Shame Is A Shadow That Follows

Babysitting While The “Gals” Partied-

As a child, I recall being made to babysit three young children of my mom’s friend so the women could go out to the bar. They often did not return home until well after 2:00 A.M. I was never instructed how to properly care for the kids. I knew nothing of getting children to take naps, baths, nor did I know how to prepare food. I do not remember even being given a list of phones numbers in the event of an emergency.

Becoming A Babysitter- Without A Choice, Without Training-

I was 12 years old, interested in only riding my bike. The baby cried incessantly during the hours my mother and her friend left us to fend for ourselves.It is my belief that the child had a special need- he cried so much even under his mother’s care (we heard the mother and baby while shopping at Woolworth’s. Our family was in the next aisle and observed this fact). I was a kid who was very responsible, but I had no training. I was ill-equipped in so many ways, to handle the task of childcare.

Resentful But Compliant-

I never complained about being made to babysit against my wishes. My stomach sank into a pit with anxiety each time I was informed I had to watch the kids. They said my sister would help. She was a year younger than me but had to intention of helping me. She merely took refuge on the couch, unscathed by the responsibility put upon me. I would be the one yelled at if anything went wrong. Nothing went wrong for a long time.

Screaming Out-

Then, at age 14, mom’s friend dropped by our house and I was given the task of taking the youngest upstairs to change his diaper. I do not remember ever changing a diaper! The crying child contorted and wailed, as I tried to teach myself how to soothe and change a baby.  I couldn’t take it anymore, and I never voiced any concerns (mostly out of fear). I yelled, “I can’t do this!” just as the mother traipsed by to use the bathroom. She whisked her child and husband away, complained about me to my mom and stepfather, and was never seen again in our house.

Powerless Child

I was afraid to speak up and so I allowed my boundaries to be violated. In the process, I acted in an inappropriate and passive-aggressive manner. Satan whispered to me when I was depressed and weak- “You are not a REAL woman or any kind of mother.” 

New Mom Insecurities, Postpartum Depression, Dysfunction-

When I was in the early 30’s, my husband somehow knew about my insecurities as a mother, or just observed my lack of confidence. Often, when he came home under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he repeated the same incantations I have heard Satan whispering to me- “You are not a REAL woman, you are not any kind of mother!” I knew this was a lie. Condemnation does not come from God.

Romans 8:1 New Living Translation

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Shadows Of My Past-

To this day, I must reckon with my adolescent outburst. It haunts me and has caused me doubt and grief over the years. I have felt insecure and depressed when I was just becoming a mother. The exhaustion and lack of concern (by my husband) for my well-being or that of my children confounded my mind. I wanted to give up on myself, but my isolation and despair led me to seek God. In 2010, I dedicated myself and children to Him. We were one of a few “family” baptisms that our pastor had witnessed.

Would My Voice Have Mattered Anyway?

I wonder if I would have spoken up and told my mom and her friend I did not wish to babysit so much, so late, if they would have listened. Everything about alcoholism is governed by “feelings” and “hunches”, not planning, certainly not preparing or asking and considering the thoughts of others. My family lived across from the bar and they were friends with many of the patrons. My mom and her friend put an untrained adolescent in charge of three young children, one of which had special needs. Nobody was concerned about the crying baby, or his older sister and brother. And nobody was concerned with the chubby adolescent girl who wanted acceptance from her mother.

He Drank, I Withdrew-

As a wife and new mother, my husband withdrew from our children and me and drank several days a week. As an adult, I gained confidence in taking care of my kids. I was not able to take care or be co-dependent to my husband and his destructive behaviors- that was beyond my limits as a wife, so I was no longer a wife.

Bitteress, Shame-

It has taken me many years to overcome my bitterness about being “unmarried”. I was jealous of those women and of their children. I thought God was punishing me, or that we were not good enough. It was “shame” and it did not come from God.

Shame for crying out loud when I was young and immature.

Shame from myself, my battles with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.

Shame from not feeling as beautiful and desireable as other women, for my imperfect figure.

Shame from the legacy of drugs and alcohol.

Shame is a shadow that follows. By our own sins, and the sins of others, we have opened a door for Satan. He has gained a stronghold on that aspect of our lives. Freedom comes when we hand it over to the Lord.

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