Rose shares an important message that our parenting style, and even our health, can be affected by our own childhood experiences, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. She has worked to gain back control over her motherhood journey with some excellent support and by learning to take care of herself first.
Not only has she overcome so much, but she’s also now helping others get to a place of recovery.
Thank you, Rose, for sharing your powerful story and being a beacon of hope for those who have experienced childhood trauma.
Check out the rest of the Mom Triumphs series for more inspirational stories of how real moms have overcome serious challenges.
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Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
Tell us a little about you! Where are you from? What do you like to do? What is your family like?
My name is Rose and I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, with my hubby and 2 sweet girls. We love taking advantage of our beautiful province by going for hikes in the woods and hitting up the beaches!
What is a major challenge that you’ve experienced during your time as a mom?
Becoming a mom really transforms you. It can bring you to your highest highs and your lowest lows – it can also stir up a lot of unresolved issues from your childhood.
Just before I became a mom, I experienced burnout from my job. I actually became pregnant while I was off of work. During that time I went for counselling, and the counsellor reflected back to me, pretty quickly, that I experienced abuse in my childhood and it was severe.
This was where I learned that both my parents had mental illness/personality disorders. All that to say my major challenge was trying to manage unresolved issues from my childhood while becoming a mom for the first time.
Less than 2 years later, another sweet babe came along.
With my first pregnancy, I developed hypothyroidism and almost lost my sweet girl. I was later to find out that hypothyroidism is usually an autoimmune disease, and autoimmune diseases are typically rooted in ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences).
There were the issues from my childhood showing up again!
What were your thoughts when you first encountered this challenge?
The thoughts are hard to pick out, because the memories, the acceptance, and the realizations of truth come in spurts and waves. The one over-arching thought was, though, that I wanted to protect my daughters from my experiences and so wanted to parent very differently from the way I was parented.
The trouble was, I didn’t have the tools. I wasn’t even sure they existed, but I knew I was going to try my best to hunt them down.
How did you figure out what approach to take in facing your challenge? Did your approach change over time?
In some ways, it was my desire to be a different kind of mom that led me to my overall approach. It kind of fell in my lap, so to speak, because I was looking for it–even though I wasn’t 100% sure what “it” was.
At first, I found the Hands-Free Mama (Rachel Stafford) and was drawn to the calm love she had for her daughters and the vulnerability she expressed about motherhood. And then one day, she mentioned Sandy Blackard and Language of Listening, and BAM, there were the tools I was looking for!
Parenting from the heart, respecting kids as separate individuals with their own unique thoughts and feelings, and tools! Fantastic tools for holding boundaries while maintaining my emotional connection with my girls.
I got the book and then signed up for the online courses, and I got WAY more than I bargained for!
Language of Listening gave me the tools to be the mom I WANTED to be and also gave me the tools to recover from my childhood. I learned to reparent myself, to value myself, and to stop abandoning my care the way my parents did.
I think in some ways my approach did change within the framework I was using. As I healed, I came to a deeper awareness of what I needed, and I was able to adjust to my particular situation.
What helped you during times when you were struggling? Did you have any support?
Thank goodness I did have good support! My husband is my best friend. He is kind, understanding, and has been with me every step of the way. He’s my shoulder to cry on and my encourager.
And I also had the group of ladies I was learning Language of Listening with online. Having a group of friends to turn to where we were all in an environment of vulnerability and growth, that was amazing! And, of course, I had those tools I found–they have been so dependable, always something to fall back on.
Something else that was very helpful was following a diet for autoimmune disease called the Autoimmune Protocol (or AIP). Believe it or not, our diet can have a huge effect on our mental health as well as physical!
AIP greatly lessened the symptoms I experience from thyroid disease and cut out practically ALL of my panic attacks! (I know because when I “cheat” on the diet, the panic attacks come right back.)
The support I was missing, though, was friends and (supportive) family living close by. We are currently in the process of moving back to those people in our life, and we are so excited!
How do you take care of yourself?
I have found that the best way to take care of myself is to LISTEN to the messages my heart and body are sending me and to TRUST those messages.
Mamas, we have an amazing intuition and so much goodness inside. If you, also, have experienced ACEs, then you may also struggle with trusting yourself, but you are INCREDIBLY trustworthy!
Did this challenge affect others in your family? How did you balance addressing their needs and your own?
This is such a great question, because not only was I struggling emotionally as a result of ACEs, but I also had those physical issues–mainly autoimmune diseases.
I found myself in this cycle of pushing myself too hard and then hitting a wall. That meant my husband had to step in a lot to help.
And with my kids, it was more the emotional roller coaster. Yelling was definitely an issue I needed to address. I hated it.
It was all of this that helped me to eventually learn that putting my health first, and getting proper self-care meant I could balance everything out so. much. better. And my whole family benefited when I made myself my highest priority.
Meeting my needs first meant I could help meet their needs better.
How are things today versus when you first encountered this challenge?
So much better! I have confidence as a mom and as a woman.
Fears rooted in my childhood experiences continue to fade, and I honestly feel like I got my very SELF back. I spent so much of my life spinning my tires in survival mode that I had little opportunity to know and experience who I was.
Now there is so much growth, freedom, and hope, all because I found those tools! My health and energy levels are highly improved. I went from frequently being in tears because the emotional energy it took to muster the physical energy to walk up the stairs was just too much!
Today I easily go for long hikes in the woods and don’t ever worry about stairs. Oh! And my capacity to emotionally connect with my husband and kids has expanded. Love that part especially!
What advice would you give other moms going through something similar?
Mama, get time and space for that sweet little person inside. You can reparent her, and bring her to a place of feeling safe.
You and she are so worth it! And don’t give up! (I know you never really could, but some days can make you want to!)
The road can be tough, and I know you have suffered enough already. It is work, but you WILL get to a place where things are easier!
Are there any helpful resources you would recommend?
Yes! Language of Listening, of course! It really is a powerful model for parenting and a beautiful path for deepening self-awareness. The tools are all simple and yet incredibly effective!
Check out this website for more info on ACEs.
What’s your super power as a mom?
My super-power?? Ha! It’s the same super-power every mom has: how much our kids love us!
My daughter often likes to tell me that I’m amazing, so one day I asked her, “What’s something I’ve done that’s amazing??” and she answered, “You made me.”
That knocked my socks off! Mamas, there is no more perfect love than a child’s love for their parent–reveling in that love is our super-power!
What have you learned or gained from this experience?
That self-trust is of the utmost importance. There is immeasurable goodness in us, and if we can just allow the awareness of it to break through (especially hard to do after ACEs, I know!), that trust will come and that’s where our power is!
I love Language of Listening so much that I became one of their authorized coaches! Join my Empowered Parents, Empowered Kids Facebook Group, where I share all about those amazing tools. If you are mothering with wounds from your own childhood, learn more about tools to nurture your sweet heart and the sweet hearts of your children by following me on Instagram.