Carnival Against Child Abuse

Carnival Against Child Abuse

(A blog carnival is a collection of posts from many different bloggers about a particular topic.)

You all know that I work at two things in my parenting that seem to be in tension with one another: maintaining healthy space for myself and my needs, and being a safe, good, loving, compassionate, and respectful mama for my daughter.

You know that each of these things sometimes makes it hard for me to work on the other one. When I am feeling more need for my own space, I can feel Amy as a hindrance. When I am feeling more like an inadequate mama, I can feel myself as the hindrance to both of us. It’s challenging to keep looking for the necessary, the healthy, balance.

Several of the blogs I read are written by survivors of childhood abuse. I found them, or they found me, because we both write about mental health issues.

Reading some of the things they write sometimes renews both sides of my parenting tension. When one of these survivors reminds readers to “Love your inner child,” or posts a painting of a mama holding a child, and another child standing in a corner, with the caption, “Are you holding or ignoring your inner child?” it reminds me first of all to hear the whiny and defensive inner call for more me time and space as the voice of my inner child, and to respond compassionately*. It reminds me secondly to keep hearing the (sometimes unspoken, despite all her chatter) voice of my daughter calling for more together time and space, and to respond compassionately* to her as well.

It’s when one is not feeling well-loved that one gets insecure, defensive, grumpy, inadequate, and so on. I need to love both of us well — me and her. And I need to drink and eat, more and more, how lavishly the Father loves both of us.

*Compassion doesn’t always mean giving what is requested. But even when the answer is “no,” it can be given lovingly, sympathetically, and respectfully.


8 thoughts on “Carnival Against Child Abuse

  1. Like you, I try to compare my inner child to my real-life children. If your daughter fell down and was hurt, you would respond right away with love and attention. Sometimes the pain inside is just as urgent. Balancing the two is the hardest thing there is. I suppose it’s why I waited so long to begin working on myself. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do both.

    But I can tell you this… I wish I knew years ago what I’ve learned in the last two and a half years. There are a lot of things I would have done differently with my own children if I had understood all the things I’ve been learning. I really believe the gains you make now will benefit your daughter in the long run. Maybe it would help to keep that in mind when you are feeling guilty for taking care of your own needs.

  2. Shen, I think one of the major triggers for my postpartum depression was realizing that my own personal issues were not going to step out of the way so I could be the perfect mother to my daughter. My need for space, my fear of engulfment, prevented me from being able to always be completely there for her. Had to quit nursing because of it, after just a week. Couldn’t be in the house with her more than a few hours at first, after getting back from the psych ward not long after bringing her home. My awareness of how much hurt could be done even so early in her life made me feel awful about having issues.

    The falling down thing is even tricky! The blessing of a skinned knee and all that, about not always swooping in to rescue the kid, but allowing them the space to work things out, realize their own power, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to know when I’m rationalizing my desire to not interrupt my own thing, and when I’m allowing her that space because I think it’s good for her and not just convenient for me. The other side is true, too — sometimes I wonder if I’m hugging and kissing her to prove to myself that I love her, or to try to make up for things I feel guilty about.

    Thank you for visiting, and sharing your thoughts.

  3. hey, i have a book i just finished. The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman…thought you might like to read it. It was a good read, gives some good thought to how to best fill our kids love tanks so that they feel loved the way that they need it(if that makes sense) Have you heard or read of his books, he has one geared more toward the marriage relationship too. Equally as good.
    Also just saw this post which I thought of when I read your part about the skinned knee. This sight has some other thought provoking posts.

  4. What a wonderful, thought-provoking post. Thanks for linking to the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse with this. You know, this would be an excellent post in the healing category, if you’re ever interested in submitting it. We have another carnival edition coming up at the end of this month. And thanks for stopping by my blog with your kind comment the other day.

  5. This is sooo interesting to me, how we are all VERY different and work things through, though our concerns are very much the same. So much to say but don’t know how to sort out my thoughts…. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

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