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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Motherless Mothering: Getting Back on the Horse


Sometimes I stumble. Actually, I stumble often.  Sometimes the past whispers in my ear, tells me I am not good enough, tells me my attainable goals are out of reach. It whispers I am not beautiful enough, smart enough, rich enough, strong enough, or worthy enough. My inner voice is polluted at times.

I heard somewhere, that as mothers, our words and actions to our children become their inner voice as adults. Nothing about parenting is more true. Being a former foster child, who was taken from  an abusive mother, my own inner voice sometimes has a deep, harrowing echo--it sneaks up on me at vulnerable times. It is especially loud during intimate moments and in small daily perceived failures.

It makes me hold my breath, it keeps me expecting hurt. Sometimes it invites hurt. Failures, personal or professional, seem par for the course. In fact, there is a comfort in being cast aside, or losing a professional goal. That nagging whisper can tell former foster children that our negative inner voice is correct. It is the lifelong impact of early abuse.

At age 5, I was found locked in a basement, abused and left to starve. I was put in foster care, and had supervised visits with my abusive mother until I was abut 10. I was later adopted, but both of my adoptive parents died within 2 years. Drowning that inner negative voice took time. But it happened, and it can happen for any adoptee or former foster child. 

Becoming a mother myself saved me in many ways. Former foster children can create a new generation of givers in our own children. We can create strong women and men. Our own inner voices can be quieted for yet another day.