In the spring of 2003, I was blissfully pregnant, working on my art degree and living a wildly creative life. Home life was easygoing and marriage was fun. Life was not perfect, but it was pretty great. I had balance.
Then Mia was born, and suddenly I was not a student, wife, artist, or individual person. I was a mother. I thought that in order to be a good mother, I had to give all of myself. This pattern has been present for a long time. I have tended to give more energy, time and money to others than I keep to myself.
It turns out that giving too much is not the gift I thought it was. Sacrificing the self damages not only the self, but those around us. Only when families, relationships, and our selves are in balance, we can feel whole and parents must maintain these boundaries. We need a village to raise our children, and it is good to accept help and trust others to care for our children. I know that now, and while it has taken me about nine years to get here, I am glad I made it.
Things are good now. I have space. There is quiet, alone time, time with my husband, sleep, time with friends and family, and time with each child alone. I feel deserving of these things. Keeping house and managing meals has become easier, too. I may even have the energy to start exercising–something I have neglected since Anna was born.
What tipped the scale largely in my favor was sending Mia to school. It has been awesome.
We have all experienced trauma of varying degrees. Depending on our sensitivity levels, our coping mechanisms, and our awareness, these traumas affect each of us in unique ways. In some, they cause us to attract partners that hurt us, turn us into addicts of drugs, work or exercise, give us health problems, or make us anxious or depressed. Wherever there is trauma within us, there is also a little wounded child.
The more we nurture and acknowledge our wounded inner child, the less she will hurt. Although she lives in the past, she is hurt in the present and very much shapes our lives in the “now”. She can cause us to destroy our lives and run from relationships, or she can help us grow and become magnificent beings.
We expect those closest to us to understand our “soft spots”–our trauma and this little wounded child–and avoid hurting her and ever “going there”. But it happens. Perhaps it is impossible to avoid being hurt, and perhaps the hurt happens with a purpose. Lessons tend to repeat themselves until they are fully understood.
If we actively work on healing the inner wounded child, each time she is hurt, we can rebound more quickly and be better able to judge the situation with logic. Prescription or other drugs are not healing mechanisms, but rather they give us escape and a prolonging of our difficulties. To heal the inner wounded child, we have to look her in the eye.
When the primal self or inner wounded child takes over and goes into self-defense, our minds become irrational and we strike back, withdraw, or turn to destructive patterns. This is the state in which we have the choice of walking the path of healing or the path of of destruction. Choosing the path of healing is the only way to a whole and happy life.
Here is an excellent piece on healing the inner wounded child.