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.