In this latest piece available in full on the Cosmophilia website, Dallas Jennifer Cobb shares her story of overthrowing the narrative instilled in her by her mother — ultimately healing herself through the process of mothering. — Amanda P.
by Dallas Jennifer Cobb
“Don’t ever have children, they ruin your life!” These are the words my mother said to me repeatedly. That one sentence reverberated within me for decades instilling fear, betrayal and a sense of abandonment. My mother didn’t want me.
The personal is political and very powerful. It is the most personal experiences that deeply wound us, but within them we might also find transformation and healing.
We are our own best allies in healing, whether we seek it consciously through therapy, self-help and reflection, or it comes organically through lived experience or instinct.
Like all animals, our biological instinct is to survive — to heal and return to homeostasis. I know that it is possible to heal and fully possess my own life, that there is something organically moving me toward wholeness. At the cost of sounding like an oversimplified stereotype, let me say: my mother deeply wounded me, but mothering has healed me.
After 16 years of daily drug use I got clean in 1990. I went to treatment, joined 12-step groups and began keeping a journal. I realized I had big gaps in my memory. Those gaps scared me.
Fast-forward to 2001 when my daughter was born. With little time to focus on my own recovery, I was totally wired to the care of my baby. I felt frantic a lot, terrified I didn’t have the skills to parent her appropriately. Sometimes my anxiety paralyzed me.
I thought that attaining the mainstays of good parenting (safety, security, nurture, affirmation and fostering self-esteem) was insurmountable — that I knew nothing about any of these. So I sought out resources.