Trigger Warning/Content Note: child sexual abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse.
I have had many, many other blogs in the past and actually shut this one down a few years ago. Last year, I closed down almost all personal blogging outside of my makeup blog (Lashes & Rouge) and Little Bear’s blog (A Measure Of). After having been blogging for close to 8 years, I definitely felt the need to step back. And it was really nice. But. I now have things I need to process and a place to “word gush” all the trash and jumble of thoughts in my head.
One year ago, I found out I was pregnant with our second kid. It was quick; a mere 21 days after getting my iud removed, I got a positive pregnancy test. I had known this baby was coming, so wasn’t surprised. We found out at 14 weeks that it was a boy, not the girl we had hoped for. But I was quickly won over by the fighter I knew he would be. At 16 weeks I woke up to blood and found out I had a somewhat mild case of placenta previa and three pockets of blood between the placenta and uterine wall. At 20 weeks I learned the previa had corrected itself but I needed to go see a maternal fetal specialist because they saw a cyst at the bottom of Little Bear’s spine and it could be anything from a benign pocket of fluid under his skin to spina bifida. He was officially diagnosed with Myelomenigocele on October 31st, 2016. We were stunned to say the least.
That started 4 months of specialized ultrasounds, MRIs, blood tests, echo cardiograms (ultrasound of his heart), and several major consultations with the many specialists who would be taking care of him and me once he was born. The scheduled c-section would be on February 28th, 2017, but Little Bear decided to break the rules yet again. My water broke January 31st, 2017, and he was born four hours after my water broke. He was 6 weeks early.
[you can read more about his story over at A Measure Of]
Needless to say, the past 10 months have been intense, overwhelming, sickening, worrying, with little moments here and there of mental, emotional, and physical peace. While Little Bear is finally doing okay – excuse me while I go knock on every piece of wood I can find – my mental space has been tumultuous for the past month.
See, I grew up in a large family; the oldest of nine, five boys and four girls. I grew up in a Christian home, and was once a Christian myself, but I have since left that faith some 5 years ago. Heck, I even wrote a book about that journey (you can find it here – The Dark Door). My dad was physically, emotionally, and spiritually abusive, but I never could confidently say he was sexually abusive – until this past month. I’ve always known that there were some significant holes in my memories. Specifically about a trip I alone took with my dad when I was roughly 4 1/2. I often wondered over the last 7 years what was behind those walls, I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t want to guess. There was a reason my mind had chosen to protect me and I knew my younger self would tell me when I was ready to hear what she had to say and show me. While I have always been aware of some specific triggers, those triggers have never added up. They are the kind of triggers a sexual abuse victim/survivor would have, but I had no memory of ever having been sexually abused.
When Little Bear was diagnosed, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t shut down my emotions when facing the trauma of having a baby who would need surgery immediately following birth. I think that promise combined with the extra trauma of several emergencies with Little Bear caused the walls I’ve had up for 20 some years to crumble. I believe my dad drugged and then sexually abused me when I was 4 1/2. I have some specifics that have come back but I can’t remember everything. It has been both a relief and vindicating. I now understand why I have always been so terrified of my dad. That was something that never made sense, I couldn’t remember any instant of him actually hurting me. But now I do. Now I understand why I have the triggers I do, and I understand who I am fully.
I am painfully aware of the stigma of sexual abuse in this current society/culture. I am painfully aware of the hell some people put survivors through who can’t remember everything. As if somehow now being able to remember every vicious thing done to you is a crime and absolves the accused of any responsibility. While these memories are not necessarily “new,” it has lined everything up in a way I have never seen before. I can now line up everything that’s never added up and it all makes sense. I know enough about triggers, PTSD, and myself that I logically believe everything that I have remembered because it all makes sense.
It is my choice to speak out about this because by doing so I am not allowing anyone to have a way to hold something over me. I am giving myself the permission and space to say I believe my younger self. The more I speak, the less power my memories have over me.
I am a child sexual abuse survivor.
I am a spiritual abuse survivor.
I am an emotional abuse survivor.
I am a survivor.