It's never too late to begin the healing process from childhood sexual abuse. It's never too early to fall in love with the person God created you to be. Long ago someone made a choice to take away your innocence, but today that someone can't touch your freedom to heal.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mommas of the Round Table

She confessed her fear to us. "My son just started high school and I'm scared. The other day he said to me, "Mom, you're more nervous about this than I am. I'm fine."

We, the mothers seated at the round table, nodded in unspoken empathy. No explanation needed, we got it!

What is it about mothers? I know, I'm guilty of this--projecting my fears onto my kids.
I'm dyslexic. So is my son. I was sure he would be teased and suffer just like I did. And I was hell-bent on making sure he wasn't. But nope, now he's an adult and he looks at me as if I'm speaking Greek when I try to "connect" with him on this level. Now, I know part of it is because he's male and just doesn't go there (smile), but he's different from me and his experience has been different from mine. Although I didn't ask her, I suspect that my friend's confession had more behind it. I wonder if her high school years were marked by fear and pain.
If you ask some of my friends who survived childhood sexual abuse what their biggest fear is, they would say without hesitation, "I'm afraid it will happen to my kids." And I don't blame them. If it can happen to them, they know, it can happen to anyone. True. Yet, considering this, one of my concerns is that they'll let their biggest fear paralyze them from taking steps to protect their children rather than motivate them.

Over the next several weeks, I am going to lay out simple tips on how survivors, and others, can protect their children from sexual abuse. We'll "sit" at the round table together. We'll join forces and arm ourselves for battle. Are you with me?

Oh, and fathers are welcome too. I'm sure you're brave enough to "go there".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hey Doc, Could You Spare Some Time

When I speak to moms about protecting their children from sexual abuse, I invite them to enlist others to help them with their mission. "Grandparents, teachers, coaches, etc... can all become part of your team." I say.

Recently a friend of mine shared the following experience she had with her child's pediatrician.


As we were gearing up for the start of kindergarten I took Matthew to the pediatrician for his five year well check. I have always liked our pediatrician, but at this particular visit, I fell in love with her care for my son.

When it was time for Dr. Nancy to check his pelvic area she looked at him and said, "Matthew I need to check under your pants, but before I do that, I need to ask someone for permission. Who do I need to ask to check under your pants, Matthew?"

"Mommy," Matthew said.

"You are right," she said.

Then Dr. Nancy turned to me. "Mommy, is it okay if I check under Matthew's pants?"

"Yes," I answered.

She turned toward Matthew. "Matthew, Mommy says it's okay, but Matthew, what if Mommy had said no, then what would you do?"

"I would say NO and scream!" he said.

"That's great, Matthew! And there is one more thing you should do if someone asks to look under your pants without permission. You should find and tell mommy or daddy."

With tears in my eyes I looked at her and said, "Thank you for that."

"You're welcome," she gently replied and continued on with the exam.

As a survivor of sexual abuse and a mommy who has been teaching my son what to do and say if anyone ever asks or tries to touch the area covered by his bathing suit, this visit with his doctor helped affirm everything I have been working so hard to train Matthew to do. It gave me confidence that what I have been teaching him is sinking in and he knows what to do if he's ever put in that situation.


My friend thanks God for this experience. I thank God too. It has brought peace to her heart, not only as a mother, but as a survivor. God cares about that.

I also thank her consummate pediatrician. She understands that she needs to not only care for her patients' bodies, but their minds and spirits as well.

Consider enlisting your pediatrician to help you protect your children from sexual abuse. Print this blog post and take it to your child's next doctor's visit. You'll not only be helping your own kids, but others as well.

Imagine a world where parents and pediatricians work together to protect kids from CSA. Imagine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Blogs Merge In A Lonely World

I have this widow friend who blogs about widowhood. I have this mommy friend who blogs about motherhood and life. Today my mommy friend blogged about being lonely because her kiddos are back in school. Today my widow friend shared this video on being alone. If you've ever been lonely, you'll appreciate this video and perhaps you'll celebrate the upside to being alone. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wisdom From The Friendly Skies

"It's unlikely, but if cabin pressure changes, the panel above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks. If this happens... Adjust your own mask before assisting others."

She was roughly an hour late. She walked toward me guiding a toddler with one hand, clutching a baby in an infant carrier in the other, and lugging a diaper bag over her shoulder. Oh, how I remember those days when just getting out of the house was a miracle and arriving on time was, well, only a dream.

"How do you do it, Carolyn? I mean, seven kids and all!" She asked.

"Listen, four of my children are through or nearly through the teen years and the other three can get themselves in and out of the car by themselves. Your stage of parenting is the most physically exhausting." I said.

"I'm tired all the time." She brushed a stray lock of hair back from her eye. "My oldest challenges me all the time... I'm sorry, I'm talking too much. I get with others and I just keep talking."

She went on chatting. She needed to speak and I needed to listen. As I stated before, I remember those days. I could tell she wanted one piece of advice, anything that would get her through the afternoon. I dug deep.

"You need to take care of yourself." I said.

She looked at me like most women do when I make that statement, like the thought never occurred to them before, like it's taboo, like it's breaking a code of motherhood to mention self care. We're supposed to be superwomen right? We did this miraculous thing by giving birth and now we're going to keep on being supernatural. Right? Wrong!

True confession: I surrendered my supermom cape long ago. I don't try to fly through this parenting thing without heeding the warnings and when I do, disaster strikes. Always. So here's some motherhood navigation advice:

It's likely, our life pressures will change and there's no panel above our heads that will open to reveal oxygen masks. We need to find what gives us oxygen, what breathes life into our souls, and take a few breaths--before assisting others.

Your turn to share. What breathes life into your soul? How do you refuel in whatever stage of life you're in? How do you make time to refuel?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lessons From The "Big Easy"

I viewed the cityscape from the window of the airport shuttle. So this is New Orleans. I thought. I'm not sure what I expected, but other than an occasional palm tree, it looked a lot like my own city of Philadelphia. The billboards that welcomed me, alternately one to my left and one to my right and so on, boasted of an irony I couldn't miss: I was visiting New Orleans to attend The National Conference on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention and my eyes were being assaulted by sexual images of women, who were once little girls, welcoming me to this club or that bar. And I wondered how many of my fellow conferees shared my observation.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a pessimist at heart. I was excited to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of NOLA. And I did, once I got several miles from the airport.

The first day I ate so much gumbo and po-boy that I couldn't stuff in a beignet (Creole doughnut)--one of my goals. (I love pastries.) I strolled the streets of the French Quarter and saw soulful musicians, sweat glistening, oblivious to the heat, their music--their life. New Orleans was alive, and I was an enthusiastic student absorbing its rich culture. But the majority of my three day adventure was spent indoors absorbing all I could about the culture of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation.

I can't post all I learned in one blog post. The sights, emotions, and facts go on and on, and I'm wondering if my readers really want to know. (Please comment. I'd like to know.) It's a dark subject and for all my optimism, I can't make it light.

But here's some good news. I met a lot of amazing people who are on the front line in this battle. And yes, they shared my observation.

My sincere thanks for all the encouragement and prayers sent my way regarding this venture. I had peace each and every moment.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...