I’ve encountered trauma – many different kinds: moving 4000 miles from my home and family, my father dying suddenly (recovery, of sorts, for me easily took 2 years), sundry car accidents, a grown son in a car accident where someone died (through no fault of his and yet he was sued!), a so-called ‘friend’ defrauding my other son, my husband being in a coma for 50 days followed by many months of rehab, then returning to hospital 18 months later with MRSA (which could have been, for him, a deadly infection); the list goes on.
I felt that I’d recovered from most of those traumas until one day last month when I came home to find my front doors wide open! Someone had broken into my house, having first tried to break a window and get in through a back room.
However, since then we’ve been saying “how lucky we are”. Not much of importance was stolen and the place wasn’t rendered a mess – what were they (him or her) actually looking for?
But a few days later it all got the better of me when I returned home to find: the doors were open again! My husband was supposed to be in the house – he was. But he had ‘thoughtfully’ opened the doors for me. But when I pushed the front door I couldn’t see him because he was on the phone while carrying laundry – panic ensued, although I didn’t scream…that much!
The emotions of all those traumas returned to my whole body. It is extremely hard to explain to anyone exactly what goes on in your body when you are traumatised on so many occasions.
Just think about that. A baby or toddler finds himself in a place where he never feels safe – every day he goes through many traumas comparable to those I’ve been through, with no time to recover.
What exactly does that do to a little body and mind? I have always had great sympathy for children going into the care of strangers – no one else I’ve worked with seems to have quite understood that. Certainly most parents don’t understand. Your child may be traumatised every single day and never has a chance to properly recover, to revert to normal.
When you are traumatised all normal brain function disappears and your emotions simply take over. When it happens over and over again you spend your days in a high state of alert.
Think about early trauma and what you his parent, mostly unwittingly, inflict upon your baby every day you leave him in care……crying; the only recourse a young child has.
All the signs are right in front of us. But only those who have experienced and come to understand their own traumas can even have a semblance of understanding what babies in care go through every day when they are left in the care of strangers.