adoption, family

I Don’t Want My Daughter

I don’t want my daughter. I don’t. It’s sad and it’s horrible but this is true. We’ve been discussing what steps to take to help Mary when I have my next surgery at the end of September. Luke will take over the day-to-day interaction with staff and clinicians for at least a month, maybe two. He will continue to visit Mary every week. Luke will play point-person while I recover.

The family clinician at the RTC thinks that perhaps Mary can come home to visit me on a day pass following surgery. He thinks this would be good for her. His theory would need her to safely manage a one-hour car ride back to our house. There she could visit with me while my spine is healing from the latest fusion. Then I guess she would safely make the hour trip back to her residential school.

For whatever reason I nodded and smiled while calmly discussing this.

“Maybe,” I said.

“She might be triggered to be at home.” I said.

“She might be triggered by my post-operative-using-a-walker-taking-pain-medication state.” I said.

She might she might she might she might…..

Then I got home and promptly had a panic attack. I woke up from vivid nightmares the following three nights in a row. Each time I clung to Luke shaking and struggling to breathe. The thought of having her here threw me into a dark place emotionally.

The thing about having a spinal fusion is that it is HARD. My body takes forever to recover. I’m exhausted. I’m in pain. It throws the entire family off. The kids revert into fight/flight mode.

I’m not talking about how hard it is on Mary. I’m talking about how hard it is on me. 

My last spinal fusion had the added difficulty of maintaining physical safety from my violent child. Mary was triggered when she saw me in a weakened state. Mary came at me hard. She came at me frequently.

Carl and I spent a lot of time hiding behind a dead-bolted door waiting for the police while she attempted to break it down. Luke had to switch to part-time per diem work so that he could be home when she was home. Carl and I needed him to physically protect us from Mary.

I don’t want that stress again. I don’t want to be reminded of how vulnerable I was. I don’t want to be reminded that I was helpless to protect Carl. He has always been terrified of her. My strong line-backer son cowers in a paralyzed fear when his little sister begins to laugh/scream. I don’t want her here.

A lot of what we do is to help Mary’s healing process. All of the therapy, the meetings, the research. We bend and contort our family life in intricate ways to control her world. If we can make her feel safe then she can recover. If we can manipulate all the variables perhaps she won’t rage as dangerously etc.

How would a home visit work? A staff member could accompany her. Luke would be here. We would probably be safe. I doubt she would try to attack me with an “outside” person present.

I still can’t do it. I went back and said no.

I do not care if that makes me a bad mother.

This time it isn’t about Mary’s recovery. This time it’s about my own.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


32 thoughts on “I Don’t Want My Daughter

  1. This.shaking says:

    Dear Herding: I have followed your love and courage and generosity for a long time. Your choice here is excruciating. I think it is the right choice – I can only imagine how terrified and furious Mary gets when she sees YOU helpless and in pain. You are going to protect her from that agony. I send you BIG wishes for a good recovery. You are, as always, taking care of both of you, and of the other members of your family. I admire you so much. Love to all of you – TS

    Liked by 2 people

  2. C says:

    Yikes! that’s a tough spot. Is it a matter of not wanting her home for a visit, which can be seen as caring for yourself in order to be able to care for her like they say n a plane your oxygen mask first, or is it a matter of not wanting her full stop? I don’t think you would make a bad decision for your family. You are so dedicated. Being denied a home pass may send a message to Mary. I know with Mary’s it’s difficult learn emotional lessons, but you never know which messages will be received. Does she respond well and able to participate in conversations? Maybe her and her therapist could have a conversation about why she isn’t able to have a day pass? Possible learning opportunity? I’ll be thinking of you guys and I hope you’ll give an update when you are well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you. We met with her team yesterday. She hasn’t earned a day pass home yet so it will be postponed. We are going to tell her 2 weeks in advance and her team will be there to support. I’m not sure what or how much she’ll understand. Last surgery she was angry with me probably due to feeling abandoned. I was with her physically but just physically incapacitated. That triggered her big time. I’m not sure how this will go but I’ll FaceTime etc until I’m no longer physically vulnerable. I expect it won’t go over well with her at all. Thank you for the kind words.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You have to take care of yourself. Surgery recovery is brutal, even when it’s a means to a good end. We will keep our fingers crossed for you on our tiny island. Mary is not being abandoned, she has Luke running point, her therapeutic school, and a mama willing to work hard on *herself*

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Good that you are doing what is best for you now. You have given so much. I don’t know what you are thinking but you deserve all the good vibes and good thoughts. I certainly could not have done what you have done. And how can you heal when you are under stress like that? Wishing you a successful healthy operation and a successful healthy recovery.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sending you best wishes for your surgery. For what it’s worth, I think you’ve made the right decision for everyone, not just you – although there is nothing wrong with self care.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Kathy says:

    You are absolutely making the right decision for you and have no reason to feel bad about it. I have been following your story for a while and I do not know how you do it. We adopted 3 children from foster care. They have been with us for almost 4 years and it has been brutal. I find you such an inspiration because our issues pale next to yours and yet you appear to maintain a much more loving and positive attitude then I have ever been able to muster.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You are not a bad mom. You have limits. We all do. When people don’t acknowledge their own limits that means that you burn out and perhaps cause more injury and danger to yourself or others. Know your limits. Stick to them.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Beth says:

    You’re not a bad mom. It is ok to say no to a home visit when the idea of doing one makes you so afraid. It is ok to put your safety and the safety of the rest of the family first.

    I so get it. We have had to say no to home visits with our younger child and say “if that makes me a bad mom so be it.” You want to be super mom. You want to be that “no matter what” mom. And you feel so guilty having to say no.

    I know that terror of letting a child come home, and I know that guilt for saying no. A while ago, though, I made a new rule. It says that we are allowed to set limits on what we can do for our child, including saying no to home visits, for our safety and sanity. No one is allowed to make me feel guilty about that, if they have never lived with our child. (really lived with her, not just been staff at her facility). If someone wants to make me feel bad about not bringing her back into my home right now, they have to take her into theirs for a few days first. Then we’ll talk.

    People who weren’t there, who didn’t live through it, don’t know what it was like for you. You do. You are a deeply loving mom and have given so much of yourself for your kids. And you are still giving everything you can to Mary. Don’t beat yourself up.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Heila says:

    It so does not make you a bad mom – it makes you a realistic one, who knows what she needs, and what her daughter needs better than the staff at the facility. Don’t feel bad for a moment. You have to take the time you need to heal in an environment that is as safe and stress free as possible. Only then will you be able to get back to full on therapeutic parenting of Mary. And this is ok.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. You know what I love about your blog? You are brave enough to write the hard stuff down and put it out there. It’s not easy to make yourself vulnerable — what will people think? I sound like a terrible mom — but you’re willing to share the whole truth of trauma parenting. I can see in the comments how many people are touched by your story, and your honesty is a gift to them.

    You’ve heard it from all of these wonderful readers but I’ll add mine, too. You’re doing what you can do to keep Mary safe, to keep yourself safe, to help her keep moving forward, TO KEEP YOURSELF SAFE. Put bluntly, you’re no good to anybody if you disregard the increased danger while you’re post-surgery then get injured by Mary. Sending our love and prayers for healing…

    Liked by 2 people

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