Most people who meet Little Man or who look at pictures of him comment on how happy he is and then usually comment on his eyes or his smile. All of which I love and agree with! He is a happy kid, most of the time.
As I have traveled the road of being a mom of a child from trauma I have found that I encounter people who respond usually in one of three ways to the journey we are on: 1) Acceptance and/or even knowledge of the road we travel and what it, at least, generally looks like. 2) A want to know what or how something like this can remain in a child who was so young's mind. And a belief that the road Little Man is walking is real and hard 3) Complete disbelief that a child who came to me at a year old can have memories and trauma "when he was just a baby."
From the beginning none of these responses have shocked me. The people in group one have become my safety, those that I call on in the dark moments; they cheer me on, lift me up and try to help me understand what is going on and how to help. The people in group two have become my cheerleaders and support system as well. They listen, ask and are willing to accept and help when, where and how they can. Some in group 3 move quickly into group 2 or even 1 and some in group 3 move quickly out of my life. I have lost friends over this journey which makes me sad. Please know that I am by NO means an expert at what is happening in my child's brain that causes these triggers and response. I am learning every day with him and how to help him. But I know that look of fear in his eyes, the sound of his breathing, the stiffness of his body and the beat of his heart when he no longer feels the safety of his present and is in the grasp of his past.
The other day a friend of mine from that first group of people, who happens to be walking the road and has intimate knowledge of what it is like sent me this link: Trauma Doesn't Tell Time
This article does a great job of explaining what is happening and why.
This paragraph at the beginning of the article explains a bunch of the questions people ask me in ways I have never been able to explain it.
Traumatic experiences, even the earliest and preverbal traumatic experiences, remain stored in our children’s brains. The normal information processing system that stores memories in the appropriate places in our brain is thwarted by the cascade of hormones and neurochemicals that are released during a traumatic or frightening experience. The memory- along with the images, feelings, and body sensations, remain literally frozen in their nervous system.
Please go read the article: I learned a lot about what Little Man is going through and even some things to help him. If you are in our lives and want to know more this is a great place to start and then talk to me, ask me questions let me share a little about it with you. For those of you who already talk, ask and listen, this article just puts it in words that I have never been able to.
Thank you to all the groups of people I encounter, yes even the group 3's because they challenge me to make sure I understand and can explain it. For those who are my support system: I am not sure I say it often enough you guys are my rock when I am not sure how to stand. Thank you so much for all of the love, kind words, time, hugs and so much else you give to us!