1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?
My abuse started when I was four years old so my perception of love and reality was distorted along with the physiology of my brain which was heavily impacted due to the abuse. In the months leading up to the birth of my child, I was indeed very excited for the next chapter, but was also terrified because of the firm belief that I might not have the capacity to unconditionally love my baby as I had not experienced a similar love in my childhood.
2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.
Upon returning from therapy one evening, my child asked where I went. “Mama went to therapy. She needs help healing.” His response, “Well, to me you are perfect.”
3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What Strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?
I initially had the fear that people were going to judge me as a parent, but I pretty much told ‘Fear’ to get lost.
4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?
It has introduced me to another division of this post trauma club. I knew I wasn’t the only one that had difficulty parenting as a survivor, and it’s wonderful to establish friendships and be able to talk about certain issues that I usually reserve for others that “get it”.
5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
My child has taught me that four year old Jodie couldn’t have done anything to prevent being sexually abused, and that her memory needs to honoured for her bravery. Continuing to live my life helping other fellow survivors is one the greatest gifts I can give my child and the greatest insult I can give to my grandfather.
6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?
I love sharing my stories of survival to those that need the inspiration.
Just like every cliché
Loving you was instant and true
But I quickly realized I had to practice
Self love in order to properly love you
Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors
Experiences of Parenting
Jodie Ortega is a Hip Hop dancer turned advocate, spoken word artist, and TEDx Speaker (Take that, PTSD!). She has been able to flip the narrative of victim hood into a unique brand of storytelling, combining the arts with the celebration of surviving, thriving, and everything in between. Her work has been recognized by Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and her TEDx talk has caught the attention of UN Women, Greater Los Angeles Chapter. To date, Jodie has publicly broken her silence in Vancouver, Toronto and San Francisco. Jodie is excitedly preparing for the Love Your Body Summit in Port Moody, Canada on February 6, 2016. She will be sharing her story and facilitating a slam poetry workshop at a day that is dedicated to empowering girls and women to love their bodies.