Dear Younger Me,
I don’t think you would have known that all those times you preferred to be grown up and an adult, it would be this tough and challenging. Remember, how much you wished to be in the spaces and hold the degrees you now have? You had no idea how much of your mental and emotional health would be at sake with the life experiences that you would go through.
Did you ever stop to think that you were being prepared while as a sophomore in high school? Dealing with your dad, who had kidney failure would help you with what is ahead. It taught you patience, persistence and the ability to speak up for what you knew was right. You should have asked for help early though, it really became too much for you to handle on your own. It caused you a lot of pain and heartache when you had to keep missing out on your own life and journey to be there for your parents, especially your mother who needed your support.
Girl, you should have addressed the trauma and hurt that was caused by watching your father. This is when you needed him the most. It would have helped you to be more confident and assertive as to the kind of partner you wanted in life. You would have made better decisions and not been so gullible when falling in love. You would have better addressed the issues that arose very early in your relationship and/or left right away because he was not the right one for you.
Life has turned you upside down not because you have no grit or backbone but because you have put others first before yourself, just like mom. You failed to see how caring for others was causing you to have severe breakdowns. It would teach you the hard way to not put yourself last, that you matter and that what you learned from mom was not a healthy way to be in a relationship or as a woman.
There is one thing you were never prepared for girl and that is to be a mother. Damn! You had no clue how tough, challenging and heartbreaking that would be. No one gave you any insight on being a mom and what you learned from mom on how to be one was the complete opposite of how you would decide to do motherhood and how you would be tested. It has broken you, tested you and built you back up again, but you were neither ready nor prepared for what motherhood would slap you with.
Support and therapy are important, you would have advocated for this had you known! You would definitely speak it loud and proud. It’s important to reach out for help in mental and emotional health without hesitation. You would encourage all those around you so that they would know that they do not need to suffer alone. How important it is to heal from all the wounds, trauma and pain we carry from our childhood, in order to have successful and meaningful relationships with ourselves and others as adults. Either way girl, your grit and determination have paid off and I am thankful for that.
Looking forward to what’s next,
About the author: I am Susana Marquez, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Maternal Mental Health Clinician. Founder and clinician of Wellness Para La Mama, we provide bilingual therapeutic services for expectant and postpartum women. Services include therapy, support groups, workshops and healing circles for mothers suffering from a perinatal mood disorder. I earned my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University in Irvine, CA and I am currently working on my doctorate dissertation in Marriage and Family Therapy (Psy.D).