Dear Trauma Momma,
Dear Trauma Momma,
You didn’t sign up for this. When you chose to parent a child who experienced trauma, you didn’t know it would result in you experiencing your OWN version of trauma. You didn’t know that when your child survived a horrific trauma and his physical body healed that his mind would be forever scarred by the impact of trauma.
You didn’t know how isolating this journey would be. Or that you’d have to relearn how to parent. That all your parenting instincts would be almost worthless. You didn’t know that no one would believe you. That your child would be loved by everyone else, and you’d get emails and school reports, and even THERAPIST reports that exclaimed about how wonderful your child is, how charming, and resilient- how much that person just enjoyed being with your child. You didn’t know that instead of beaming with pride that you would feel a frustrated, invalidated, alone, and even crazy. “Maybe my child IS wonderful and I’M the one with the big problem.”
You didn’t know how hard it would be to go out in public. Or have a date with your partner because your child cannot be left with a baby-sitter. You didn’t know how much money you’d spend on therapy, OT, books, medications, and trainings.
You didn’t know that when the flight attendants spoke to the passengers, and no one is even listening, that who they are REALLY speaking to is YOU, trauma momma. You, who really does need to “put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” You didn’t know that parenting trauma is an invitation- no a DEMAND- to focus inward, love yourself, and heal yourself- because only after you put on your OWN oxygen mask can you assist others.
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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.