‘I’m a Phoenix who rose out of the ashes.’: Childhood sexual assault survivor shares healing journey

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Disclaimer: This story contains details of sexual abuse, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm which may be upsetting for some.

Losing My Innocence To Sexual Assault

“What’s better, to have a lifetime of processing or to just be hit with a train carrying loads of suppressed memories? Either or, it’s incredibly painful to realize that someone else’s decision altered the course of your life when they decided to take your innocence.

5 years ago I had my daughter, and she was the best blessing possible. I always knew I wanted to be a mother but my childbirth experience would lead me down a path I wasn’t ready for. This story is to give a voice to the child that was robbed of her innocence. I’m talking about childhood sexual assault, about child molestation.

Sadly, 30 percent go unreported and 90 percent of the survivors personally know their perpetrator. Let’s just say I’m a part of that 90 percent. I’ll begin by saying my mom and dad are my best friends, so that that’s not a thought in your mind. My support system now is my husband, parents, and my daughters. 

childhood sexual abuse survivor walks holding her husband's hand
Courtesy of Britt Contreras

My story began when I had my firstborn. I was a mama bear to the max and around certain people I was like a dog with cackles going up. In fact, my dog growled at my predator. At the time, I was just cautious with my newborn and I thought it was all my postpartum depression doing the talking.

In reality, my postpartum depression was a mask for a more sinister version that I wouldn’t let myself remember.

When I was pregnant with my second, I had already gone through a lot of therapy for my postpartum depression from my childbirth trauma with my first. I decided to take it a step further and I went to a medium.

In my reading, my cousin came through to tell me how much we related to one another and he was worried about me. At the time, I was going through really up and down moments. I stopped feeling and the only thing keeping me alive was my two daughters at the time, one already earthbound and the one in my womb. 

Regression Therapy

I was referred to regression therapy which uses the guidance of spirit and a form of hypnosis to take you back to your memories. While I was remembering, I was feeling everything, I felt like a 3-year-old again. I was even speaking like one a bit.

While this was happening, I was detailing everything and the only things being asked were what I was seeing, and what was happening. There was no influence from the medium as some skeptics might think.

My spirit team on the other side (loved ones passed on, guardian angels, your higher self) were validating and confirming before I even said it; the medium was writing it down and she would show me at the same time I would say it. My spirit team confirmed things nobody knew. Thanks to my Grandma Helen, my cousin, and my soul sister they were helping me through it all. 

A combination of my memories came to the surface through traditional therapy, regression therapy, and going to multiple mediums confirming my suppressed memories. Growing up I wondered why from the time I was a toddler until I was about 12, I could not remember big portions of my childhood.

Why couldn’t I even remember happy memories? My brain’s coping mechanism like most human beings was to throw away the lock and key to it all.

Every time someone would use the words ‘molestation or sexual assault’ and/or I would see a show about it, I would think, I wonder if that ever happened to me, and then immediately my perpetrator’s name would pop into my head. I would then have a reaction of feeling guilty, angry, and mad at myself for even thinking it could be him when I always knew in my heart, mind, and soul that it was him. 

young girl standing in front of a pool while holding a bat
Courtesy of Britt Contreras

Depression & Suicidal Ideation

I will never have the ‘evidence’ that people need in order to believe me. All I have is my memories that resurfaced, my triggers, and things that just make sense now about why I was the way I was growing up with certain things and people. All of this was validated for me and explained that I was afraid to accept it, I was fearful of what others would think and say, so instead I suppressed it because it was easier for me at the time.

I trusted, and like a lot of childhood survivors who knew their perpetrator, they blamed themselves and still couldn’t wrap their head around that person betraying their trust and stealing their innocence. 

During this time though of it all coming out, I went to a dark place again. I had suicide ideation and thought of when there would be a time when I was alone, so I could crash my car or overdose on my medication. I continued therapy and went to life coaches and mediums.

Honestly, the spiritual mediums saved me from myself because my spirit came through heavy. ‘Do you know you are alive? Do you know you are breathing right now?’ My cousin called me out and he said that I was a ‘dark mama’ in regards to my HelloGorgeousMama Instagram that I was trying to preach about owning your truth and helping moms.

He said you can’t help others until you allow yourself to feel and help yourself. That was my wake-up call. I knew I could never take my life at the end of the day because at the time I had two beautiful daughters depending on me. I have a husband who adores me and parents who only have me here on earth.

parents put their arms around their daughter who is a sexual assault survivor
Courtesy of Britt Contreras

My daughters aka my honeybees, helped me rise out of the ashes. My second-born and first-born gave me a journey of discovery, healing, and helped me through postpartum anxiety. My youngest helped me through growth and transformation.

Their unconditional love for me showed me how much I needed that love as a child. This was such a different kind of love I didn’t know I needed until I had them and each with their own vibrant miraculous personalities.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents went overboard when it came to me and always have shown love tremendously. They were and still are amazing. They were two very young adults that fought against their own adversities. I had my own demons that they didn’t know of and I didn’t understand what was happening at the time. 

Suppressed Memories Resurfacing

My memories of being molested, all spilled out 25 years later when I was expecting my second. After she was born I decided to start my spiritual journey. It meant that I had to protect my heart, mind, and soul. My circle became much tighter as I needed to voice my truth, protect my space and really decide what I needed in my life for myself and my family aka my beehive.

As I came closer to healing and no longer needing others’ validation; I started to open my mind and began receiving more intuitive messages. It wasn’t entirely surprising since as a child I remember feeling spirits and sensing different energies. I would be afraid though so I closed myself off to the spirit world as I did the real world. 

childhood sexual abuse survivor holds her two daughters laughing
Courtesy of Britt Contreras

I was true to my zodiac sign Cancer and became a crab when feeling threatened with my safe space by diving inside my shell (soul) to be safe and closing it off then the world. Growing up I did what I was told, I respected my elders and my voice was relatively small.

I grew up around a large family and if you wanted your voice to be heard then you would need to pretty much shout. I never did, so most of the time when I was talked over or I didn’t feel heard, I stayed silent.

My family would probably describe me as a smiley girl and happy but I was in numb protective mode. There were only certain people I let in but even then my inner child was hiding for decades.

I played independently when I could and I tried my own ways of saying something was going on but I was only three when it began. I was also groomed and thought I was safe. Manipulation at its finest. 

As a teenager, I started to find my voice more but then my cousin passed. He was like a brother to me and he was where I always loved to be – at my Papa Ace’s house. My dad would take me there in the mornings, I would love saying bye to my cousin and his sisters before they left for school as I lay half asleep on the couch.

In high school, when my cousin passed I started to cut myself. I didn’t know how to cope with his death. I blamed myself for not being with my family when he passed since we were on vacation when we found out.

college graduate stands in cap and gown with her grandfather
Courtesy of Britt Contreras

Embarking On My Spiritual Journey

Looking back at my high school days, I have sympathy for that girl. I let grief, no self-love, or self-respect affect me. My grades weren’t what I was capable of, and I was falling for a boy which resulted in me starting to do out-of-character things.

But God sent me a saving grace. I met my husband of almost 16 years now, I felt love again and he brought me closer to God. During this time, I was getting more signs from Spirit and felt led to be more spiritual.

I attended Biola University after being led by Spirit to enroll at this school and found my faith even more. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in journalism and I ended up at a corporate job I hated. I was at this job when I was going through this journey; so guess what? I finally and recently decided to leave a hostile work environment and advocate more for moms. 

I decided to finish editing my book about my motherhood journey and be vulnerable to include my childhood trauma. I made the decision to come out of the spiritual closet and stop doing mini intuitive readings in closed Facebook groups and be more vocal now that I have and accept my spiritual abilities. Now I say I’m more spiritual than religious. For me, God is my center, my heart, and my guiding factor along with Spirit in tow and my bee hive as my anchor.

I decided at that point to take HelloGorgeousMama and let every mom know I crossed paths with they are gorgeous from the inside out and we all have a purpose. Every morning I would say to my firstborn ‘Hello Gorgeous’ as I was deep in my depression. I continue to tell each of my girls they are gorgeous, I love them and sing each of them their special song.

desk with spiritual guidance tools laid out on the surface
Courtesy of Britt Contreras

My truth is this – I’m not defined by what happened to me, I’m not better because of what happened to me, and what happened to me did not make me who I am; I did!

I chose myself. I choose me and my family every day! I choose life because I love myself now. I choose to be the best version of myself for me and my tribe.

I have so much to say, a lot to do, and decisions to act on, that it would be a waste to leave this world prematurely without these messages of love and light.

We all have a story to tell but our journey doesn’t stop; we are constantly learning, growing, healing, and discovering. The right circle will find you to support you, love you, and not try to change you. I’m a Phoenix who rose out of the ashes like you can too.

Besides, I have little gorgeous eyes watching and their voice will always matter to me. I need to show them how one person can make a difference with one baby step; one moment; one breath; one soul at a time. Our journey does not stop here.”

This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Britt Contreras, Founder of Hello Gorgeous Mama. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Apple PodcastJoin the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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