When I first became involved in this "movement" many of us referred to ourselves as Trauma Mommas. That moniker has become a point of contention to others. Those who opposed it were seeing us as complaining about the children in our care and they thought we were saying that we were suffering trauma due to raising these kids. For me, and I dare to say most others, that was not my intention. I apologize profusely to those who were offended by that name. We were simply referring to the trauma that our kiddos deal with on a daily basis. That trauma that pervades their very being. The enormous, ugly and horrific trauma that they suffered due to a multitude of different reasons. Our children have experienced trauma before coming to our home. In the case of my child, we are talking about neglect, physical abuse and multiple caregiver changes within his first few years of life. We were the 10th home that he had been in during his short 2 years of involvement in Foster Care. He is no stranger to trauma.
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) affects children when there are breaks in the primary caregiver or have experienced abuse and neglect. Children struggle with RAD when their needs haven't been met and it impares their ability to form healthy emotional attachments.
Our job as mommas to these children is HARD, but we realize it is nothing compared to living the life that they live. I, for one, can't even begin to fathom what it is like living in my child's skin. My job is to attempt to help him to overcome and learn to trust again. I am here to help him heal the broken places and teach him that there are those who are worthy of his trust and his love.
The feeling of loneliness and despair in parenting these types of kids is all consuming. You ache for your child. You wish you could make things different for them. You want to take the pain and the anguish away. You want to fix it and make it all better. All the while, you don't know how to explain to others all that your child and your family is going through. It is not something that you throw out at work during your lunch hour to your co-workers. You become isolated. Your family doesn't do as much outside of your small world because sights, sounds and even places can be trauma triggers for your children. You are tired of being stared at for your child acting out in public. You want to protect your child from prying eyes of others. You continue to surround yourselves with one another and barricade yourselves into your own world. It is a lonely place to be. There are even times when extended family don't really understand and offer criticism that further isolates you.
One day, one glorious day, you find other moms who are living a life very similar to your own. You find out that even though you felt very alone, there are other families who are experiencing the same thing. You find moms who are tryng everything within their power to help their child heal. You find there are some successes. You learn from moms who have found coping mechanisms for themselves and their kids. You share strengths and failures. You get renewed in your desire to fight this battle for your children. You find HOPE. You find ENCOURAGEMENT. You find LOVE. You find a SISTERHOOD.
This can do nothing but help your child. If you are renewed in your ability to help fight this fight, your child benefits. You find new ways to help them cope as well. You learn techniques like Reiki and EFT (tapping) to help them heal their inner struggles. You show them that there are other kids who feel the same way they do. You help them fill their toolboxes with tools to get through their big feelings. You show them that you are in this TOGETHER. Instead of being isolated and worn out, you all become recharged and fully loaded to work through this together.
That is what this group of moms has done for me. They have allowed me to LOVE my kid through the hard parts. They have allowed me to LOVE myself. We can share our frustrations, our successes or failures. We can network and find resources. We can simply give one another that knowing glance. We can love through a common bond. A group can accomplish far more than one lonely individual.
We are not trauma mommas, we are mommas who have found a lifeline. We are mommas who love deeply. We are mommas who have found that there is a life BEYOND trauma and attachment. We have found that we can get to the other side with one another.