Learning to overcome past traumas, abuse, and domestic violence as a young mom was something that my kids and I both desperately needed. Before I became a mom, I thought I was okay and that I had healed from my childhood. However, after my daughter was born, I quickly found out that I hadn’t.
I have been a mother for two and a half years, and I am just scraping the tip of the iceberg of my trauma.
Learning I Was Not Okay
I had postpartum depression, but I refused to take any medication for it because I always thought it was a bad thing. I thought I could always get over it on my own, and for the longest, I thought I had. When my daughter was a few months old, I wasn’t depressed anymore, but I was always snapping, yelling, and getting frustrated at even the littlest things. My daughter could fuss for two minutes because she wanted to be picked up, and I would get mad. I realized that this wasn’t okay, and I didn’t want to be the “mad mom.”
Working Through It
I tried to find professional help, but couldn’t afford it and never qualified for assistance. So, I sought out support groups and tips/tricks for working through all my trauma.
The first step was accepting what happened, and not asking “why?” I just had to accept that it had happened and there was nothing I could do about it. The past was the past.
Then I had to forgive not only everyone who had hurt me, but also myself for allowing myself to hold onto that negativity for so long. I always had the mindset of “If I didn’t do this, then x, y, or z wouldn’t have happened.” But that’s not true. You can’t control what others do, say, or feel.
After that, it was a constant battle to not let myself fall back into that mindset or to allow myself to dwell on the negative. I allow myself a few hours to be upset about something, but after that, I put it out of my mind. I have more important things to worry about. Then I learned about extending grace, and it changed everything for me. I just take a deep breath say, “Okay, this happened. It made me feel this way, but I can’t control what happened, only my response to it. I forgive them for doing this (truly forgive, not just say it).” Then breathe out all the negativity and hurt. I have found that this one little technique will allow me to get through almost every situation.
Still a Battle
Even though I recognized what was wrong and I worked through most of it, there will always be little things that pop up from memory from time to time or things that happen currently that will trigger those feelings/reactions. Sometimes, all I do is sit there and play with my kids, and then I just feel like I’m not really there.
Getting over past trauma and staying over it isn’t some flick-of-the-wand magical occurrence. It’s constant work. Sometimes it can be tiring to keep fighting. There are days still where I just don’t want to exist, and I just want to crawl under a rock and just not be for a little bit. Most of the time when that happens I just go take a nap — which usually happens in the small timeframe when both of my kids’ naps overlap.
It has taken me a long time to break the toxic cycles that I found myself falling into. When I became a mother, I didn’t know what kind of mother I was going to be, but I knew what I didn’t want to be. I have worked tirelessly day in and day out not to be that mom.
After my son was born, my postpartum depression was worse than it was with my daughter, so I got the medicine and help that I needed. Luckily, I was better after six months and could get off my medicine. I still find myself yelling a little bit more than I would like, and when I do, I go and cool off for a minute. If I start feeling too frustrated, I put my kids’ favorite show on. I go sit in another room for a few minutes and remind myself that they’re still little and just don’t understand how to be big people yet and that it’s up to me to show them. Most of the time, it helps me snap out of that mindset.
Overcoming your past will forever be a battle. It’s no easy feat for sure, but it will ALWAYS be worth it.