Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Cindy Bekesi
|May is Women’s Health Month and this weekend is Mother’s Day. The wish is that everyone enjoys time with their moms, or celebrates them in memory. Yet, many women, who grew up with Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV), or experience domestic violence (DV), do not find much to celebrate this month.|
This blog focuses on health issues of women- those that have children or are moms to be impacted by domestic violence and/or Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV). Some women live with DV, or grew up with CDV. They may not realize, that this past experience and present experience impacts their children. Additionally, that their children are far more likely to repeat the cycle of violence into adulthood because of these experiences.
The importance of a mother’s health on a child in a home with domestic violence
There are many forms of DV and those that are not physical, especially impact the brain. It is not a cut or a punch but a wound on the mind- it affects the psyche and the spirit. Often, because of how the brain is wired when growing up with violence, these women will now have ingrained a multitude of the lies of CDV. These can include hopelessness, feeling unloved, distrustfulness, worthlessness, and more negative beliefs that formed when they were children.
If the cycle of violence continues for their child, even if these children may not be the recipient of physical violence, everything they see has the same level of impact. As a result, their psyche and spirit may be diminished, and likely follow them into adulthood.
Domestic Violence: its impact on a woman’s life during pregnancy
It’s a common statistic that 1 in 7 moms will struggle with postpartum depression. But the percentage goes up to 3 times more likely to experience it if living with domestic violence. For mother and child, important nurturing processes could be impaired. A mother’s mental well-being is put at risk with increased odds for depression and suicide.
If a mother is facing violence during pregnancy, the child’s physical well-being and ability to thrive can be impaired- preterm birth and low birth weight may result, as well as behavioral issues in formative years, from prenatal domestic violence.
For many women living with violence, they may not feel comfortable talking to their doctors or anyone in their circle. Support systems simply do not exist for some women. Domesticshelters.org offers some helpful ways to get help, especially in this situation.
Separation Anxiety and the lie of Childhood Domestic Violence- being unloved
Women that grew up with CDV or are facing DV post pregnancy are more at risk of postpartum depression. These women as children, may have been harmed or neglected by those that were supposed to protect them. Their parents may have started the generational cycle of violence and were not the nurturing role models they should have been. All of this leads to false beliefs of your own self-worth from birth to adulthood.
One of the lies of CDV is feeling that you are unloved and therefore incapable of loving yourself or others. This thought pattern for a new mom can be devastating to a newborn- impacting the growth patterns mentally, physically and emotionally. Check out our upcoming post Tuesday for how a baby who is separated from the mother, even briefly, is impacted.
This need to feel loved is a genetic need from birth. If a lack of love and care by the mother is missing, these babies that grow up with Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV), will suffer the same lie that their mother did. Therefore, they will never form the levels of trust and love in order to form meaningful relationships so necessary for happiness.
Words of hope for a Happy Mother’s Day if you have faced domestic violence
There is something unique about growing up with DV. Because of the experience you went through as a child, that you truly can do anything. The horrors you faced when you were vulnerable and in need of nurturing, but did not get it, now have empowered you. It came from survival instinct and necessity.
A life can be changed for better starting with awareness and knowledge. By discovering that many of the lies you learned in life and that you think shaped you, can be changed to truths. It is never too late to unlearn what you have learned with tenacity- a strength you already have.
For all the moms reading, this Mother’s Day, focus on what you can learn about yourself. Your childhood experience- how it impacted you DOES NOT define you. So, take care of your own health, find love in yourself and give it to your child. It cannot change what you went through as a child, or are enduring now. But by seeking help, sharing in whatever way you can, you will ensure a better future for your child.