Monday, May 31, 2010

A Good Mother

Posted by Anonymous.

I thought I was a good mother, I recently found out that the very thing I did to protect my child put her in harms way.

Princess Petunia is the much wanted, long awaited, only child of parents who endured several pregnancy losses, were told they would never have a biological child, went through IVF, and against all odds, were blessed with this tiny, perfect proof that miracles happen on an ordinary day.

When we finally learned we were to be parents we were thrilled, our families were thrilled. We spent our days protecting her. I worked nights and her Dad worked days so we didn't have to put her in daycare until she went to school, then only before and after school. She was safe, she was loved, she was the sun we revolved around.

In the past three years this beautiful, sweet princess became bitter, moody, even mean at times. I chalked it up to teenage angst, only child syndrome, her parents were divorced, after all, she wasn't really a bad kid, just moody. About three months ago she asked to go to a counselor. I got her the first available appointment, what my baby needs, my baby gets.

Yesterday she confided to me something that she had already told her counselor and her dad: when she was six the driver for the daycare bus molested her.

My mind flashed back to the time she came home from daycare with a toy we hadn't bought for her, when I asked her where she had gotten it, she told me the bus driver gave it to her because she was such a good girl on the bus, never cried or screamed.

I marched right into the daycare director's office and demanded to know what was going on, making it clear this was not acceptable. The daycare informed me that "he" was a great guy, a dad himself, coached all the kids sports teams, everyone just loved him, besides, if would make me feel better he was going to be coaching full time and would not be driving the bus anymore, and "you know, Mrs. X, Petunia is a wonderful, well behaved child, I'm sure he was just rewarding her."

I left feeling like I had taken care of this, and besides, the Princess really is a great kid. Little did I know, the damage had already been done. You see, about a month or so earlier the day care had sent a letter home to all the parents explaining that due to the shortage of buses and drivers, sometimes it would be necessary for them to drop the children off up to an hour before school started, with no adult supervision. It was basically a permission slip asking me if they could not do what I was paying them to do. I told the director that they could not drop my six year old off at school to be unsupervised for an hour, if I did that it would be child neglect, I wasn't going to let them do it either. Princess Petunia was to stay on the bus until she could be supervised.

The conversation with my baby, who is now almost 17, started yesterday with: "Mommy, remember when I had to stay on the bus...?"

Now I feel like not only did I fail to protect her but I basically handed her to the pedophile that hurt her. I don't know what to think, what to feel. I think I'm still in denial. How did someone hurt my baby and I was completely unaware? How do I sleep at night knowing that I gave this... I can't call him a man... access to my daughter so her he could hurt her?

And how do I ever begin to make the world a safe place for her again. The saddest part is that she tried to protect me. She told her counselor and her father but she didn't want to tell me because, in her words " Mommy, I knew you would think it was your fault, and there was nothing you could do to stop it."

I used to think I was a good mother, now I think I have no clue what a good mother does to protect her babies.


Anonymous said...

You are a good mother. Period.
This, unfortunately, could have happened to any mother. ANY mother.
Drowning in guilt is not going to do you, or your daughter any good.
Move beyond the guilt----be angry, be horrified, be anything you want to be, but direct your rage at the perpetraitor. You are just as much a victim in this terrible situation. I am so sorry this happened. I hope you and your family can work through this and heal. But you are not at fault. Please don't use your energy thinking that because your daughter needs you now---because you are a good mother.

paula said...

i don't think there's anything you could have done... you didn't know about this man being a molester (and obviously the school didn't either) and you were trying to protect your kid from being left alone...
i think your daughter is already in the path towards healing, after all she asked for counseling herself, so she is in therapy and she just needs her mom to walk with her...
what you can do now is talk to the school, that person may still be working there, and you can avoid someone else the damage your girl already received

you are not a bad mother, a bad mother wouldn't have cared about the bus driver giving her kid a treat, a bad mother wouldn't have cared about the school asking to leave her kid unsupervised for an hour

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. You are NOT a bad mother, not at all. The one to blame is the molester, and to a degree, the daycare. (They seriously would have kids dropped off to be unsupervised? WTF?)

When I was six years old, I was molested by the teenage babysitter my mom hired. That's not her fault. She is a good mother and so are you. I've never been able to tell my mom, I know she would be utterly devastated. Focus on your daughter, she needs you. What happened was awful, but it will not destroy her.

Anonymous said...

I was molested when I was a child, by two men who are related to my mother - one of them is her brother. I am 38 now and I NEVER told her. To this day she doesn't know.

You are not a bad mom. At least she told you.

Anonymous said...

If you were a bad mother, this wouldn't bother's eating you up.
You are a very good mother.

Anonymous said...

You are so not a bad mother..I am a survivor and though at time's I may have blamed my wasn't her was the pedophile..and they are manipulative, clever creatures that hide in plain site. It sounds as though your daughter is strong and couragous..and that is due to YOU. She will get through this and I pray that this monster get's the justice that is due him. Don't waste the time feeling the guilt..spend it learning and helping her through the process of healing.

Anonymous said...

I read this today and I wept. I'm sorry , in a million ways or more, for your dear girl and for all the dear little girls who are hurt this way and for all of us mothers who do their BEST to protect these precious children and still the evil monsters get their hands on them! I wept for my own little girl who is now a grown woman of 30, who is still that wounded little girl inside, who still carries the huge baggage of what a monster did to her .(her own grandfather!!) Twenty one years later I still cry and scream inside my head " How could I NOT KNOW??" But I didn't know and when I found out I stopped him . And then my dear little girl watched a huge inter-connected family of cousins and aunts and uncles blow up, watched her own family blow up, watched her much loved father implode and become a bitter angry mess .

In part of my head I know its not my fault. But I will never stop thinking that I should have, could have, somehow. Because I'm her mother and thats my job and thats all I ever wanted to do, is protect her and give her a happy life.

We love them. With everything in our being, we love our child. Thats what a good mother does . We're not bad mothers. The monsters out there who prey in children, they are the bad ones.


Anonymous said...

It happened to my daughter too. It has nothing to do with what kind of mother you are, and you do sound like an amazing one!

Continue being the best mother you can, and help her heal. I think the fact that I believed my daughter and went to the authorities in addition to everything else within my power and the bounds of the law.

Honestly, I have never allowed myself to heal. I figure one day when she's grown, I will finally deal with it. I know that I will lose it when I do.

Just know that you are not alone, your daughter is wonderful, you are wonderful, and sadly this is a world with sick evil people who hurt our kids.

The only thing I know to do is be the best mother ever. Be there for your daughter. My daughter is happy, healthy, and leads a very normal life.

I am so sorry for both you and your daughter. I know how horrible and awful this is to go through. --A mom whose been there...

Anonymous said...

Bless you and bless your daughter. Never for one moment think that you are a bad mother, you are a great mother. Your daughter is strong and couragous because of you. She came to you and told you, so you could help her, she trusts you to help her heal with what this vile monster did to her.
This happened to me too, I could not tell my mother because it would break her heart, she would not be able to deal with it. That is hard that I have to deal with this on my own. I am now 32.

raisel said...

It is NOT YOUR FAULT. And it is NOT YOUR DAUGHTER'S FAULT. Both of you have to know this, accept this, in your hearts. The person who is at fault is HIM - fucking bastard.

I'm so glad she is getting counseling. I hope you will see a therapist, too. You sound like a wonderful mom and I believe you will both be okay.

My mom and I and siblings have been here, too. We are healing and we are okay. It takes time. We love each other and support each other and that is what we can do.

Sending you healing thoughts and a warm light to wrap around yourself and your daughter.


val said...

I am a survivor,i never told my parents until I was in my 30's and in counseling....i never thought it was their fault...guess thats what Im saying this isn't about you...its her's to deal with, all i wanted was them to know and validate me....accept and love her..guilt is a negative and makes a person (her and you) feel worse. Love and accept and let her talk when she need too. best thing my dad said was wow baby girl I sure wish you would have told me, I would have taken him out....3o years after the fact it made me feel safe. best of luck

Unknown said...

You are not a bad mother, it happened to my daughter at 9, by her great grandfather, my grandfather. NO ONE but the MONSTER is to blame, we found out later, when he was interviewed that he did it before, 30 years before, how many kids in between? Best of luck to you, get her counseling and family counseling. My prayers are with you

Steph said...

Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try we just can't protect them from everything. That doesn't make you a bad mother, you are NOT a bad mother. If you were you would have left her alone on the playground for that hour where she could have been hurt. You chose what the obviously safer option was. Any of us would have made the same choice.

I can't imagine what you're going through. ((((HUGS))))


Your daughter's attempt to shield you from her pain is a testament to your wonderful parenting! Only a well loved, thoughtful, caring child would think of her mother's pain before her own. You should be proud. Of both of you.

Bren said...

You are a good mother. You did your best. You worked hard at parenting & that speaks volumes.

I am a victim similar to your daughter. And my parents were just like you. They sent me off with this person with the best of intentions. You have no way to read another's mind, know of their hurtful deviations. And trust me from knowing, when there is a deviant like your daughter encountered, they find a way to make things happen - things out of your control. My parents couldn't be with me 24/7 and I have never wanted them to feel any guilt for what happened. They did their very best and like I said above, the predator in my life was going to find a way to get to me, no matter what they did.

Like others have said, the best thing you can do for your daughter is be there for her now. The past is done and the future lies ahead for you to continue being the wonderful mother you are. That's the best thing you can do for her. The hardest part of being a parent (as I am one now myself) is knowing that we can't protect our children from all the hurts out there. But what we can do is stand beside them and be there for them when they need us.

I wish you and your daughter all the best. Take care and please don't be too hard on yourself. Your daughter sounds like an amazing young woman and you and her father have done a great job in parenting her. Trust me when I say, she can and will get through this with your love and support.

Anonymous said...

I feel the exact same way. I thought I was this 'great' mother. My son told me when he turned 21 that he was molested by a neighbors father when he was about 6 or 7. We both cried, and I told him I have failed him, I could not protect him. He tells me all the time how 'wonderful' I am..but I still will never forgive myself. He for some reason has never wanted to go to therapy and says he has put it behind him. Besides the death of your child, this is to me the worst thing that could ever happen to your baby.

Anonymous said...

A good mother does the best she can to protect her babies. When she knows better, she does better (Maya Angelou). You have done all that. I know it doesn't do much to say all that, there's that illogical part of mother-heart that will not listen, we all have it, but go through this with her and come out stronger. Through is the only way. Hold tight.

Anonymous said...

Pedophiles are everywhere and they are everyone. It can be the 14 year old neighbor boy, or your own brother, or the eye surgeon trusted to treat your 10 year old daughter. Back in the '50's you stayed overnight in the hospital for surgery and the doctors were gods. I am in my 60's now and never, ever told anyone what he did. I feel bad if he hurt others but I put it all behind me and made a success of my life. And I watched my kids with an eagle eye.

Deb said...

I was molested when I was 12 years old, by my stepfather. And no matter what his faults, I know that my mother never would have left me alone with him if she'd suspected that he was capable of that. There are plenty of mistakes that my mother made, but she's not the one that touched me. And you're not the one that touched your daughter.

Now that I have a daughter of my own, what kills me is knowing that I can do everything right and she could still be hurt like this. Worse than what he actually did to me was the fact that I now carry around the knowledge that anyone could harbor that kind of evil inside them. I have known so many friends over the years that were molested, and the story is always different. The people are always different.

Basically, as shitty as it sounds, there's nothing we can really do to protect our children from predators. Because they don't wear a badge or have a tattoo that marks them for what they are. They wear costumes that look just like everyone else. And as terrifying as that can be, it means that our job isn't to keep bad things from happening to our children. Our job is to make sure that they can handle those bad things when they do. Our job is to be right there beside them and lend them our strength when theirs isn't enough.

And it sounds to me like you did that for your daughter. So no matter what "mistakes" you think you made, they don't make you a bad mother.