I’ve spent my entire life hiding my past from others, but it’s been become much more difficult since becoming a parent.
It’s hard being a parent. Everything about having children changes us and forces us to change in ways we never imagined. Some of the changes have been good for me, but some of them have been absolutely agonizing. I’ve been forced to recognize things I wish I could have forgotten forever.
Before having children, I knew that something was wrong inside. There were always parts of my past that I couldn’t remember and I never really felt connected to my childhood. I knew that I’d endured sexual abuse by multiple family members, physical abuse from my father and the sudden death of the only person I ever felt safe with. For those reasons, I tried not to think back to childhood very often in life.
There is something about the past though. Even if you lock it in boxes, seal it in concrete and throw it into the ocean, it eventually becomes buoyant again.
If it weren’t for my children, I would likely still be running away from the more difficult parts of my past. I know that being a parent brought out in me the things I refused to look at when I was only living for myself. Having to take care of a human being so completely dependent on you after so many years of only taking care of yourself is shocking to the system.
Most days, I don’t feel like I’m a great mother. I don’t even feel like a good mother. I spend a lot of time in my own world. My energy is low and most evenings after work, I don’t want to do anything. I feel bad about every decision I make. Sometimes I have panic attacks and nightmares. They’ve asked questions about the self-harm scars on my arms; scars that I’ve tried to pass off as scratches.
None of it feels like good parenting, and it’s hard not to think that if I just tried a little harder then I wouldn’t be like this. I’ve had days when I feel like having children was one of the stupidest, most selfish things I could have done.
It’s hard to be available to others when you’re having a hard time managing your own life. I feel jaded and tired. Too exhausted to remember how to love, or how to be loved. I worry that I have damaged them beyond repair and often think that their lives would be so much better without me in it. It seems the kindest thing, freeing them from the burden of growing up with a mother who is like this.