‘My husband said, ‘It’s a girl!’ I was terrified. How could I connect with such a huge mother wound?’: Girl mom, child trauma survivor urges ‘you can break generational patterns’

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“I am the oldest child and the mother of my mother and my brothers. My mother’s father died when I was 8 months old and she checked out emotionally. My parents divorced when I was 6 and my brother was 2. Before their official divorce, my mother kidnapped us with her new boyfriend and we moved from Mexico to the US. I never lived with my father again. I lived with my mother and her boyfriend, who was a pilot, so we moved around a lot and I went to a different school every year of my life until high school.

Mother breastfeeding baby daughter while wearing a blue-print robe
Courtesy of Leslie Bost
mother holding baby daughter's hand while looking at the horizon
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

Growing up with my mother was confusing. She was very loving, yet very absent. Things would happen continuously under her nose, but she was unable to see them or take action to guide or help me. At the age of 9, my mother’s boyfriend molested me (she didn’t believe me when I told her). This created an even bigger break in our relationship. We never really connected much after this experience. I always sensed my mom was dealing with a huge amount of stress and inner pain, which made it impossible for her to connect with me. As a child, this was heartbreaking.

When I was 11, my mother got pregnant with my half-brother and I was left to live with my Mom’s brother and sister-in-law. My aunt and uncle had two small children (my cousins, ages 2 and 3, who I was babysitting non-stop). I traveled with them and was in charge of the kids. At this age, I became bulimic (to gain a false sense of control within my chaotic life). My mother and stepfather finally broke up when I was 12. We struggled financially and I became the babysitter of my two younger brothers (ages 1 and 8 years old) after school while my mom worked.

young kid bottle-feeding younger sibling in a crib at the beach
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

We never went hungry but had an unhealthy amount of tuna cans, and at times, I had to figure out what to feed my brothers while my mom was at work. We always had a roof over our head but never had hot water, sometimes no running water, and constantly had people knocking on the door who were owed money by my mom. She was a single mother in Mexico and things were rough. At 15, I was given an amazing opportunity to leave my home and go live in Georgia with extended family. I was taken in and given a full ride to a private high school by my new adoptive family (the grandparents and aunt of the young cousins I babysat when I was 11).

I am grateful daily for the opportunity I was given, as it opened new horizons and took me out of my living situation with my mother. Yet all these opportunities also came at a cost. The aunt I lived with was not very motherly and had an addiction to marijuana, so there was much volatility at my new home. I was unsure how to navigate this new life away from home, but I didn’t look back. Without me realizing it, each experience took me further and further from my mother. I felt a disconnection with my roots, and resentment was high. I was confused as a teen, angry, and sad for not having a fairytale relationship with my mother.

I wanted nothing more than a supportive mother, yet I pushed her love away and blamed her for all that had happened in my life. I went through teenagerhood and early adulthood looking for a mother figure. I relied on other women, finding mentors and older women friends who could help guide me. Many times, I felt alone, but I always had an urge to keep going and trust my process. What I was unable to see at the time was the pain my mom was going through and her own brokenness. This realization came much later in my life, and only really until I started to heal my own wounds and became a mother myself.

vintage picture of a single mother looking down at the floor with unicolor outfit
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

At 18, I got a 100% academic scholarship to a university back in Mexico and started dating my husband. We married when I was 25 and had our first pregnancy when I was 28. Finding out I was pregnant was an initial shock. I had vowed I would never have children (I now have 4 children). Looking back, I was scared to bring children into this world knowing the pain I had experienced as a child. How could I mother children if I didn’t have a mother example to rely on? After the initial shock, I became ecstatic about the possibilities until I realized I had a 50-50 chance of having a daughter!

pregnant woman holding her belly wearing a white and blue long dress with trees in the back
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

While pregnant, I never found out the sex of my babies until they were born, and during my first pregnancy, I was terrified to have a daughter. I could not imagine having a daughter due to the fear I would somehow unconsciously re-create the relationship I had with my own mother, and as an adult, I learned it was the same relationship my mother had with her own mother. Would the generational ‘curse’ continue if I had a daughter? How could I connect with a girl if I had such a huge mother wound? What did an abundant mother-daughter relationship even look like?

I didn’t know back then I could heal my wounds and re-mother myself. I didn’t know I could give myself the love, validation, and attention I so much desired as a child and never received. I was unaware, even as an adult, these fears were connected to my childhood needs. Many days during my pregnancy I would envision having a boy and kept entrusting the universe to keep me away from any resemblance of a mother-daughter relationship. The universe was wise and sent me a boy. When he was born, the joy of being a mother was immense, but mostly the joy of having a BOY.

After my son was born, I was unaware the generational pattern—and break in a mother-child relationship—could take place, independently of the sex of the child. I loved being a mom so much I wanted to do it again. Unfortunately, I had 3 miscarriages. The first miscarriage happened when my eldest son was 8 months old (the same age I had been when my mother lost her father). I lost myself in grief for many months. I became pregnant for the 5th time, and when the pregnancy looked viable, I prayed it would be a boy, and I got a boy!

outdoors family portrait of mom dad and two sons wearing white matching outfits
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

With my second son, it became more and more evident I needed to question my thoughts and beliefs as a woman, mother, wife, get comfortable in my own skin, and mostly, trust myself. I started to see signs of depression and overwhelm as a mother. The pregnancy losses took their toll. This prompted me to ⁠start a journey towards healing with therapy, meditation, self-help books, and most importantly, acknowledgment and acceptance of my relationship with my own mother. I became pregnant again (for the 7th time as I had yet another loss after my second son) and during this pregnancy, I finally felt ready to mother a daughter.

pregnant belly with sharpie marks counting pregnancy weeks
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

I felt stronger and wiser and knew I would do things differently. I now craved to have a girl. When I was 6 weeks pregnant, I got appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery. I was told I would probably lose the baby, but I had no choice as surgery had to be performed. They took my appendix out moments before it popped. I laid in the hospital bed, wondering if my baby survived and wondering if I would ever be blessed with a girl. I wasn’t able to find out if there was still a heartbeat until 3 weeks after the surgery. It was the longest 3 weeks of my life! And low and behold, when I had the ultrasound we heard a strong and steady heartbeat! Pure joy!

ultrasound of baby
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

Then at 20 weeks of pregnancy, still not knowing the sex of my baby, I had heavy bleeding. Again, I didn’t know if my baby would make it. My anxiety was through the roof, but day by day the baby hang on, despite it all. On May 6, 2016, I gave birth to a girl! She was almost born in the car and then in the hospital elevator. A nurse held my shoulder and said ‘just one push.’ She was born in 6 minutes flat and came out with a determination, unlike anything I have witnessed. She had survived an appendectomy in my body, she was ready to be here! My husband caught her and I asked, ‘What is it? Boy or girl?’ He couldn’t tell immediately, and then he said, ‘It’s a girl!’

mother and father stare at each other while holding newborn baby girl right after childbirth
Birth Blessings Photography
mother and father stare at newborn baby girl right after childbirth
Birth Blessings Photography

I had a girl! I was a mother to a girl! How was this even possible? She was perfection in my eyes and heart. Pure joy filled me up! I would lay at night watching her, caressing her face and in awe of the magic of this baby girl. I was grateful beyond words. I felt complete for the first time in my life. I felt as if the mother-daughter relationship I never had was now coming together in a different generation. I felt more connected to my femininity than ever. It is hard to explain, but energetically I felt different by having a daughter.

newborn baby sleeping on a white knitted blanket wearing a matching knitted hat
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

As my daughter grew a little older, I started to understand I was taking what I never had in my own relationship with my mother and getting it from my daughter. I craved the love she was giving me because I lacked it in my own life. I realized it is not my daughter’s job to fill my void and need for connection with a female. My daughter needs ME, not the other way around. This was a HUGE wake-up and the biggest catapult to my personal healing. I worked hard in therapy to connect to my own mother, not physically, but to connect to the needs I had as a child and find, through re-parenting myself, I could give myself these needs.

little gil with big green eyes stares right at the camera
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

I could see and love myself as I needed to be seen and loved as a child. I could tap into self-compassion and also compassion for my mother and her process. Compassion for my grandmother and her process. I could see the break in the mother-daughter relationship for generations back. Having compassion didn’t mean I agreed on how situations were managed in my childhood, but it meant I understood the journey of the women before me and I understood my own. It meant I let go of resentment, which was not serving me. It meant I came back to myself with love and acceptance.

mother holding baby daughter at her first communion
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

And this is when the magic happened. Once I started to acknowledge my needs and cover them with love and grace, I started to see the relationship with my children flow. I started to relieve my own children, boys, and girl, of generational patterns and baggage. I started to have a connected relationship with my own mother as well. But mostly, I started to have a relationship of love and understanding with MYSELF. It took time, patience, and facing deep pain, but the love multiplied from this healing is immeasurable. I was ultimately able to mother and a daughter from a place of abundance versus lack, and break the pattern with my boys as well. ⁠

mother sits in a circle with her four kids and have a happy conversation
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

⁠I want mothers everywhere to know having a traumatic relationship with their mothers does not have to define them or the relationship with their children. I want mothers to know fear is normal, yet there is a way to find the inner connection we so desperately need. There is hope the moment we start to see ourselves for the essence and pure light we are. Caring for our needs and acknowledging our personal struggles with compassion and self-care will help us break generational patterns and ultimately connect to our children from a place of abundance.

mother and daughter closely staring at each other wearing print dresses
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

My daughter puts me to the test daily. She is verbal and speaks her mind and heart. She is unapologetic and shines her light as bright as 1000 suns. She will not dim herself for anyone and teaches me to do the same. Her wisdom and energy have woken up in me the power of love, forgiveness, and compassion. Don’t let fear and your old wounds hold you back. Beneath is all you are infinite love and so are our children!⁠”

mother holding daughter's hand while walking barefooted and wearing long print dresses
Courtesy of Leslie Bost
Courtesy of Leslie Bost

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Leslie Bost, Trauma Informed Conscious Parenting Coach. You can follow her journey on  Instagram and her website. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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