I sat there in the child therapist’s office, wondering how I got there.

I have tried so long to figure it out, make it work and “fake it till I make it.” But, it became apparent that I needed help.

I’m a good mom. I know this. I work at mothering like my life depends on it. But there I was, talking to a complete stranger, admitting that I had failed my child. Words tumbled out through tears and self-recrimination and wishes that I had “done/said/been” something that was “different/more/better”. I needed her help to fix this.

She kept congratulating me and telling me how great it was that I was aware and doing something about the problem; that “kids like my kid” were bound to have issues they needed to deal with eventually. But I could not get out of my heart that my child was hurting, and I could not fix it.

I was (am?) barely treading water to keep from drowning in the convincing belief of my failure.

But, I’ve chosen, today, to believe the therapist. I’ve chosen to repeat to myself that my child is her own person; that I cannot and should not save her. I can provide support, safety, and direction, but she is going to have to save herself.

A girl with no self-compassion or self-worth is bound for some really hard times in life. Blaming myself will only stunt both of us. We both have to learn self-compassion. I have such deep empathy for others – sometimes it paralyzes me. I feel my child’s pain in a very physical way. But I cannot model the self-compassion I want HER to have if I continue to blame myself for her pain – whether the blame is real or perceived, deserved or undeserved.

It’s time to stop blaming and start working for something better. And I might have to make this decision 800 times today.

“Fall in love with this world. Open your heart. Let it break. And then go on. You will be smarter and stronger and more eager for love than ever (after you heal).” ~Lisbeth Darsh

THIS is what I want her to know. But I have to know it, first.