Introducing Trigger Points contributor Danielle Riebel, author of Pushing Through.
1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?
Everything about becoming a parent was a surprise. There’s only so much preparation you can do beforehand. No one can adequately describe the immediate physical link between you and your newborn, the deep exhaustion mingled with exhilaration at meeting the child you grew within your body. The most pleasantly surprising part has been the silent radar I have for her. She could be in a room down the hallway with a fan blowing and music playing, and I’d still hear if she whimpered.
2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.
It’s easy to take pride in every little thing about your child. Pooped in the potty! WIN. Ate broccoli! WIN. Mostly I love when my daughter shows love and tenderness towards her family, her friends, and people in need. After a tough day of parenting a few days ago- in which we argued over eating dinner- my daughter suggested that we should bring our food to the people around the world who don’t have any. It was one of those deep breath moments, where you realize that you might have lost the battle but you’re winning the war.
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 find it cathartic to write about my experiences, so this project was right up my alley. It’s much more difficult for me to speak face-to-face about the tough stuff.
4. Do you believe participating in the project has changed you in any way? If so, how?
Participating in the project affirmed my belief that I need to use my pain for good. I will never understand why I had to have such a painful childhood, and nothing will ever make it okay. But if I can help even one person by writing, talking, and sharing my story, I can accept it.
5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
To love deeply, forgive easily, and to have fun.
6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?
I’m passionate about child birth! I am studying to become a doula, and I was fortunate enough to support one of my close friends at her birth early this year. It is profoundly humbling to witness the birth of a child, and I’d love to do it every day!
Now that [my daughter] is three and a half, it’s the pillow fights, the wrestling. She’ll climb on top of me, or invade my space and I feel a burst of panic, followed by a wave of anger. I’ve pushed her away from me and shouted countless times, to my immediate shame. It’s a guttural reaction and one that I have great difficulty controlling. I say “please don’t touch me” so many times a day I couldn’t keep count if I tried.
Trigger Points: Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting
Danielle Riebel is a feminist wife and mother, aspiring doula and sometimes writer. She loves Harry Potter and coffee, and believes that people who love to eat are the best kind.