Moms Have Stories Too!-November MomNov 2, 2019
Motherhood can be a traumatic experience. When something happens to a family, the main focus is on the kids, the mom is often overlooked.
I almost lost my children numerous times. When my son was two, I wanted to give him a snack. I fed him hummus and he had an anaphylactic reaction. My daughter was there and witnessed what was going on. He broke out in hives, was struggling to breathe and salivating all over me. I felt so overwhelmed, it was my six year old daughter who called 911. When the ambulance came, they wouldn’t let my daughter come to the hospital with us. She had to stay home with my mother-in-law. Being left behind was traumatic for her.
The very next night, I was back at the emergency room, this time with my daughter. She was bleeding out of her mouth. They were administering IV treatments. We weren’t informed and had no idea what was going on. It turns out her white blood cell count was so low, they were treating her for Leukemia. They should have admitted her but instead, we had to drive her back to the hospital every four hours for IV treatments. She kept reinfecting herself. She was getting strep throat. Every two weeks, she would bleed from her mouth and it was getting worse. They were treating her for cancer, trying to get her white blood cell levels up. She missed six weeks of school. Her tonsils and adenoids were so swollen she was choking on them and they had to be removed. Once they were removed, things improved.
Meanwhile, I was learning to manage my son’s allergies. This was all new to me and very stressful. On Christmas Day, my husband left with the only car we had. He called me to say he wasn’t coming back. This was traumatic for all of us but, when I read my daughter’s two page long poem about the details of that day-the sound of his footsteps in the crunchy snow as he left his family, it broke my heart. She was only 11 years old.
My husband was cheating on me. My son witnessed it and he told me he saw his dad touch a lady inappropriately in the hot tub. My husband overheard the conversation and accused our son of being a liar and ordered him to leave the room. I saw the look on my son’s face. He was just six years old. He was trying to protect my heart and he was hurt. I went to his room and hugged him. I reassured him that I believed him.
We didn’t hear from my husband for two months. We thought he was dead. Then, he called because he wanted to see the kids. My daughter refused to see him. The children hate their dad then love him then miss him. It is so difficult for them. Both of my children have been anxious, depressed and suicidal. My daughter started cutting herself, laughing out loud as she did because of the relief she felt. She has been diagnosed with complex ptsd, OCD, anxiety and depression. My son punches himself in the face. He suffers from anxiety, depression, ptsd, ADHD, and defiance disorder. He doesn’t trust adults so he doesn’t listen to them. The only adult he trusts is me but that is hard because he acts out with me. I am his safe place and he vents his anger on me then he apologizes and I know he feels awful. He is so afraid that he will become like his dad. This is sad because his dad is a part of him. I explain that his father made poor choices but he is not all bad. I point out that there are good things about him as well.
While I am struggling to keep my children alive, their dad is denying that there is anything wrong. He thinks they should get over it, he has. He doesn’t get that he left, he traumatized us. My husband is Chinese and, in his culture, you stay with your parents for life. When he left us, he left his mother as well. We continued to live with my mother-in-law for five years. We lived in a big, beautiful house which I helped build with my bare hands. However, my mother-in-law was abusive. She doesn’t speak English very well so it was even scarier. She beat the children with bamboo sticks when I was away from the home. We spent a lot of time locked in a room but she tore down a wall to get at us. I was trying to choose the least traumatic solution. My mother offered to house us but she doesn’t have enough space and her home is filled with mould which wouldn’t work for my children. Tearing my children away from our home to live in a shelter also didn’t seem like a sustainable solution. The children and I basically spent our days at my shop and went home to sleep in one bed at night. Once my ex found a new girlfriend, my mother-in-law was nicer to us, happy to see that her son had moved on. She told me I didn’t need a man in my life and I could just stay with her. After we moved out, she would call the children and say she loved them and missed them, asking them to visit her.
There was so much I didn’t know about that I found out after my husband left. He would lock the children in dark closets when I wasn’t at home or leave them on the side of the road in the evening because he knew they were afraid of the dark. As a mom, you want to protect your children and I wish they had never experienced any of this. My children got sicker with more chronic illnesses after their dad left. Last March, my daughter couldn’t walk for six weeks. Her legs were in pain. I took her to CHEO and they said it was all in her head.
We struggle as a mixed family and a traumatized family. People don’t understand what we’ve been through. Even my family who knows how much we have experienced judge me for not being strict enough as a mother. My children are my entire life. I don’t think it’s the same with fathers. My fiancé has two daughters of his own. He loves them so much. He loves my children as well and they love him right back. However, he doesn’t understand why I don’t discipline my children. I can’t scream at them and, if I do, I get depressed because I’ve now increased their trauma. If my son is punching himself in the face, should I kick him in the butt? Would that be helpful? I don’t think so.
I have done my best to get the children some help which is challenging as an entrepreneur without health insurance. My daughter started seeing an osteopath and within four treatments (4 weeks) her legs were pain-free. She can run again. He has helped her heal from physical and emotional trauma as well as a concussion. He did in four weeks what psychiatrists were never able to do. He is working on me as well and I am also getting great results. My son will be working with him too. Getting my children the help they need is my counselling because when they feel better, I feel better.