If you have been in the Mama and Baby Love community for any period of time, you may have gleaned directly or indirectly that parts of my childhood was anything but fun. In fact, it was more than just a “not ok” experience; it was filled with different kinds of abuse and neglect. Part of the abuse and neglect I experienced as a child came from living with a woman who was mentally ill and suffering so much from her childhood that she could not take care of me. The other part of my story is something I have never publicly shared about before.
This part is so hard to share. This part of my story, I really, really, really do not want to tell. I have written it, “ripped it up,” and written it again, over and over and over again. I literally have been working on this one blog post for over twelve months. I have procrastinated and made excuses. Even now, as I hit the publish button, I feel physically ill and my whole body is trembling. My body, my ego, my fear is telling me to stop writing, to just go lie down and watch TV.
Most of my friends do not even know this part of my story… and I’m talking about best friends. Only my husband and my therapist know everything. It is not something I speak about outside of a therapy session or a conversation with my husband.
As painful and anxiety producing as this is for me, I know it is what I am supposed to do—both for myself and my own healing and for women all over the world. I know that any healing work I do on myself sends ripples of healing out into my family and into the world.
When I was a young girl, very close to my own daughter’s age now, I was sexually abused by an extended family member. And later, when I was older, I was also raped.
I so would rather just crawl in a hole and pretend this is not my life. I so want to keep this part of me hidden. I do not want people to look at me differently, as a victim, as weak, as damaged.
But then I think of my daughter and someone assaulting her the way I was assaulted. I think of the 1 in 10 children who are sexually abused. I think of the 1 in 4 women who are sexually assaulted in some way during their lifetime. These women and children are all around me—women and children who have also experienced having all their power and self-worth taken from them just like me.
I have had to do an enormous amount of personal growth and healing to get to a point where I could tell my story. And in telling my story, I am fully healing the shame I have carried around with me my entire life., shame that told me I was dirty and damaged, that it was my fault, that I was worthless and unlovable. Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable—it’s the total opposite of owning our story and feeling worthy.
I am sharing my story with you now because I no longer want to hide parts of myself out of shame. Shame loses its power when stories are shared and spoken. According to Brene Brown, shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment. Shame happens between people and it heals between people. When something happens and we keep it locked up, it festers and it grows. It consumes us. We need to share our experience.
And so, I own my story. I claim my power back. I love myself and know that I am worthy despite my imperfections.
And I am speaking out, as much as it pains me, as embarrassing as it is, because I want to bring awareness to the epidemic of children and women being used, against their will, as sexual gratification for someone else. I am speaking out today so that people know how prevalent sexual abuse and assault is, right here in our own backyards, so that we can join together and better protect our children.