Days in the Mumdrah house are riddled with holes.

The Sea of Holes – from The Yellow Submarine

CHT describes her hole as big, and red, and inside her; part of her physical anatomy. As she talks of it she grasps at her chest around her heart, and claws at her stomach.  Her hole is empty.  Needy and greedy; it drains her of all security, whilst also being the portal through which the deep fear and shame enter her and expose her to a life that no child should have to bear.  Sometimes frightening – monster shaped and angry, sometimes stupefied – ice like and cold.  And sometimes (but possibly always) mummy shaped.  She has said that nothing fits or fills it; not love, or home, or sweets or presents, not understanding nor acceptance.  And if ever something good finds its way inside, it never lasts long, because it always falls back out.

But I am telling her story, one she must give in her own words.  Until that day can come, this post tells my own tale, and my holes come in two forms; both black and deep, and outside of me.

The first is huge, and elephant shaped. 

It spans the physical space between Mumdrah and CHT at all times.  I go about the day-to-day tasks of my motherhood skirting this crater, in constant risk of slipping.  If I look down, my toes overlap the cliff-like edge.  I scramble to keep on solid ground, dislodging stones that topple and fall in warning of things to come. Every decision and action I take comes with a chance of maintaining or losing my footing, to be swallowed whole into its depths.   One unknowing false move, an ill timed step, a lapse in concentration, the fuzz of tiredness, or an emotional landmine unwittingly stepped on – and I’m in.

Tumbling down, the trust and the bonds I work so hard to build are tested as they stretch and fray and tear.  Inside that hole, every tool, skill and ounce of patience is stripped from me; all lost in the confusion of an emotional world that is wholly not my own, not fully understood.

Nothing good comes of that hole while we are in it, but as I scrabble back out into the sunlight – bruised and a little guilty at my failure to stay clear – I’ve come to recognize the learning and growth it brings.  Repeated over and over, this hole helps more than hinder me.  Look closely at the hole that lies before you: are its edges as steep as when you first fell in?  Mine seems less treacherous, and has slowly become less of something to fear or resist, and more of a place to respect and acknowledge, as I build and develop as a parent.  My acceptance makes it an ally, rather than a foe.

The second is folded and tiny, tucked away in my pocket. 

I take it out in the haze of mental exhaustion.  I enter it willingly, and hide my heart in its depths to find relief from the tensions of adoptive family life.  But staying too long within its sanctuary comes at a price: detachment.  For within this void – just as it offers a break from the emotional torrent – it also numbs the rest of me; cutting off the love and the playful, curious joy that keeps us safe and tight together.  Severed too is the lifeline connection to the uplifting understanding of the adopters and adoptees around me – The People Who Know.

This hole is sticky, and harder to leave.  As much as I need it, I am wary of it and heartless trap that lies within.

Mumdrah has been quiet for too long, stuck in her sea of holes.  It’s good to be back; we have much to tell. 

17 thoughts on “Holes

  1. Oh lady, I too have spent much time in what to me seems a deep and dark pit, I can understand and I’m so sorry you’ve been there. It’s good to hear that you can find strength and greater understanding of yourself from what can be such a dark and lonely place. As for CHT, that she can verbalise some of what she’s feeling and describe it in such a way, is all very positive, as I’m sure you know. I recently heard a description of how our children leak. No matter how often you top them up, all you put in seeps out of the cracks and therefore they can never fell full and contented. It seemed, to me, to truly describe what I often feel, that you never can can never quite give enough. But we have to keep on trying as I’m sure slowly but surely some of the cracks really are being repaired.
    So good to have you back. Wonderfully descriptive and beautifully written as always. And don’t forget to link up with #WASO. xx

    • Oh Sarah – i can’t tell you how touched i am to read this. Both your recognition/empathy, and your receptiveness to my post. I was so scared after such a long time writing!

      Realising these holes are ‘part of the deal’ – and not a failing of our own – is a massive, much needed leap forward.

      I love the connection we all have and the community we create; of course i’ll be linking with #WASO

  2. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insight in your blog. Having spent nine years supporting foster carers and adopters who are committed to caring for children like your daughter who have suffered so much trauma in their young lives I have always tried to explain to parents, carers and professionals my belief that the child has a hole deep inside them that they desperately in so many ways to fill but that just like with a leaky car radiator whatever they try to fill it with seeps out. This belief was confirmed by adult adoptees who were seeking counselling at the time of accessing details of their adoption. However I have never heard it verbalised in such a clear and understandable way by any adult let alone someone of your daughters age. It is evident that you share a very special mother and daughter relationship and that you have enabled CHT to identify and put words to some very complex emotions and feelings.
    I am new to your blog but am sure that they are helpful to other adopters and their children and will suggest my colleagues in adoption support look you up. I know I will be looking forward to future blogs. Thank you so much and best wishes to you and CHT x

    • Its so great to meet you Marion! Wow – you’ve had lots of giving to give!

      CHTs trauma ‘leaks’ constantly, and as much as it is exhausting to help guide her through this – sometimes even to be near her as its happening – its an adventure i am honoured to join her on. She is never short of words, but sometimes picking them apart it tough. Thanks you so much for coming her and sharing your experiences, for your high praise, and for sharing the word of Mumdrah. We hope to see you again! Mumdrah x

    • Why thank you; its good to hear yours too.

      And, yes, some of those holes are really big and hard to climb out of. I’m not going to get stuck in one so long again!! x

  3. Just the simple comment “Mumdrah has been quiet for too long, stuck in her sea of holes. It’s good to be back; we have much to tell. ” broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. There is so much hidden behind those seemingly simple words.

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to tell.

    • Thank you for the love. We are back stronger. These holes and expriences and traumas all push us forward.

      Its good to be back amongst friends; ‘The People Who Know’. We have lots to share. And the sharing helps; helps us. helps others. Thanks for visiting us; always welcome here xx

  4. Interesting read. I can relate to the place of mental exhaustion, at the moment I am trying to claw my way back from this dark hole. I am wanting to be a mother that is filled with love, empathy, playfulness and joy. Instead I get impatient, tired and worn down by the difficulties of parenting adoptive children.

    Thanks for being honest and sharing your thoughts.

    • That paradox between the loving heart and the physical and mental exhaustion is the hardest, toughest dilemma of them all. Finding ways to shake it all off and just come from a place of ‘being’ isn’t easy, however many tricks we have up our sleeve. With three pink diamonds, my hat is off to you. The world needs more you’s; you are doing a great job – an inspiration. Always here for you Mx

  5. Oh you write so beautifully. I can completely identify with your description. I want to write more but I can’t find the right words at the moment. I can only reiterate what Sarah (puffin diaries) and Marion Hunt has said (they are both incredibly insightful women who are talking from personal experience). Thank you for your wonderful post and I look forward to reading more

    • Thank you so much! I wish my parenting warranted such praise. Sometimes i know i get it right, but others…
      Yes, the wonderful Sarah and Marion are so giving – as are you. Finding each other and sharing through our blogs is of such importance. Creating out understanding community, and as a force for change. Thank you honeymummy; sending some love and appreciation back at you Mxx

  6. Pingback: #SiABlo Week 4

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