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My intuition knew though at that time I dared not form the thoughts or words to anyone even my self. Now I know that my mindbodies' integrity to do no harm would not allow me to conceive and carry a child while I was living with someone who was abusive to me and who I was terrified would be abusive to our children. Plus I was afraid that my own anxiety and fears would make me disconnect like my mother did and emotionally abandoned them. That thought was horrific to me!

I believe that my body became habituated to conception shut down plus my unrecognized and unintegrated guilt and shame subconsciously were still stronger than my conscious desire to have children. Even years later when I married a kind and gentle man I still couldn't have a child. He had 3 children from his previous marriage and my ex husband married and had 3 children by his third wife so I knew it had to be me.

I remember laughingly saying, I must have build in birth control. How I prevent child abuse was by not having any. This flippant cover up is now very sad to remember. New awareness isn't very easy to admit let alone write about. I hope this will be helpful to others.

I grew up the eldest of six children; 3 boys and 3 girls. We had the same mother but different fathers. I was the only child from my mom and dad. My stepdad was a career military man who grew up on farm with a strict work ethic and strict fear-based parenting style. He was physically abusive to all of us and incested my half sisters and myself. It started with me between the ages of 2-3 years old and continued until I was around 16. It has only been in my adult life that my sisters and I briefly spoke about their abuse which didn't last as long as mine because they told him no and he stopped. This was a shock to me and a source of shame and guilt because it never occurred to me to say no.

 

To me the greatest source of our fear and terror were the beatings he inflicted with a leather belt. Next to that the lectures when he lined us up like little soldiers until someone confessed to some misdeed. Our respect was based on fear not love like I used to believe. If child protective services had been around we would have been removed because at one time or another we all experienced bruises. However, I sadly and honestly can say that I am grateful that child protective services didn't intervene, because I believe things would have been worse. It probably would have sent my mother to the netherworlds of no return and the six of us would have been separated. I'm not sure my sensitivity would have survived the loss of my siblings whom I cared for as my own children. Our abuse could have continued in the system as we know it did for many. Better deal with the devil you know than an unknown one.

We had many good times together as a family. Sunday nights with popcorn in front of the television watching Lassie and Disney is a good memory. Summer vacations camping and visiting relatives where we could test our Girl and Boy Scout skills. The bad stuff didn't happen all the time but the intermittent episodes of parental rage left an indelible mark on what we believed about ourselves. There were other times of what would be considered status quo parenting. The bruises healed and the sexual abuse was not painful. No one could tell by looking at us that we were not the Cleaver family.

One of the worst things for me was to stand frozen helplessly witnessing my dad beating my siblings. The cruelest insult on us all was the emotional absence of my mother: the mother who stayed home but wasn't'. Luckily in my young early years I was surrounded by other emotionally present relatives especially my Nannie. The experiences I shared with her saved my emotional life. Her death when I was 11 years old devastated me to the point I couldn't say her name without choking until I was in my 40's. Unrecognized and unintegrated loss and grief can do that to your body.

This brings me back to my yearning to have children and my inability to physically do so which I believe lays in my belief systems about myself. I took care of my brothers and sisters. At times I resented them. I remember an incident where I had my sister down on the floor and the feeling welled up inside of me that I really wanted to hurt her. I think I may have shook or slapped her. I really don't remember the details. I just remember her screaming and shaking her head back and forth with me looking down on her. It scared me and I stopped telling her I was sorry. In that moment I remember thinking how can I hurt her? I don't know if she remembers it but I do. I felt so bad afterwards and that experience stuck in my mind. I wondered what kind of a person was I to do that and to have such out of control feelings. Until writing this I missed that in spite of my stress and trauma I had enough empathy to stop myself. Other experiences bob to the surface of my mind and I realize that even then in the midst of the chaos and confusion I had a stop button to do no harm.

In adolescents I babysat for other families. I don't remember getting any complaints from the children or their parents. Children and animals seemed to love me. One of my last babysitting jobs as a teenager was with a six month old little boy. I would hold him, rock him and talk to him about some day having a sweet baby just like him. My conscious mind was talking but my subconscious was deciding.

After I got married we didn't do anything to not have children. Every month when my period started I would feel like a failure. In the beginning, family and friends told me it takes time and not to worry. Three years later I was pregnant. We had no insurance. I wasn't working. He was having trouble finding a job. I had not had this destitute experience until then. He turned to his family in particular his grandmother for financial help. She was very emotionally disconnected. However, she was willing to share with everyone our plight which was a shaming and embarrassing experience. I remember sitting in the doctor' office where she explained for all to here our lack of money to pay for my baby. She was very willing to share about her miscarriages in detail and how she had to go back out into the fields to work after having one by the side of the house. I don't doubt her experiences; however, sharing them with me was emotionally abusive. I kept telling the doctor I didn't feel pregnant so they did another test after the fourth month and said it showed I must have miscarried but it didn't abort. Since the doctor was out of town for the weekend I had to wait until the next week to find out what was to be done with me and my unborn dead child. It was a terrible weekend with the thought of carrying a 'dead baby' and not understanding what it all meant. So I came up with my own conclusions: "God was punishing me for something. I was a failure. I didn't deserve to have a child."

I got no emotional support from my husband or the family. What I did get was support for my belief that God was making this happen for some divine plan and I just needed to accept it and gone on. I could try again. No one understood my grief and fears. The lack of emotional sensitivity was shocking so my emotions had to go underground or be dealt with alone.

It got worse when I went to the hospital. I was placed in a semi-private room with another young woman who had a miscarriage because she had done drugs. We were on the maternity ward. We could hear the babies being brought back and forth to their mothers' rooms. Once a nurse came in to pick up our babies and I told her we didn't have any. She was apologetic but the wound was still there. This psychological trauma brings feelings of anger and invalidation at the inhumane and insensitive way we were treated. In hind sight I can see how that experience, not to blame anyone, reinforced my already formulated feelings of blame, shame and Gods' punishment. Once again I suppressed the growing container of sins against myself so I could go back and function in an emotionally insensitive and multi-generational traumatized family.

In that same year I got pregnant again. During those few weeks of my pregnancy I talked to the baby, sharing my love and promises of protection. I had been married for about 4 or 5 years and experienced verbal put downs and physical violence at the hands of the man who professed to love me. I put up with it because now I understand that on a subconscious level I believed I deserved what I was getting. Getting pregnant and having that connection with a new life growing inside of me made me realize I wouldn't be able to live with my self if I ever let him hurt this innocent child. I began formulating an escape. I was terrified of the consequences but was resolute in my desire to protect. But I never had to find out because I lost the baby. I had to have a DNC and removal of a cyst on my ovary. While removing the cyst he removed my appendix as was his standard operating procedure. My feelings were too overwhelming, so having been trained to be a 'good little solider' I suppressed and went on.

The next year I was ready to try again. We found a fertility specialist who began working with us. I'm not sure what came first the endometriosis or the testing and procedures. During the couple of years I went to him I had to have surgery for a DNC, endometriosis, uterine suspension and cleaning up scar tissue from my other surgery. Even after that he could find no reasons for me not to get pregnant. After the last procedure that usually works for everyone but didn't for me, I gave up and began focusing on surviving my marriage and finding something else to do with my life. I had to put my unborn children into Gods' hands. I made God my scapegoat. I didn't know then the power of my own subconscious mind. I didn't know that I manifested what I believed I deserved not necessarily what I wanted. These beliefs are an intertwined web of connections from the social editors of my life: parents, family, teachers, preachers, etc. I blindly accept their truths for good or ill when I was in that hypnotic childs' open and accepting mind state. Experiences wired my brain and combined with my genetics, my temperament, developmental stages at the time and my souls' mission. Add to this underground caldron of boiling lava from traumas running rampant below the surface kept me idling on fear and self-deception covered by putting on the happy face for the world to see as I had so well been taught. I now realize what has kept me from maintaining my vision for a better life. All of this I have to own to heal not blame others.

It is embarrassing to admit I have lived with this for so long. It has skimmed the surfaced before but I wasn't enough in safety to do anything about it. Now I am. It is in relationships I have been hurt. It takes a different relationship to find healing. I used to think I had to do this alone. I'm not sure we truly heal alone. I think I have made connections in those alone dark nights of my soul. I think to truly heal we need compassionate witnesses that provide emotional islands of safety in a brutally emotionally unsafe world. I know you are out there; angels of mercy and love. I have many around me I am just beginning to open up to. It is not because of them it has taken me so long that is about me. They have held the vision of my worth and value so that now I may embrace and embody it too. I am now letting that in and opening to their love.

What you don't know is that in order for someone like me to be able to reach out I have to transition from my state level experiences of terror and chaos, confusing feelings, physical sensations that are yelling 'run for your life' to find the words to name and express those experiences. In order to do that I have to go on the road less traveled with my amygadala on edge looking for the slightest twitch to run back to safety or fight my way out. To open up to love after near-death hurt and pain that takes your breath away and makes your body want to collapse in a puddle and disappear is no easy undertaking. I and others like me have to brace ourselves for rejection so we don't fall apart.

My fear of losing control is so great that it takes an enormous amount of psychic energy to let anyone in. I now know that until I integrate my right brain state level experiences with my left brain narrative abilities I have not truly healed. By sharing my story now I can test the waters to see if they will quench the lava fire and provide cooled ground to stand on and open to love or add more fuel to the lava flow and drive me further away into fear.

I don't believe we really get how powerful our relationships are. They have the power to hurt and heal. For many caregivers dealing with challenging behavior in their children and teens if you were not the source of their hurt and pain then this is important for you to know. In order for them to feel you, get your love, not see you as the enemy they have to swim through the sea of their worst fears with their trauma monsters swimming around them while they struggle to get to the other side where they risk potential rejection or arms of love and acceptance. If you are a parent who has hurt your child then the same is true for you except the monsters swimming are reflections of the hurt and pain you inflicted upon them. These intergenerational trauma monsters are passed on and on and on. Either way the questions are the same for you: Why shouldn't' they trust you? I say why should they?

Trust is something a child blindly gives to a parent. Once that trust has been violated it has to be earned not demanded, whether from a biological parent or other care giver. Children don't loose trust in others without reason. The problem in our culture is we don't believe that. When children misbehave and act out we look for a genetic chemical imbalance or a character defect as the culprit not their relationships with their parents or traumatic experiences. If that were not true then why has prescription drug use gone up with children and teens? Why is trauma not considered the first place to look when a child is having behavioral problems rather than at the child? Without relationship we do not have the power to influence. Adults take the power to control but I don't see this is working for us either. Relationships are at the heart of humanity. What is humanity saying?

Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a relationship coach, authoress and speaker whose powerful message for women is "It's time to stop waiting for permission to be all that we can be(without being a bitch about it)." Her inspiring message helps women harness their personal power, find peace within and become part of the shift in creating healthier and more loving relationships, beginning with the one with their self. In order to honor someone else's heart you must first honor your own.

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