Life can be serious business.

#FacesOfPTSD – How Do We Talk to Our Kids About Parenting with PTSD?

As part of the #FacesOfPTSD campaign, I’m sharing a very important and valuable piece by Kelly Wilson of PTSD Parent.

kellyMy kids have had questions about my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder through each stage of their growth and development. Throughout each phase, my question has always been, “How much do I tell my kids about my PTSD?” While I have not come up with the ideal answer to that question, I have come up with some ideas that have helped me. ~Kelly Wilson

 

To read the full article, click here.


Want to learn more about the #FacesOfPTSD campaign and how easy it is to get involved? If you’d like to learn more about the campaign, you can read the #FacesOfPTSD campaign kick-off post.

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Join the Parenting with PTSD newsletter to receive a FREE book on release day!

If you are a parent navigating the challenges of living with PTSD while raising a family, we welcome you to join our supportive Parenting with PTSD facebook community.

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Life can be serious business.

A Letter to My Daughter — From Your Trauma-Recovering Momma.

In any given moment, I have to make a decision that you will learn from. I have to pull from a very dry well of parental guidance. I have to fight the urge to react to my initial responses to you, more often than I would like to admit.

parenting surivor memeWhen Hasty reached out to me, asking if I would like to write a post for her relationship series, I was excited to be a part it. And then my nerves kicked in. I had been thinking a lot about how being a survivor of childhood abuse has affected my relationship with my children, especially my daughter, and knew that was the relationship I wanted to focus on. It was difficult to be true to authentically evaluating our relationship, and avoid sugar-coating the tough spots. Fear of judgment with this piece and negative self talk was the most difficult space to crawl out of in order to write this. But I did it. And I can only hope others can relate, and feel a sense of relief knowing they are not alone in raising their children, while re-raising themselves.

Click here to read the post in it’s entirety.

Life can be serious business.

A Book Release, A Re-Birthday and Why I Want to Celebrate and Hide at the Same Time.

Twenty years ago today, at the age of 14, I boarded a plane that carried me in to my new life. A safe life. A life I never expected to have the chance to experience. Today, I celebrate that life-changing event and the creation of tangible proof that shame and trauma no longer own me.

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With the release of the Trigger Points Anthology today, I am a bit overcome with pride, grief, elation and a touch of fear. I’m reflecting on the past year working with Joyelle to create the anthology, and all the blood, sweat, tears and energy that went in to this. I’m thinking about this powerful tool that we and the writers have created, and the possibility that it can change lives. And honestly, I’m fighting the urge to crawl under my blankets and hide from all of it.

My desire for invisibility started on Monday night, after I met with a local arts group board members, in hopes that they will host a book signing for me. I knew I would have to speak, but I prepared nothing. I spoke off the cuff and actually did very well.

But here’s the thing, I have never said the words “I am a sexual abuse survivor” to anyone outside of my therapist and those I am close to. My voice cracked a bit but I would not let myself break eye contact with the people sitting around the table. I kept my composure and talked openly about my experiences as a parent survivor and the book. When I got home, I felt like a wet noodle. Every part of my being was exhausted. It’s amazing to me the energy it took to say those six little words out loud.

I can’t and I won’t hide though. I’m going to sit with my emotions today. I’m going to remind myself that I deserve to feel pride and that the fear I am experiencing is a result of the false beliefs I have carried with me for too long–I am not broken, I have a right to tell my story and there are others out there that need to hear it.

The other part of my frayed nerves is due to an essay I wrote, published today on Hasty Word’s blog for her Relationships are Hard series. It’s a letter to my daughter in regards to the struggles I face and the worries I have because I parent her with trauma on my back. It’s raw, it’s honest and it’s not easy to speak about, but necessary.

 

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This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and my recovery. I have so much gratitude in my heart for those that have helped me get to this place; my co-editor Joyelle, my husband, my sister and my friends all allowed me the space to talk about something that isn’t always easy to hear, and then championed me through out this journey.

To them and my followers who have written so many inspirational and personal comments and messages to me… Cheers!

And to all the brave survivors out there working to create a healthy life for yourself and your children…you are my heroes.

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available through Amazon, in both paperback and Kindle versions. I hope that you will check it out, read the inspiring reviews and add it to your own library. If you would like to purchase a copy, click here!

 

Life can be serious business.

Trigger Points Anthology ~ The Book, the Creators, the Mission.

Parenting with trauma on your back feels impossible at times. You’re not alone.

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Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

Joyelle and Dawn are survivors of childhood abuse working to break the cycle for their own families. Raising children as an abuse survivor is often a lonely and isolating experience, as the triggers and flashbacks of abuse can be hard for non-survivors to understand. When they were looking for stories of how other survivors coped, and couldn’t find any, they decided that something needed to change.

Together they started an online community specifically for parent survivors, and started collecting essays to create the Trigger Points Anthology. A book where survivors of all forms of childhood abuse could talk about what it is like to be a parent when your own childhood was so traumatic.

Parenting when you experienced childhood abuse often feels like walking back into a war zone as a soldier with PTSD. There are flashbacks and triggers everywhere, and most parents are completely blindsided by them because no…

View original post 98 more words

Momma has lost her mind.

No Nap…Yada, Yada, Yada and Now Eyes Roll When I Walk Into My Kid’s Doctor’s Office.

As I feared, full on meltdown when I asked him to please not bang the cars into the walls. There goes a car across the room, missing someone’s grandmother by six inches. Now cue flopping fish-out-of-water syndrome. I should have listened to my Momma survival instincts, grabbed the volatile little hulk and his sister and gotten the hell out of there. But no.

nap time fails

I have a post up on Today Parenting team today that might have you re-thinking skipping nap time, even if it means you have to re-schedule appointments or forego necessary errands. Hoping you’ll head over and have a laugh on me (perhaps a little pity as well). If you enjoy reading my post, consider hitting the ‘vote up’ button and I may get a chance to have my essay featured on the Today Show. 😉

Click the link to read my post in it’s entirety. “He’s fine, I swear. He just missed his nap today.”

Has your child ever made a scene (or two) in public, because you were foolish enough to believe that a quick trip to fill in the blank  without a nap would work?? I’d love to hear about it. 😉 Come on, I need a good laugh today.

Life can be serious business.

A Book Cover Reveal and a High Five From the Universe.

We are kicking off the month long countdown to the release of the Trigger Points Anthology today with a cover reveal!! Isn’t it beautiful!

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I was trying to visually represent how motherhood had taken my whole self apart, re-arranged all the pieces and put them back together in a completely new and un-recognizable pattern. ~Joyelle Brandt

You can read what else Joyelle has to say about her process of creating the image, and what the anthology means to her here.

With one month to go before the book release, I’m sitting here with a slight case of perma-grin, and tears filling my eyes. The irony of being able to make November 18th the release date has me feeling a bit raw, but proud. November 18th, 1995 is the day I got on a plane and the abuse was finally over for me. I was 15 years old and had endured sexual abuse for the past eight years of my life. I came to a place two years ago when I started to see how that day was a birthday of sorts for me. Happy Re-Birthday to Me: A Sexual Abuse Survivor’s Coming Out Story is an essay I wrote two years ago about learning to let go of the shame, and moving on. It was also the first time I ever publically (and by publically I mean speaking outside of like three people) spoke/wrote about the abuse.

So to now have the anthology be released on that day 20 years later…I’m convinced it’s the universe high fiving me.

For me, this is more than a brilliant collection of words. It’s a seed. It’s a very personal introduction to a parenting topic that needs compassionate attention; a resource for a parent to grab a hold of when he or she is triggered in the throws of parenthood, and feel less alone. The anthology is a collective example of what it looks like when a child who is abused grows up, becomes a parent her/himself and learns how to tune in to triggers in order to heal and break the cycle of abuse.

If you want to learn more about the anthology and the awareness Joyelle, the writer’s and I are trying to raise on the topic of parenting as a survivor, you can visit our website at TriggerPointsAnthology.com.

We also have a supportive Facebook community that has quickly taught us how not alone we really are. Like our page and/or follow our blog to keep up to date on the release of anthology, and take part in this journey right along with us.

If you are interested in providing an honest review of the book or have questions or comments for the editors, please email us at triggerpointsanthology@gmail.com

~Dawn

 

 

Momma has lost her mind.

Who Knew So Many Parents ‘Get’ Me.

hell yeah

Since posting my most recent article, Can I Get A ‘Hell Yeah’ For Mediocre Parenting, I have become humorously aware of how much alike us parents are, instead of different and caddy, as the media portrays us to be.

Today, my article is being featured on an Australian parenting online magazine called Kidspot. Those Aussies are funny mums and pops. I’ve spent the morning reading comments and I think I even converted a few to become red wine drinkers. Yesterday, the article was published on Huff Post Parents. Pretty awesome!

I already knew how humor can bring us all together, but I didn’t realize until now how being able to laugh at ourselves as parents could make us all calm down the mommy guilt we all carry.

My favorite comments are the ones where women are recommending the article to their girlfriends. I see a lot of “So us!” I think this post resonates with so many because I’ve said out loud what I normally only say to my closest girlfriends. It really just goes to show we are all doing the best we can and no one really has this gig totally figured out.

So cheers to being down right normal! May we all understand that losing our shit once in a while does not, in fact, mean we aren’t loving, awesome parents. 😉 ~Dawn

~Dawn

Momma has lost her mind.

Can I Get A ‘Hell Yeah’ For Mediocre Parenting?!

Wine or coffee...you be the judge.
Wine or coffee…you be the judge.

I admit it. I was one of those moms that said, “my kid will never …” I thought I had a say in how my kid’s personalities would form. I ridiculously assumed that because I am their mother, that would be enough to make them obey. Well, karma has raised her hand and bitch slapped my righteous ass.

I’ve written before about my sassy baby girl. I’ve told you how she speaks her mind and is too smart for her own good. It’s true what they say, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Oh my Lawd that child has an attitude I hate to recognize. Most days I feel like I am dealing with a PMSing five year old. Her refusal to simply do as she is told makes my blood boil to a temperature hot enough to fry an egg on my tired ass.

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My beautifully spirited daughter will go far in life, I have no doubt. I’m just not sure we’ll both survive to see it happen. I’m old school people, with southern roots. I don’t take kindly to talking back. I have that “look” that scares children and grown ass men, but my daughter is rarely affected by it. She sees it as a challenge and her fighter’s heart will not back down. She will argue her point, even when she knows I know she’s wrong. The sassy one is the most passionate being I know. She has fierce blood but a tender soul. I love her for that but my God it makes it difficult to parent her.

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And my son…he’s the most handsome little ball of insanity you’ll ever meet. The boy has mad skills. He could convince Judge Judy that he needs a third cheese stick, and then like the diva he is, will decide it isn’t quite the flavor he was going for. He will then throw the wrapper at his feet and refuse to pick it up. I’ve left said wrapper on the floor for an entire day and have even withheld food until he decides to pick it up. I cave every time because the terrible two year old would rather go on a hunger strike than do something he just simply doesn’t feel like doing. He doesn’t win every time, but the score card is currently in his favor.

I never understood why parents let their child stay up past a reasonable bed time. I’d say dumb shit like, “I just wouldn’t tolerate it.” Enter kid number two and I have learned my tolerance level means absolutely squat to a little dude who needs less sleep than his momma on a writer’s high. I was spoiled with my first child. She has always been asleep by 8 at the latest. My little guy, at two, seems to think he should remain the center of the universe at 10pm. It isn’t a matter of not putting him to bed at a reasonable hour, it’s a matter of keeping his cute little butt in his bed. That little sucker will continuously come down the stairs, no matter what. He has even gone as far as perfecting the art of holding in a poop until an ungodly hour so he has a valid excuse to get up. Well played, little man, well played.

I’m telling you, my children are the reason I had to switch to red wine. White just no longer offered the kind of mind-numbing, patience-aiding effects necessary to make it through cranky hour. Ya know, that time between 4pm and whenever their precious bodies finally decide to give out. How in the hell do people survivor more than two children??? Oh God, that was not a challenge, please sweet Jesus do not take that as a lesson I need to learn!

I love my babies, I really do. And I know I am not the first mother to feel like a total failure because her children don’t listen to her and things don’t go the way she thinks they should. I’m just in that moment where scratching my eyes out and cutting off my arms at the elbows seems reasonable. That way I won’t have to point out the remote they can’t find that is right freakin’ next to them, or make one more freakin’ snack because they never. stop. eating.

Christmas break ends tomorrow and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t ecstatic. If I have to listen to one more ridiculous fight or bake one more set of cookies, I may just strap on the straight jacket and call it a day. I’m seriously considering looking the other way and letting Darwin’s theory play itself out, as they fight over the cheapest, dumbest toy in the house. More than once over the past two weeks I have clicked my heels, hoping to find myself sitting in a CEO worthy leather chair, wearing the most bitchin’ pink power suit you’ve ever seen, staring over the skyline of a city that never sleeps. Yes, I admit it, I have dreamed about what it would be like to be childless.

So on the eve of this way too long of a break in our daily routines, I say cheers! Simply because we have survived it. To all the mothers and fathers that have lost their shit more than once recently, I high five your normal ass. Now I need to go pour myself a big ‘ol glass of red wine and put the straight jacket on reserve. I promised the sassy one and her wild little brother they could help me make some cookies with the last of the M&Ms that crazy, fat bastard put in their stockings. Someone call the funny farm and let them know I’d like a room with a view please.

Life can be serious business.

The Gift of an Imperfect Mother.

“Momma, I feel sad and I don’t know why.”

Startled to find my daughter so upset, I walked to her bed and put her on my lap. She nuzzled her head in to the crook of my neck and cried. I pulled her away a bit so that I could see her face. There it was. Pale lips and dark circles under her eyes. She was just tired. I told her to take a few deep breathes with me, close her eyes, and I rubbed her back until I heard that familiar rhythm in her breathe. I kissed her cheek and headed downstairs.

My daughter is so much like me. An old soul full of heart and fury. She digs deep to find the funny in life, but easily trips over frustration. I watch her get stuck on sad and overwhelmed when she’s angry. She loves deeply. She is persistently after a purpose. She is all or nothing. A trait that I know first hand can break you, if you never learn how to bend.

I walked from room to room, picking up toys and clothes and dishes. I couldn’t stop thinking about the very real possibility that my children will be at battle with their emotions and thoughts the way I have always been. Mental illness and trauma run rampant through my blood line. I am a product of generational dysfunctions, mental illness and addictive personalities. Raised on a foundation like that, how can I not fear that my children will feel a ripple effect.

Truth is, I’m scared as hell. Of myself. That I am only going to encourage the ripple, simply by being me. That my faulted inner dialogue will start to become theirs. I am damaged goods, and it’s only a matter of time before I wear off on them.

The weight of thinking this way pushes the air right out of me. It’s so familiar. A usual game-over for me, to which I fall defeated in to a funk. However, there is something different about this moment. I’m am less accepting of this way of thinking. This scenario that has played out in my head over and over seems to have lost some of its power.

imperfect mom

Maybe it is because of my inherent broken pieces, my sorrow, my personal fight, that I am the mother that they need. If and/or when that ripple reaches them, I’ll notice. They won’t get lost in a wave of unbalanced chemicals like I did. I see invisible red flags everywhere I go, because I’ve been the one waving them. I know how to keep my children from being vulnerable to the real predators. I know the importance of trusting my gut and can teach my children to do the same.

I understand the value of validating a child’s words and actions, because mine never were. I know how dangerous it is to neglect a child’s mental health. I have the scars to prove it. It’s because of those invisible scars that I can love, nurture and protect my children with empathy. I have to remember that although wounded, I have succeeded at breaking a cycle. I did that. That holds more power than any cracks in my or my children’s foundation.

Embracing our imperfections for what they are and what they are not is the only way to ease this kind of fear. We can’t change the building blocks our children have been given, but we can accept them with grace. We don’t have all the answers but what we do know, they will be better off for it. We need to stop tearing ourselves apart and harboring so much unnecessary guilt. Most of us would never advise a friend the way we advise ourselves. So why do we value others self worth more than our own?

Isn’t this true for most parents? That we all have these self doubts and moments of “not good enough”. The reasons are different but I truly believe it is because we just want to get this one job, raising our children, right.

Perhaps these imperfections are my tools, gifts really, that allow me to raise, protect and love in a way that fits my children’s mold. We all want the next generation to do a little better than we did. We have to be in tuned with our own glitches in order to make that happen. If we never accept and examine the glitches, we may never see them for what they really are–advantages.

My children may turn out like me, but they are not me. I can only hope that it is the best parts of me that they absorb. They will benefit from what I’ve been through, hopefully without ever having to experience it. But if in fact they do grow to have demons that knock on their own door, they will be equipped with the most perfect, imperfect tools I can give them…and they will thrive.

Life can be serious business.

Giving Shame the Middle Finger, One Post at a Time.

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Cheers to all of you! For your support and love in helping us #breakthecycle

Those SisterWives…they are a bad-ass gang of women, that practice what they preach. They see hope and believe in the cause and project I am fighting to make happen. So much so, they have allowed me a second spot on their beautiful blog this week. Today, I get personal, and a little angry about the struggles we survivors face and also the obstacles in bringing other survivors out of the dark.

Reading my words is enough. Giving me feedback is awesome. But remember, sharing is caring people. Help Joyelle and I spread the word as far as we can. Every share so far has reached more people, telling us Thank You for bringing to light something they felt alone in feeling. Help us shine that light so freakin’ bright it blinds the fear holding others back. So much love to my readers!!!!  xoxoxo ~Dawn

Parenting – An Unexpected Trigger.

**If you would like to help us strengthen this community of survivors and/or promote the upcoming Trigger Points Anthology, we would love to write for your platform. Just ask!