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When it is HARD to Like to Your Child of Trauma

March 2, 2013

This someecard is funny and cute. And if you are parenting trauma you WISH that all your child did ‘wrong’ was draw on the walls and shave the dogs. But there is an important take-away message here.

Did you know that you can release calming and loving chemicals in your brain simply by conjuring up a memory? Take a moment to go back in time to when a romantic relationship was just beginning. Your brain was flooded with lots of happy, loving, feel-good chemicals during those early days and weeks of a new romantic relationship. If you really put yourself back into that time…bring up a vivid picture, remember the feelings inside your body, the sounds, the smells…and your brain will actually start releasing those SAME chemicals that it did way back when.

When it’s hard to love your kid (and be rest assured- when you are a trauma mama it is sometimes HARD to love your kid) you can actually conjure up some of those early feelings just by thinking about early, loving memories.

Some ideas:

  • Remember the moment you first ‘met’ your child. For adoptive parents, this might be the moment you received a photo. Or it may be the moment you physically met. For biological parents, this might be the moment you learned you were pregnant. Or it might be the moment your child was born.
  • Remember an experience of sweet, loving, connection.

The trick here is to really remember. Spend some time having a full body memory. Use all of your senses. Bring up a picture. Remember what you could see, hear, smell, and what your body felt like. Remember smiling at your child. What that felt like in your face. The warm and tingly feelings in your chest, your cheeks, and your eyes.


This feeling will not clean up the walls (or the window that was broken, because our kids don’t just write on walls…) but it will calm your body down, release chemicals in your brain that are GOOD for you and your health, and provide a small safety net for the relationship with your child that may be deteriorating….slowly or quickly.

****After thought**** As I was proofreading this article, I received an email with jpeg attachments that I needed to download and view. Viewing the jpegs required that I go to the gallery on my tablet that I haven’t looked at in a LONG time. Looking for my attachments, I found some photographs of my now seven-year-old when he was about 14-months-old. I literally stopped what I was doing, my entire body and brain slowed down, and I smiled ear to ear as I slowly looked through photos I haven’t seen in a long time. Then I remembered that I was supposed to be looking for my attachments. And then I realized that I just had the experience that I described above. Just looking at those photos, really feeling the memory and enjoying my smiling baby with my whole body, opened my heart, slowed me down, and lifted my mood.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2013 8:48 am

    Loving reminder to all.

  2. March 18, 2013 11:11 am

    Hi Robyn – beautiful.

  3. March 21, 2013 6:30 pm

    Sweet. I love looking at my boys’ baby pictures. It can be bittersweet, but it is calming and leaves me so grateful for that time.

  4. March 21, 2013 6:58 pm

    Photos can be powerful. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. April 3, 2013 11:53 am


    I think that your reminder is an important one for ALL parents. Sometimes kids make it hard to like them–even if we love them. Using a skill like this is a powerful way to re-connect. It’s also an important one to pass along to our kids. Thanks so much for sharing your own story as well.


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