The Healing Imperative

Hurt people, hurt people. 

We all know that it’s true. As mothers, we want our children to grow up happy and healthy. Many of us want to also end cycles that are abusive, or simply unhealthy. We want better for our children than we, ourselves, had. But how do we break the cycles when they are all that we know? 

I see mothers reading parenting books, taking classes on child development, and working with parenting coaches. They give and work and worry and strive and try and try and try.  I see mothers doing absolutely everything except focusing on their own healing.

But our healing is absolutely necessary. It is necessary for our families to thrive. It is necessary for us to be the mothers we want to be. 

Healing people, heal people. 

I say healing because I don’t know that any of us can ever claimed to be fully healed in this world. This world that spills and spews trauma on so many of us each day. This world that can be terrifying. We don’t know what is coming, for us or for our kids. We don’t know what battles we will need to fight or when. So how do we prepare for that? How can we possibly help our families to thrive in the midst of this? 

We. Can. Heal. 

In the face of a world that tells us to put ourselves last, we can actively focus on our own healing, our comfort, our joy. We can go to therapy. We feed our bodies well. We can feed our souls. We can move our bodies. We can connect to our networks of support. We can actively seek joy. 

We can face our fears, our pain, and our shadow spaces. We can ask others to hold our hand as we walk through the darkness. We can learn how to move through and past our traumas so that they don’t replay themselves in our families. 

You don’t have to be your mother. 

You don’t have to live her life. 

What is the experience of motherhood that you want for your children? If they become parents, how do you want that to impact them? 

What is stopping you from claiming that experience for yourself? 

The answer to that question is the key. Our children will do as we do. Consciously or not, we are teaching them how to parent every day. So what are you teaching them? 

Are you teaching them that parenting means loss of humanity? That mothers don’t count? That parents give up everything for their children? 

Are you teaching them that a parent’s job to is make sure that their child is as happy as possible every moment of every day? Or that parents solve every problem? Or that parents are glorified short order cooks, waiters, and taxi drivers? 

Are you teaching them that parenting is giving and giving and giving until you break - then screaming that no one appreciates you - and then giving some more? 

Are you teaching them that parents stop their lives and pray there will be something to pick back up once the child is grown? 

Are you teaching them to fear anger? 

Are you teaching them to be a people-pleaser? 

I’m not asking these questions to heap more guilt or judgment on mothers. We get enough of that already. I’m asking to highlight the fact that we are teaching them all the time - whether we notice it or not. So when I say that you focusing on yourself, your working on your own healing, you making yourself a priority is necessary in order for your family to thrive, this is what I mean. 

It is worth making financial sacrifices for you to go to therapy. It is worth changing schedules and inconveniencing your family, for you to spend time on your healing. It is worth upsetting your children and partner. It is worth upending your family, if that’s what is necessary.

I know, with absolute certainty, that you are worth it. 

What is your healing worth to you?

Graeme Seabrook