Because attachment parenting makes a difference

To be in mama’s lap – being held, being read to, being loved, being hugged and being reassured that you have a place in this world means everything.

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I don’t have memories of being in my mama’s lap.

I don’t have memories of being sung to, or read to.

I don’t have memories of being hugged or kissed by my mama.

I don’t have memories of my mama telling me she loves me.

I don’t have memories of my mama soothing away my numerous fears.

*****

I have memories of being yelled at.

I have memories of being sent away when I was around.

I have memories of soap in my mouth.

I have memories of being told I didn’t clean the bathroom enough.

I have memories of being smacked across the face, once so hard my glasses flew off.

I have memories of being told to stop daydreaming…to get my head out of my ass…to grow up.

I have memories of being told I’m too messy, too lazy, too absentminded, too emotional.

****
I have the distinct memory of my mother’s words to me when I was 34 and I told her I was pregnant with daughter number 3 (the one in the picture above):

“You’re kidding right?” says my mother.

“No, we really are pregnant again” I say.

“Well, you’re stupid if that’s true” she said. (yes, she really did)

It turns out that daughter number three blessed me in many ways. She’s my giggler, my optimistic, outgoing child (she can make friends in an instant), my silly little bird, and my only baby not fussy as an infant. She nursed for 3 years and 1 month, and restored my broken heart after having very little success with nursing daughters 1 and 2.

****

I’m 39 years old and it still hurts to remember. No, more than that…it made me very angry that it affected my connection to my children for a while and confused what was important for me in this time in my life.

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2 Responses to Because attachment parenting makes a difference

  1. After a while, you have to learn to love in spite of the countless reasons in your head that tell you you can’t. You have to stroke your own hair and conduct your own loving dialog with yourself.

    You tell yourself you’re kind and lovable and worthy of good things.

    I have to constantly remind myself I love me. And perhaps only you can understand how difficult that is to say….and to believe.

    Survival is idiosyncratic. Your experiences were/are different, hence your recovery will be too. But I can share this much with you: You have to make up for lost time yourself. You have to learn to crawl up in your own lap and embrace your fears away. Either that or you have find a metaphorical one belonging to someone who cares about you. Either way, you have to make the effort.

    Mothers who are mean and cruel because their mothers were mean and cruel create the voids. It’s up to us to fill them. Is it fair? No, but for little girls who’ve become women, not much has ever been fair, but what are your options? To leave the gaping holes in your life to be filled with God knows what? That would only ensure that the buck WOULDN’T stop with you.

    That would only mean 20 years from now, your daughters will be writing this same blogpost about you. And the victimization continues.

    That’s where our strength comes in. that’s where our integrity comes in and we have it, despite the fact that our dysfunctional parents tried to destroy it. We have learn to see them as victims, too….monsters only because they were so emotionally tortured by someone else.

    Perspective ain’t easy, but we can’t heal and go on without it.

    Be strong for your daughters…that’s important. Be even stronger for yourself–that’s vital.

    Best,
    LK

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Laurie, you are so right.

    These series of blog posts are getting to the heart of things and putting things in perspective. They are my way of remembering to take the time to cuddle and read to and talk to my girls…even when I’m so drained.

    I have so much love for them, and yet I fall into snappishness sometimes. Sometimes the girls bicker and talk incessantly and run in the house (only a problem because it’s small).

    The anxiety I had about my middle daughter’s selective mutism was a heavy burden I carried for a while. Things are improving so much now, and just in these first few weeks, she’s been “shining like a star” like her former teacher knew she could. I was told that even though things are much better, it takes a while before the anxiety dissipates and the body can relax and trust things will be better. I can stop being on edge about what happens to her in school and stop having to write letters to teachers explaining things. What a relief that is.

    I realize that while I carried this burden, no one carried me. I hadn’t felt this alone with anxiety since I was a little girl. I am strong, I did overcome a bad childhood, and now it’s time to really believe I am a good mother.

    I need to work on self care…because when I let that slip (lack of sleep, lack of eating, or not even nice things for myself like getting a hair cut or gasp! shaving my legs! and work on getting outside more) I get really cranky. I love being outside and their won’t be many more days to do that (winter in the mid-west is brutal sometimes and I hate being cold).

    Thank you my friend for your kindness and your warm and caring thoughts.

    I’m sending warm thoughts back to you, my friend…because you are one of those inspirational people that, even in your humorous writings, make a hell of a lot of sense in this crazy world, maybe especially so because you make me laugh while you tackle life’s absurdities and inevitable changes (like menopause – not looking forward to those hot flashes you describe!).

    To both of us I wish more love and peace.

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