My story is one of great hope. I believe in a faithful God who answers our hearts’ cry. My husband and I were told we were unable to have children but we didn’t give up on our dream. We called upon the Lord to be faithful and were given two beautiful baby girls.
However when one of our daughters was a teenager she began self-harming. By the time she was 13, and despite our best efforts to make her feel loved and accepted, she found herself in all sorts of emotional difficulties. She became an easy target for bullies and control freaks at school, and gradually the happy young person we knew became depressed and unable to cope. It was a time of great testing of our faith but nevertheless we kept on praying and tried to find a way to help her through her darkness.
My experience was that although there was a lot of support for my daughter, there was very little for me. I didn’t know anything about self-harm and the Child and Mental Health Services refused to discuss my daughter’s psychotherapy with me as it was ‘confidential’ . Frankly I felt lost, and no-one I knew really understood. And then there was the stigma too! After all it’s not the sort of subject you bring up at a coffee morning! Everything was hard work and scary. I felt I was being bled dry of all my strength. Feeling judged, and wondering where I had gone wrong, I endured meetings with social workers, police, Child Protection officers, psychotherapists and G.P.s.
Thankfully I can now say that, through prayer and the wisdom of a lot of people- professional and otherwise, my daughter has learnt how to deal with life’s ups and downs without taking them out on herself. She has battled through many situations and my husband and I are very proud of her. Although we recognise that her problems have not merely melted away, we feel we have all come out of a very long, black tunnel.
Recently I happened to meet, quite by chance, another Mum who was just starting on a journey similar to my own . We had coffee and talked – of hope and recovery and light at the end of the tunnel. I was praying for her and her daughter when the idea of MASH came to me. It occurred to me that Mums should be talking about this stuff and helping one another get through. Most mums feel somehow to blame for their children’s self-harm, which isn’t actually true.
I have started MASH as a help to other parents who feel lost and unable to cope, or who simply would like to offer their own support to struggling Mums everywhere.
Obviously, I can only speak through my own personal experience. By creating MASH I am not claiming to be an expert – but can direct you to some of those too! I merely offer myself as a portal for information and encouragement. My hope is that Mums will be strengthened, and the stigma of self-harm will be broken, as we have freedom to share our thoughts and testimonies on this site.
Feel free to join us at MASH if like me, you want to make a difference.