child.

It was hard. I hyperventilated. I put my head beneath my knees. While I purged the words out.

"He's not your father," I heard her say.

"Tell her you won't ever let it happen to her again."

I saw her, I saw me, at Lilly's age. And I told her; "I will NEVER let this happen to you again!" And I felt it! For the first time, I felt rage. Not shame. Not dirtiness. Just pure: "How the f*ck could you?!!!" And it was so cleansing! So empowering!

I was already a mama bear for my child; from now on you can bet on me also being a mama  bear for me.

I couldn't stand on my legs after spitting those words out. Of what he did. I couldn't feel my hands. I was shaky all over. It was nothing I had experienced before, and it was everything I had experienced.

For the first time, she let our session go over time. Like, for a really long time.

Eventually I left her office. Then I sat down in the waiting room. After a while I braved it to my car to take me home to our house. Where I kept sitting. I wrote a letter to my sister who endured worse than me. And then I kept sitting, still shaky in my body. I made tea. And upon the advice of a good friend, I drank a glass of water, really slowly. At the end of the day, I was okay.

Today we are celebrating Lilly's four-year-old birthday. And I am bowing to her. I teach her and she teaches me. Or the other way around.

Quizzical mama, aka Anne G. Sabo, Ph.D., is a former academic turned public educator, author, speaker, freelance writer, and mama- and sex blogger. LOVE, SEX, AND FAMILY is a resource site she founded devoted to progressive human sexuality information. Her book After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters is forthcoming fall 2012. She writes more about feminism and porn in her New porn by women blog, which accompanies After Pornfied. Her Quizzical mama blog is an educated and personal approach to the politics and philosophies of parenting. She lives in Northfield, Minnesota, a small college town just south of the Twin Cities, with her husband and their preschooler daughter.

(This post was originally published at Quizzical mama.)

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