If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...
I’m telling this story here in the basement because, in many ways, it isn’t truly my story to tell. And to break this kind of confidence, in as public a forum as my own blog, would surely consign me to hell. But it all weighs heavily on my mind, so here it goes.
When we were kids, my sisters and I went to a pediatricians group with three doctors, Dr. A, Dr. B, and Dr. C. for the sake of argument. Dr. C. was the slightly overweight, nice guy who you always hoped to get. Dr.s A and B were both tall, slim, with glasses and thinning hair and easily confused in our young minds. To this day, I don’t know that I could tell you with confidence which was which. As a child, I was often on the ‘overweight’ section of the charts. One or both of these doctors gave me a hard time about it every time he saw me. Again, I couldn’t say for sure.
Shortly after I moved away from home, my younger sister called me and asked me a strange question. “Did anything unusual ever happen to you at the doctor’s office when we were kids?” Unusual how? Just anything that seemed weird or made you uncomfortable. Once she asked, I remembered an incident (or maybe two incidents, but I think it was all the same visit) where either Dr. A. or B. felt my breasts and pulled down my underwear to ‘look for pubic growth’, which, yes, made me uncomfortable, but I was always uncomfortable at the doctor. I was overweight and about 12 and some guy is looking at me in my underwear. But it wasn’t anything I ever thought to mention to anyone. But it did seem strange. I imagine this might be called ‘being fondled’ or some such term today. I don’t feel scarred by the experience but it shouldn’t have happened. The truly scarring incidents happened to my sister. She was molested by one of our pediatricians over a number of years. And it broke my heart to hear those words. It planted in me a mighty rage with no real outlet. But it didn’t happen to me. It is her story, not mine. And she is the one who has grown beyond it into an incredible woman.
But now that I am a mother, I think it breaks my heart in a whole new way. And it also terrifies me. I know my mother thought she was doing her best by us by bringing us to a reputable practice. You have to entrust your children to others all the time. But I am haunted by the thought that someone could hurt my child in this way. I don’t belong to a gym where I live because the only one with child care only has one adult in the room with the children. I have no faith in that situation. I need to find a new babysitter and I feel like no matter how carefully I interview, the danger is still there. Someday, my baby will go off to school for hours at a time and I know that I will worry. I know every parent has these concerns. I’m just struggling to find the balance between safety and obsession.
*HBM sticking her nose in here, because this post raises such huge issues and questions: what are YOU doing, or will you be doing, to protect your children from abuse? What CAN we do?
**Irreverent Mama has followed up on this topic