Nov. 8, 2022

Healing After Family Abuse

Healing After Family Abuse

Emi is a survivor of family sexual abuse; she was molested by a family member over a long period of time as a young kid. After spending over a decade hiding from her past she decided to try to heal from it. Her healing journey led her to starting her own podcast: Motherful: Powerful Moms, Powerful Topics. Her co-host is her best friend Kayla, together they tackle the many difficult social and mental health issues that have affected their lives and made them who they are. In this episode Emi shares her story of surviving family childhood sexual abuse, she talks about how disclosing changed her family forever, discusses the pain of discovering her abuser was being protected by a family member, shares her journey becoming a parent, explains how how podcast came into being, and shares what her healing journey has looked like.

Emi is a mom, a podcaster, writer, wedding planner, a cat lover, and a survivor of sexual abuse.

Motherful: Powerful Moms, Powerful Topics
https://open.spotify.com/show/4QprfSM0CI6gUxizyVdBnK?si=06eaed550e1441c4

Motherful Episodes with Emi's Story:

Emi's Story: Childhood Sexual Assault
https://open.spotify.com/episode/5TR05HDyRD3p8dVpdDDsDa


Birth Stories: Planned & Unexpected Part 2
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4aiFZ05BwirzGhpbi60Uky

Mystery Topic: Abortion
https://open.spotify.com/episode/6z9cmiWBBDcJpuDmZLfBmX

Healing Family Trauma
https://open.spotify.com/episode/3SzSI4JKW6YV2dSEGHMZdz

Motherful Social Links:
https://www.facebook.com/MotherfulPodcast

https://www.instagram.com/motherful_podcast/?hl=en

Courage to Heal
https://www.ellenbass.com/books/the-courage-to-heal/

Letters for the Fire
https://www.finding-ok.com/blog/letters-for-the-fire-season-4/

Donate to Finding OK
https://www.finding-ok.com/support/

Become a Patreon Member to support the podcast and gain access to exclusive bonus content
https://www.patreon.com/HecateFindingOK


Support the show
Transcript

my mom barely Associates with her anymore
and my grandma asked her why don't you ever

come see me anymore on my side of the house
and my mom's response was why did you stay

married to a pedophile [Music]

[Music] hi there thank you so much for joining
me I'm Hecate and this is finding okay a healing

podcast for survivors of sexual assault and
any and all abuse today I'm joined by Emmy

Emmy is a mom a podcaster writer wedding planner
cat lover and a survivor of family sexual

abuse her healing Journey led her to starting
her own podcast motherful powerful moms powerful

topics her co-host is her best friend and
together they tackle the many difficult social

and mental health issues that have affected
their lives and made them who they are and

now it's time for trigger and content warnings
for this episode include the following sexual

assault rape trauma child abuse pedophilia
incest PTSD Eating Disorders pregnancy and

abortion Emmy wrote a letter for season three's
letters for the fire project she wrote a letter

to her abusive grandfather and I'm going to
begin today's episode by sharing that letter

again now please check in with yourself and
make sure you're all right to continue Pap

for all of my life I've had two fears the
first being that the family would find out

what you did to me and it would tear the family
apart which it did the second was ever confronting

you about what you did my brain has protected
me from remembering most of what you did to

me but I remember parts this is problematic
because not only did I erase the bad memories

it also erased all of the good ones too it
has left me with a lot of unanswered questions

I've Dreamed a lot about you dying envisioned
it over and over in my head I thought if you

were dead then I could finally sigh a breath
of freedom and start to heal from what you

did but the farther that I get along in my
healing Journey the more that I realize that

you don't deserve to die without knowing how
I feel and all the pain that you caused me

I felt a lot of different emotions about what
you did I felt angry and confused thinking

why me but the more I heal the more that I
realized that these questions don't matter

what matters is healing myself and using my
experiences to help other people who have

gone through the same things that I have I
don't hate you I don't Harbor those types

of feelings in my body I do hate what you
did to me I think you're a monster I don't

want your apologies or explanations because
they don't [ __ ] matter what [ __ ] matters

is that you put [ __ ] hands on me and who
knows how many other kids I've spent 20 years

dealing with the repercussions of your actions
20 [ __ ] years I hope you go straight to

hell when you die if that exists and remember
that when you do die I will still be here

trying to heal from what you did to me it
took me a lot of courage to write this to

you and I am hereby releasing myself from
you you are not my family you are not my grandfather

you are just the man who molested me I'm done

Emily

all right and uh yeah so thank you thank you
so much for for being here and I'd like to

start with are you okay loaded question I'm
sure you get that answer a lot I would say

on a personal level I'm doing pretty great
there's a lot of positives going on in my

life right now from my career to my social
life and I'm having a really great time right

now with where I'm living I just moved to
Pittsburgh so I'm having a great time exploring

the city and making new friends and all of
that but it's a double-edged sword as much

as I'm okay and thriving in my personal life
I know on the grand scheme of things whenever

I start to think about the world issues I'm
like no I'm not okay like what's not like

it's two very different sides of the coin
but if I let myself live in the realm of being

overly concerned with big world issues all
the time I'm not going to be okay well said

and I very much relate like yeah like I'll
have days where I just fall into like a World

At Large like black hole and like yesterday
was one of those days and it was just very

much like I am not okay and you have to keep
shifting Focus back to like your immediate

situation otherwise like yeah it's it's a
nightmare everything's on fire it's very upsetting

I feel you yeah and I mean sometimes it's
it's easy to say that everything is fine and

like turn your your back to what is going
on in the real world but I know that I can

say that and I have discussions with co-workers
I know that I can say that coming from a place

of privilege because I'm not faced with those
issues every day like some people are yeah

so it is yeah that's no it's it's very operating
place to be in to be yeah I'm doing great

but the world is not yeah and uh yeah and
certainly like if you're if you're not a person

that's happy to to just ignore it indefinitely
um you do kind of have to find this like this

kind of it's a it's a balancing act of like
engage step back engage step back like you

know like self-care versus engagement um because
you can't you can't just keep engaging and

keep pouring yourself and and your energy
into it otherwise you will like lose your

minds yeah I sort of feel bad for people that
are like major empaths that don't have the

ability to step back and are constantly living
in that world issue bubble that in the large

grand scheme of things they're not going to
be able to change by themselves but they have

to live with that every single day almost
all the time yeah well I was I was just thinking

of it yesterday um and it was uh The Secret
Life of Bees did you ever read or see that

one no there's this there's this character
that um that is like one of those people that

um that can't shake things off that everything
uh impacts her very strongly and she anytime

she hears something just in passing something
sad happened or a newspaper article or something

like that she completely falls apart and the
the way that the family has taught her to

deal with it is she has like a section of
a stone wall in back and she will write out

the sad thing that happened and she'll roll
it up into a little piece of paper and she'll

stick it in the stone wall and so she has
this stone wall just filled with human tragedy

uh as she attempts to cope with it and and
that's her way of like setting it down putting

it somewhere and then trying to step back
um but I was thinking very strongly about

that character the other day I wonder if that
actually works for her because I feel like

if you're in that mindset it would be a coping
mechanism but it's still going to be in the

back of your brain like you can't just set
it on fire and forget about it even if you

wrote it down I I don't want to spoil the
book or the movie for anybody but ultimately

it's not enough for that character yeah I
can relate though because if I have festering

thoughts and I learned this a little bit in
therapy when I used to go is that if I have

festering thoughts I keep rethinking the same
thing over and over again that if I write

it down what I'm thinking it will release
that a little bit that I'm not constantly

thinking over in a loop so for me that does
sort of work at some points I've I've found

that a lot um I actually I want to talk about
this more I'm going to write myself a note

um handy dandy notebook yeah

I'm such a professional

uh I wrote my little notes that I have on
a little cat notebook here oh my gosh I love

it I've got um I actually like I have uh like
a little my my notes for the interview propped

up on my keyboard but this is my little notepad
that I got like that came with uh like a set

of shirts that uh that a wonderful trans artist
made um Theo Masters and I I bought uh the

shirts that he designs and then they came
with stationery so I've been like using this

and I'm just really excited about combo but
I'm not gonna be mad about it it's cute it's

it's like it was it was a whole like a butterfly
um theme but anyway um so I I want to come

back to that um because I was about to really
relate it into something that like is is I'd

like to talk about later but anyway um but
[Music] um what is a compliment that you've

received that you've never forgotten so this
one has a little bit of a story to go along

with it to give you the compliment I was working
when I lived in North Carolina with a woman

that was probably about 10 years older than
I was and she had fallen on a little bit of

a hard time where she told me her story that
she had gotten into a DUI and she had lost

her license and wasn't able to drive and she
had asked me for rides to work because we

didn't live terribly far away from each other
and I was like yeah sure that's no problem

and she was telling me her story and what
was going on and I just you know accepted

at a face value I'm not a judgmental person
and that was the compliment and she said you're

one of the least judgmental people that I
have ever met given my story to and that kind

of goes along with My Philosophy my partner
and I I don't it's a phrase he came up with

I guess it's called not my circus not my monkeys
so other people's lives don't directly affect

me and as long as other people aren't you
know murdering people and being awful human

beings what you choose to do with your life
choices is your choice and at the end of the

day my choices are my choices so who am I
to judge you for anything that you have done

yeah no I love that and um yeah not not being
judgmental is such a it's an important quality

and it's such a valuable one and one that's
desperately needed and sorely lacking um I

think a lot of people can probably relate
to your upbringing your thought a lot of times

things that are judgmental thinking so sometimes
when I see something that my parents would

view as oh that's wrong or that's bad those
thoughts do pop into my head but I have to

challenge them and say but why that doesn't
affect me and just because their lifestyle

and their choices are different than mine
doesn't mean they're wrong they're just different

well and I the DUI um especially because like
that's that's like a behavior that isn't desirable

like and and is dangerous and and uh and often
the way that we're that we're taught that

is um is uh like it's it's very it's very
messy we're we're told like don't do this

never do this uh and then there's this additional
thing of and all the people that do do this

are thoughtless and bad and terrible people
and like and there's this condom condemnation

that comes with it um and then the more I
went through life the more I actually met

people that I respected and cared about who
had had this happen who had accent like who

had whether it was through like substance
abuse problems or or just like just weird

things that occurred like they ended up having
an issue with DUIs and that harsh judgment

that I had you know kind of like had you know
slowly dissolved to like there's a story behind

literally every Human Action yep and uh and
those stories matter like it's within those

stories that are Humanity actually lives and
we have to give value to that rather than

just taking the easy way out and just writing
these these it's simpler it's simpler to judge

but um there are a lot of people in my life
that have had situations where they've been

arrested or have gone to jail or prison and
they're still phenomenal people they're great

people they just had circumstances happen
that people view as undesirable and those

people are bad because they had the consequences
happen but they're amazing like I love them

yeah no there there are so many incredible
people in jail straight up straight up yeah

oh um what is your favorite color or color
combination and what do you associate with

it so my favorite color across the board is
purple and my one for this question is more

of a like a deep midnight purple and I associate
it with kind of a mysterious aspect

in the terms of when I became a mom I lost
a lot of what I considered my freedoms that

I could choose to do what I wanted and purple
I associate with the things that I get to

do outside of being a mom and outside of being
a wife that are kind of just for me and I

don't have to share that with people I love
that I'm gonna switch the light behind me

to purple purple if I had to summon you in
a ritual what five things would I need to

place as offerings at each point of the pentacle
on the floor so it was really hard not to

make all five things food related because
I'm such a foodie and I'm like I love this

and I love this and I love this but I did
narrow it down to just two food items the

first being potatoes love potatoes you place
a potato in any shape french fries mashed

potatoes twice baked potatoes I will be there
for the potatoes the second food item is cheesecake

could be with pretty much any toppings sweet
Savory salty caramel like any cheesecake plain

I'll be there for cheesecake the next would
be tiny notebooks that I can carry with me

in a purse or a backpack that I can just write
whenever I need to and not have to worry about

lugging a huge thing around with me

the next would be cats preferably my cat who
is a 17 year old tuxedo but any cat will do

really any cats just bring them all and then
the last one is a warm snuggly blanket I love

it I love it three Essentials to your self-care
the first one is going to be my most basic

answer which is bubble baths I'm a sucker
for a bubble bath the next is going on walks

alone in the woods I love being able to be
in nature and what I will do is I'll put one

headphone in with like soothing piano esque
type music and the other I leave open to one

listen for predators and people who might
kill me two to listen to the sounds of nature

and a lot of the times what I'll do I my favorite
walk that I've gone on is it was a particularly

very cold and windy day I was bundled up in
like eight layers but I was still going on

that walk and I left it because I didn't tell
anyone where I was going my child was with

her grandparents and my husband was at work
and I just got in the car and I drove to a

patch of woods and it was windy so I was letting
the woods kind of guide me to Which way and

direction I was going and if I was like should
I keep going I keep going with the direction

of the wind and if the wind pushed back against
me I was like okay it's time to turn around

and my other thing that I love about these
walks is that I'll find a trinket like a rock

or an echo Acorn cap anything that I kind
of speaks to me and I'll pick that up and

take it with me for the remainder of my walk
and when I get home I put it on my altar I'm

a pagan so I have an altar I put it on my
Altar and the next time that I go out I take

that trinket with me and I return it to Nature
and I find a new item oh nice I love that

practice that's awesome yeah and then my last
thing for my self-care essential is binging

any sort of sitcom TV show like friends the
office not a sitcom but I'm re-watching Charmed

right now so I'm a I work full time I have
my own business I'm a mom I'm a wife so I

don't get a lot of those as it is if I get
an hour a week of just my own TV time like

that is great to me nice I've never I've never
made it I never had the opportunity to like

actually watch Charmed but I know it's a classic
and I like it it was just never on when I

was younger but um I'm right there with you
I'm like binge-watching television as a big

part of my self-care too which comes back
to my snuggly blanket comment for one of the

things that can summon me I just love laying
on the couch being snuggled in one day last

week I had a just an Emmy day just for me
and I spent about I would say six or seven

hours just on my couch and three of those
I've napped for like I fell asleep in the

middle of it but it was a great time and I
just loved being able to watch whatever I

wanted to and I let my shows compile that
I was currently trying to watch and I just

watched them all straight through that's awesome

yeah and baths big relatable to me too I um
like bath time is a big self-care for me and

uh like I'll have like a marathon bath day
where I'll either have like my phone or something

that I'm reading and like I will be in there
for an amount of time that my partner finds

like frankly almost concerning because I'll
just sit in there and I'll just keep like

emptying out half the tub and refilling it
with hot water and just like just prune it

up in there and just like become water loved
and do not care it's just it's so important

and so soothing and it is a challenge but
you're just right like half the time I make

it too hot and so I'm half out of the bathtub
letting my air like like the air to cool down

and then like sometimes I'll be watching a
movie like a full two-hour movie in the bath

and sometimes I like to do meditations when
I'm in the bath and light my candles off of

my altar I have a mobile altar so I just carry
it with me wherever I need to go and oh groovy

yeah I've I've never had a mobile altar I've
never even considered that as an option that's

very cool would you like to see it I would
love to if you're willing to share it do sideways

because I didn't put anything but pajamas
from the waist down

beautiful

so oh that's gorgeous yes I have my candles
for fire water Earth Wind and I have my crystals

on here that I charge on the full moon and
then my three main candles in the middle are

for the Sun the moon and the spirit awesome
what crystals do you have there um the only

ones that so this is my current mystery item
from my last walk in the woods and then I

have a couple amethysts on here and a couple
rose quartz and a couple clear chords I have

a lot more just on the permanent altar but
these ones I keep on my mobile altar nice

yeah I love it thank you so much for sharing
that of course I know that alters are very

personal so I'm honored thank you dude

so if you if you're ready uh and if you're
comfortable I would love to talk about uh

your your story what happens yeah so it's
gonna be an interesting there is really no

clear start point of when my abuse happened
just because I I believe that I was around

four or five probably but I have no memory
of when it started and I barely have a memory

of it happening or an ending that is a part
of what happened is I have a very bad trauma

brain from it that I don't remember a lot
of the details I talk about it a lot on my

podcast uh that I don't remember the abuse
actually happening a lot of it so sometimes

it makes me feel a little crazy like did this
actually happen but the flicks of memories

that I do have I'm like yep that happened
and I just My Brightest [ __ ] up and I

can't remember the rest of it so my abuser
was my grandfather who lived in the house

with us my parents had a house that they had
bought when they got married and my grandpa

actually got sick with cancer and so they
added on to their house to build kind of like

this Mega house there was two houses smushed
together it had seven bedrooms two kitchens

like four bathrooms like it was two houses
that were just connected and so unfortunately

it was very easy for him to have access to
me for what he decided to do and I don't know

really how long it had happened for the way
that it happened for so long was because he

was manipulative in the aspect of I remember
him specifically saying this that this is

how grandfathers love their granddaughters
and so the things that he was doing I thought

was just what every grandfather did and he
made it to be our secret that I had an older

sister who was only a couple years older than
me that I had told no one at all and the really

only strong memory that I have of it happening
was the very last time or what I perceived

to be the last time because there are things
that I found out that I don't know correlate

to was this the actual last time or is it
just what I think is the last time but the

last time that it happened I knew something
was wrong like I knew that this wasn't right

and this is not something that should be happening
and I don't know like how much detail I'm

allowed to to give what whatever you feel
comfortable sharing is is welcome and has

the potential to help people so you are not
being censored in any way okay so the the

after it was over he made the statement to
me oh let me go check for hair meaning hair

in my pubic region and I had said no like
that was after that time that felt weird that

it didn't felt right I had said no and it
was checking for for his hair that he might

have left or if you have okay yes and in that
that last time that I remember it was sort

of like an out of Body Experience so I was
kind of like overseeing what happened it wasn't

like I was actually in my body there but I
said no and that is what I perceived to be

the last time that it happened I don't remember
I never coming up again and if it correlates

to the time that I found out things happen
later I would have been around eight so if

it had started happening when I was potentially
four or five to know that it went on for so

long and no one had any idea because on the
outside it looked like he was just a loving

grandfather he took me and my sister and my
cousin who we were all really close he took

us to the movies and he took us to get ice
cream they took us to get lunch and this was

just on the outside he's a great grandfather
he's spending all this time with his grandchildren

and so that was really hard growing up and
figuring out puzzle pieces of what happened

just to know that it it was so long and no
one had any idea and no one well I found out

that people had ideas but no one did anything
to stop it or to question it so that was the

abuse part of it and then I didn't start telling
people and I didn't start talking about that

if it started it stopped happening at eight
I didn't start opening up about it to even

my closest friends until I was probably about
15 or 16. it was kind of in my brain is that

I don't remember even thinking about it it
was just so far in my the back of my head

that the first time that I can remember it
re-coming back up was when I was reading a

book that it had happened to what the main
character in the book that she was abused

by someone and I was like oh wait that happened
to me and from the time I was 16 to probably

20 I could count on one hand the amount of
people that I had told just closest friends

and people that I trusted that even the thought
like I had a boyfriend that I was very serious

about in high school that I told and he was
like oh I'm gonna confront your path and I'm

gonna because he's he still lives in my house
that I grew up in with my grandma with my

parents and he was like I'm going to confront
him and I was like oh no you could not do

that I was terrified of anyone in my family
finding out and anyone knowing what had actually

happened because I wasn't ready to face those
truths yet what were you afraid of um at that

time uh as as far as like why didn't you want
to tell anyone what was what were what what

was a hindrance for you at that time outside
I wasn't afraid that there would be any retaliation

from him like he never made he wasn't threatening
he wasn't like oh I'll kill your family or

anything like this or I'll kill you or anything
like that he was always he was always kind

unfortunately which is kind of [ __ ] up
because he was a good grandpa in quotations

but I had a pretty what I thought was a good
childhood and a good family up until that

point and I thought and unfortunately it did
come true that when my family found out I

was afraid that it was going to ruin my family
and I wasn't going to have anything ever be

the same again and I didn't want to be the
one carrying that burden I did not even though

it was him he was the one that abused me I
didn't be the one to be the one that ruined

our family and it did unfortunately hmm so
when I got to college I started doing a little

bit of healing work but I still wasn't wasn't
there to nearly where I am now and my very

first time I was doing a I was a creative
writing minor and I was doing a lot of writing

about it and a lot of it was just surface
level writing because I realized that now

but a lot of writing about it and my very
first I love slam poetry it's I love it just

people be so passionate about their what they're
talking about one of our assignments we got

extra credit for was going to an open mic
night at a coffee house I decided to perform

at this open mic night one of my slam poems
that I had wrote about my Pap and this was

the first time that I had publicly told anyone
like people that I didn't even know at all

and know their names they were random strangers
from my college and from the community and

I shared the poem and immediately after I
was done I was shaking and I ran out of there

crying because that was my first experience
with telling a large group of people and from

there it kind of after college I did a lot
of work I did a lot of writing I shoved that

back into a box and I I left where I had grown
up I decided to make the decision to move

to North Carolina with my now husband and
I realized that all this time I was running

from having to deal with what had happened
in healing I was running from the healing

process I didn't want to deal with it okay
so we had our daughter down in North Carolina

and when she was about two I decided that
it was time for us to move back to where we

grew up Pennsylvania so that she could get
to know her grandparents and her family a

little more because up until this point she
was only getting to see them like three to

four times a year because we were 10 hours
away from our family and that was just hard

hard commute like you can't do that all that
often and I kind of fell into a little bit

of a Nostalgia trap where I was like oh my
families were gonna get to hang out with them

and it's my old friends from college and my
old friends from high school and we're gonna

have a great old time and unfortunately when
I moved back and we made that decision it

was not at all what I had remembered or what
I had expected it because I had grown and

I had changed and I realized a lot of what
happened to me as a as a kid growing up was

toxic and I had a toxic family and we stayed
with my parents for a couple months in the

house that I was abused in just for financial
reasons and so we could get our own place

and I started to have triggering like not
flashbacks but like I would be kissing my

husband and I would open my eyes and it would
be my path and so little things like that

and I started to started to ask a couple more
questions and what I did forget to mention

is when I was in college I did choose to tell
one of my family members my one of my cousins

that I was really close to growing up he was
always around us and his grandfather our grandfathers

we shared a grandfather and I have a whole
podcast episode that I talked to him about

what happened aftermath of all that because
for him that was his hero our Pap was in the

Vietnam War he was a war hero and he wanted
to be like him and when I shattered that and

I told him what happened I guess I skipped
a couple parts here but when I told him what

happened that's when the ball really started
getting rolling for the rest of my family

finding out because he told his dad who then
told my mom and right before my daughter was

born I did choose to tell my parents just
because my daughter was going to be spending

time at their house and I did not I specifically
went to the conversation saying I do not want

what happened to me to happen to my daughter
he's still in that house and I didn't want

that to ever be a possibility or a risk yeah
and when I told my parents when we were in

North Carolina my mom started crying because
she already knew and I wasn't the one that

got to tell her that but she already knew
when she was waiting for me to be comfortable

bringing it up so I do appreciate that but
at the same time it was a little bit hard

for me to not be the one to have told them
because I didn't want to tell them I didn't

want to be I didn't want to ever tell them
and unfortunately when I had my daughter I

had to yeah and so then when we came back
up to Pennsylvania and we're staying in their

house I started asking questions because at
that point everyone in my family knew and

I wasn't afraid to talk about that anymore
because they already knew so what's the worst

that could happen

but I talked to my grandma who is or was one
of my favorite people and I had so she was

I said like she helped raise me she grew up
with me she drove me to school she did all

like she was a very involved grandma and I
found out that she knew she knew that her

husband from very early in their marriage
was a pedophile she before or her kids were

born before I was born she knew and when he
was in the the military he was institutionalized

for having inappropriate relations with children
in the military and he was released from the

hospital and the doctors told my grandma he's
cured he's all better he was not all better

yeah he abused other family members before
me that I've never talked to because I'm not

that close to the other family members but
there were a handful more than one person

that this has happened to in my family and
nothing was done no one and these other family

members were 10 15 years older than me and
I don't blame them for not feeling comfortable

I guess but there was more than one and they
weren't ready that's fine but there was more

than one and they knew that I was in this
house with this man and no one no one did

anything to protect me or my sister my sister
who she claims that nothing happened to her

and my cousin never happened anything to him
and I don't know why like my sister was older

than me why was I the one but that's that's
anyways that's a here another thing but she

knew and she even said one time that she had
walked in on him doing inappropriate things

to me and this is your grandmother walked
in yes and she said that she had kicked him

out for 10 months she had kicked him out of
the house and they weren't together but then

they had friends coming to visit from Scotland
that she did not want to be [Music] embarrassed

that she was getting a divorce or that she
was separated from her husband she didn't

want that embarrassment so she let him back
into the house

and that was I figured out from timeline because
I remember those people coming to visit and

I remembered we had photos and I specifically
did a little bit of sleuthing through the

old family photo albums of the year that they
came to visit I was eight and that's how I

figured out that that is probably when it
stopped happening that's so deeply upsetting

to hear that she helds like keeping up appearances
and personal embarrassment above your safety

yeah and so finding that out when I was 20
24 ish 24 25 something whatever age it was

when I found that out that shattered me because
knowing that this person that was I was so

close to knew that she was married to a literal
monster and she let him be alone with me and

she let him she let him abuse me and and the
other family members yeah and she's still

married to him to this day and unfortunately
like there is a little bit of good and bad

to them sobbing together a little bit because
unfortunately she is in her 70s now and there

she's has dementia and dementia runs really
strong in my family and so he takes care of

her and he drives her places in this and that
in a sense that I don't know that she would

have other family members do the same thing
because of her choice to stay with him like

my mom they live in the same house but they
are on office of different sides and my mom

barely Associates with her anymore and my
grandma asked her why don't you ever come

see me anymore on my side of the house and
my mom's response was why did you stay married

to a pedophile

and so it's it it's it'll it's never the same
and I know there are things on my podcast

that I can't even share like those details
that she knew because as much as it hurts

me that what she the actions that she did
that she let me be abused I don't want her

to have any more retaliation from my mom because
I know she is in rough condition and I know

she probably only has a good couple years
left where she is in her full facilities that

she's going to remember us and I don't I don't
want to make her life any harder yeah so uh

so yeah then I would do all the healing things
and all this and that um I was in the healing

process and my best friend from college I'm
very close to her and she's my co-host from

our podcast motherful podcast and I she works
for CYS which is Children and Youth here in

Pennsylvania and so she's dealing with these
cases every day every week and it's it's kind

of my sister is also in the same they work
together my sister and my best friend work

together in the same office and they both
work for Children and Youth and I said like

I don't I could never do it like coming from
that personal place I was like I don't know

how you can do this every day talk to these
people that this has happened to and stay

sane because I would literally go crazy yeah
and she she struggles with an eating disorder

so we both come of place from places of trauma
from a very young age and I was talking to

her saying the abuse happened there's nothing
that I can do to change that and what do I

do how do I how do I make this a helpful positive
thing and that's when she actually came up

with the idea of us starting a podcast and
for the podcast I started reading a book called

the courage to heal a guide for women survivors
of child sexual abuse and honestly I had bought

the book with the intention of doing sort
of research just for the podcast and then

I got 14 pages in and I started bawling because
I realized I'm not okay I'm not better I have

so much I still have so much work left to
do in this journey and I was still in a sense

putting my trauma into that box and not dealing
with it and so when we decided we were going

to start a podcast this is going to bring
us full circle here when I we started a podcast

I was looking for other similar podcasts that
were talking to survivors of abuse which is

when I came across your podcast and unfortunately
like I didn't find many options out there

like this was one of the only options either
survivors and I was so shocked so surprised

yeah and this was an early part discussion
that Kayla and I had where we said there's

not going to be one listener who doesn't have
a traumatic experience that they can't relate

to us not one person and all of the podcasts
that I was finding that had similar topics

were very clinical and they weren't on a personal
level and they weren't talking to people they

were kind of a just an overview and they weren't
going into the nitty-gritty which is what

I wanted to do yeah with my trauma and with
her trauma with an eating disorder and just

any drama we wanted to talk to people to share
their stories and we wanted to talk about

the subjects that are Taboo in our society
because not a lot of people are talking about

them unfortunately still a lot of people are
not talking about them I think I think people

are talking about the more one thing is uh
that I've been noticing and I noticed this

like after I started finding okay like this
podcast because initially I was like well

before I do this I should figure out what's
out there like what what's happening in podcasts

what already exists um and uh and I I barely
found anything and then it was after I already

had started it that more things started to
pop up on my radar and so I think a huge and

and also like on social media as well there
are people who are doing this work who were

talking about things but being able to search
for them and actually find them is severely

hindered by censorship um in like in the way
that like certain social media things will

actually allow you to like say certain things
Tick Tock being one of them um and uh and

like so you have to know what to search for
or what to type in to have things actually

pop up and then like that depends on the search
engine you're using you know like if there's

abbreviations for terms like and and so it's
it varies wild wildly and It's upsetting to

me that the these spaces where these conversations
are happening these resources um and these

communities where people are doing this work
together and making space for this really

painful and very prevalent Human Experience
like this has happened to so many people like

I hardly know anybody that does not have a
story about sexual assault and yet when I

was typing in podcast sexual assault almost
nothing was popping up that's pretty outrageous

yeah that's probably one of the ones that
I was Finding when I was doing my initial

research were ones that were kind of like
College projects that they did it for like

a couple episodes and then it it died out
and it Unfortunately they didn't keep going

with it but yeah like the by yeah it's hard
to find the resources in the podcasting world

at least they're and it's so crazy because
what one in three people you talk to random

three people and they all have podcasts like
everyone has a podcast however especially

after pandemic like covet hit and like everyone
and their mother started a podcast for a minute

there and like you know and and then you take
into account like how many people have you

know all this really heavy [ __ ] to talk
about and like I know I know people are talking

about it it's it's it's wild before I forget
what's the author of that book that you held

up it is Ellen bass and Laura Davis and the
workbook there's so there's two copies of

it the courage to heal book this the one that
I have and it's just the the straight wordage

like it's just the the novel but they also
have a workbook that goes along with it that

you write in the book and I chose not to get
that one at that time they worked kind of

expensive for my budget they were like twenty
dollars a piece so I was like I don't have

forty dollars to drop on books but I do eventually
want to get the workbook to go along with

it and it asks you different prompts and different
things that you can write in the book that

I think would be beneficial so if you're not
much of a reader but you're a writer that

would be an option to look into too awesome
thank you so much for sharing that because

people are always asking and looking for books
and workbooks especially and I just like I

tried that for a hot minute and it just like
it just didn't really click for me it wasn't

um so so I never have them to give to people
and so I'm so glad to talk to somebody that's

like hey this was a resource you mentioned
that you had done therapy for a while um and

that like you that is that has that kind of
been like an on and off thing for you like

and so I did last year when I was going through
when we were ironically we were starting the

podcast I was very very depressed like I was
in a very very low point and I had started

doing um online therapy it was like a free
month trial unfortunately I couldn't afford

to keep going with it afterwards but in that
moment of going through therapy for that month

I was very low and a lot of what I was learning
was coping mechanisms for how to kind of bring

myself back down when I was in a place of
panic and so I'd have no blame for the therapist

obviously because I was only able to do it
for a month but I would like to be able to

go back to just kind of it wasn't much of
talk therapy it wasn't working through the

issues that I had it was more of just finding
solutions for the current state I was in so

I would like to be able to talk through it
but unfortunately I just haven't been able

to afford that outside of the free trial that
I had done but so yeah gotcha

what um so we talked a little bit about Lake
therapy in the book but um I do want to specifically

ask like what in your life has been the most
helpful in terms of healing so I'm currently

writing and I shouldn't say currently I've
been writing it for a very long time I'm writing

a book um about my abuse and it'll be a like
a collective of poems and short stories mostly

about different things that happened and I
I keep thinking in the back of my mind like

I love writing it's it's my thing I write
down everything that I'm thinking and I keep

thinking I don't know when it's going to be
finished that I'm going to be like all right

this is enough this is it but part of me keeps
always in the back of my mind well when he

dies I'll be able to finish it I'll be able
to because he's in his late 70s and honestly

when I was a teenager and thinking about it
I was like oh well maybe when he dies I'll

be able to start telling people and unfortunately
he survived the war he survived cancer he

survived numerous things that should have
[ __ ] killed him and he just keeps living

on and he keeps surviving and here I am almost
20 years after the abuse happened and he's

still alive but I don't I I don't know if
I'll be able to put a a bow on it and say

this is the finished product until I don't
know I don't know I just don't know I like

to Envision sometimes what happens when he
does die like how that moment will go I'm

writing a current story about it I like that
I like that I am yeah the the death of an

abuser is such a

ah I yeah I don't know how to uh like most
most of the people um most all of all of my

abusers that have abused me sexually are still
alive um but the teacher that uh was emotionally

abusive um that I hold responsible for um
for like initiating the cptsd and setting

up the pattern of abuse that that made me
open to further abuse in my life um she died

and I didn't even know it until years later
until I recognized like what she had actually

done and how had it actually fully affected
my whole life and so I I found out like and

I had to do all this research and then figured
out that um that she'd actually died before

I even realized that what she had done was
child abuse and so I never got a chance to

I don't know anything I never got a chance
for anything and so like all that's left is

is me asking questions about like do I want
to go to this graveyard somewhere like do

I bring a bottle of wine do I write her a
letter do I Spit on her grave like I like

I don't know like do I talk to The Headstone
like you know like or do I just not go at

all like does that not mean anything to me
and you know I don't know I don't know but

yeah like what does the death of an abuser
mean to us I think um I think

it's it's a loaded thing and um I think it's
just so different for for everybody um but

I hope that if it feels appropriate for me
to say I hope it's everything that you want

it to be like I I wish you a very merry death
of your abuser when that day comes thank you

yes and I will say like as much as I hate
that my family is now in shambles um I do

feel so much more liberated having them know
and having the capability because for 20 almost

20 years I had to pretend like there was nothing
wrong even when I was starting to do that

healing when I was in college and no one knew
I still had to pretend that nothing was wrong

and I had to go to family functions Christmas
Thanksgiving and sit across the table from

him like nothing was wrong so it is much more
liberating now to say no I don't really want

to be around him and I haven't talked to him
in years at this point and he still lives

at the same house and I just I have chosen
that that is not something that I want to

am interested in anymore and it it does kind
of feel like a little bit of a almost he's

a coward is what it is he's a coward because
he has had conversations both with my husband

and my cousin that I told first about what
had happened to me but he has never once said

oh I'm sorry or anything to me anything but
he's had conversations with them about it

and I was like what's that all about what
did he say to them well when my cousin it

all came out he said to my cousin oh I guess
something must be messed up in the jeans and

I hope you don't hate me because he was a
pedophile and so was his dad and so was his

brother oh yeah so like yeah there is a long
history but that's not science that's not

genetic but there is a long history of abuse
in my family even my mom thinks that she was

probably abused by her dad oh geez but she
also has blackout memories like I do where

she's like I have no clue what happened

um there's and my grandma was abused by her
Father which is part of probably the reason

that she let it happen because she just thought
it was sort of unfortunately sort of normal

it happened to her by multiple people when
she was growing up and as a kid so to her

and when I was having the conversation with
her she compared it to her brother her brother-in-law

so my Pap's brother he likes to sleep around
with people's wives in the family and he compared

she compared it to that and I'm like okay
but those are consenting adults and this is

a your husband a man with a child so totally
different yeah they're not the same but no

no so yeah

oh but um what did he what did he say to um
your husband if I may ask oh well he I don't

know the exact wordage but he was saying something
like my husband threatened him and said if

you even ever look at my child that's it and
there has been so much it's not funny but

it is funny there's been so much talk in my
family how do we get rid of him how do we

take care of him and if if anything were to
happen to my child or anything happened to

you she is younger cousins that are around
her age if anything would happen to them he'd

be gone yeah he'd be gone we mysterious accident
uh I'll just say we my parents live by a whole

bunch of pig farmers nice so and it's always
men trip on farms all the time yep uh so yeah

um so that was kind of just it like don't
even [ __ ] look at my daughter was what

my husband said to him and he likes to try
to play the oh I've changed card or something

like that but I don't think I personally don't
think a pedophile can change like if that's

in your brain and that's in your mind and
you've acted on that you can act on it again

yeah no and if you like I I believe that like
treatment and like reforming is possible but

with treatment and with accountability and
with support structures and like like I don't

think it's just a flip a flip the switch like
oh I turned it off like I don't think you

can really just turn that off if you could
do that then why wouldn't you have all those

years ago like I like I don't unfortunately
I think I agree I think you're right that

they can go through train treatment and supports
and all this and that but I don't think that

the chemical makeup of their brain can change
like even if they abuse children yeah maybe

they never abuse children again but I think
that yeah thought is still in their mind 100

yeah I don't think should be turned off yeah
no I I agree with you I like I it's it it's

a loaded like conversation but um in in prisons
like people who are actually in prison who

have been charged with pedophilia um and uh
and like sexual assault uh related crimes

um and pedophilia is the one that they tend
to really take like more seriously and they're

trying to figure out like how do we treat
this like this is like these people are sick

like what what the [ __ ] do we do about
this and uh and have experience experimented

with different kinds of treatment one of them
being chemical castration um and that is like

loaded human rights stuff um and a lot of
different opinions about that but uh what

I found interesting was that there were pedophiles
who had uh volunteered for chemical castration

they had been given options one of them being
chemical castration and they volunteered and

said I would like that uh and whether that
has to do with like how attractive their various

options were and that that was like or or
if it was specifically like no I specifically

want that because that will help me um but
like hearing the reports from people who would

actually gone through this who you know were
undergoing chemical castration who were like

yeah I don't it's such a relief I don't have
those thoughts anymore like I've been plagued

by them my whole life and now they're gone
um and like I I don't know like I I'm I'm

I you know I certainly give weight to like
questions about human like human rights and

that's perfectly valid of course of course
and you know and everybody deserves bodily

autonomy but at the same time like you know
having it be an option uh for somebody who's

who's like if this is the only way that we've
discovered to turn those thoughts off in my

brain and to have this not be an urge that
I experience anymore I choose that like I

personally I'm kind of for that being an option
for people uh yeah it's like 50 50 like if

if you choose that and you feel like a [ __ ]
human being because you have sexual attraction

towards children great like that's great if
there's options to help you but unfortunately

the other half of the coin is people that
no I don't want them I I want to keep having

relations who I want to keep the thoughts
yeah and those are the real monsters but yeah

and there's so many of them so it's terrifying
it's terrifying um yeah I will definitely

say one of my biggest fears biggest fears
is that something is going to happen to my

daughter that I'm not going to be able to
control because if I couldn't trust my grandfather

and my mom couldn't trust her own dad who
the [ __ ] can you trust yeah who do I work

with that could be a pedophile or a rapist
or anything or even a murderer but who do

you trust who in your own Social Circle could
be an abuser and that's really like it really

[ __ ] me up especially seeing my daughter
age into the age where I believe it started

happening to me and knowing that she would
not necessarily have the vocabulary to describe

if something was going wrong or the knowledge
to know because you always say oh tell your

TR teach your kids that what is private is
private but at a certain age they're not going

to understand that and they're not going to
know how to voice the problem of something

is happening that shouldn't be and like if
it was with me that I was manipulated into

thinking that it was normal kids are just
such squishy sponges that I don't it terrifies

me to think that I could be like my mom and
find out in 20 years that something happened

to her that I had no idea about I mean clearly
people in my family knew that I was around

a pedophile but it's the same thing like if
they didn't say like I I just it's hard how

do you how do you deal with those fears about
about your daughter like what what helps you

um um you know it's pretty much nothing um
gotcha but what for example so my husband

and I were both sexually abused as kids like
we both have abusers and so we don't let our

daughter go anywhere where she unfor like
it's not only men that are abusers but she

is never around men without other people being
there we do not send her to daycare she doesn't

go to any child care my husband and I work
opposing schedules so that one of us is always

with her and she doesn't go to a babysitter
she doesn't if she goes to her grandparents

house it's multiple people in the house it's
not just one person to have sort of that accountability

yeah and yeah it's just always having one
of us there to know that nothing and it's

not going to be that way forever like she's
eventually going to have to go to school and

start having sleepovers at her friend's houses
and things and to be able to release that

control a little bit is going to be hard because
she has been so I don't want to say sheltered

but like sheltered with us protected yeah
protected

yeah well I'm glad that you that you care
so much that you know that protection that

you didn't receive as a child that you're
able to offer that to her and honestly that

has been that I have a whole podcast episode
of my struggles becoming a mother that my

challenge is with that but honestly it's part
of the reason I didn't want to be a mom is

because I didn't want the same thing to happen
to my child that happened to me and I couldn't

do anything and this world is so cruel and
it's all unfair and it's it's all [ __ ]

it's all [ __ ] and I didn't want to expose
more of I didn't want to be responsible for

that bringing [ __ ] into someone else's
life and that's why being a mom is hard for

me I love my daughter and I love the experience
of being a mom but it is hard and I'm I don't

compare myself to other moms in multiple ways
that it's just hard to be a mom

I loved how honestly you spoke about um your
your birth story and your process and becoming

a mother um on the podcast like I I really
appreciate that and I think it's so important

for uh like like your co-host said I think
it's so important for people to have access

to um to different kinds of birth stories
um that they're that they're all wildly different

and so often we are only like there's there's
just one specific kind that is put forward

into the Forefront that is just very shiny
um you know baby showers and yeah on fun play

dates and unfortunately for me becoming a
mom and when I was pregnant was not that it

was very hard emotionally not physically like
I had a fine pregnancy physically but it was

very very hard emotionally to be pregnant
and to be bringing a life into the world because

no one was excited for me my family didn't
want me to have a baby I didn't want to have

a baby and seeing people around me like Kayla
and my co-host sister was pregnant at the

same time as me and seeing her family so excited
to bring a new life into this world and for

me to have gotten none of that support was
very hard I didn't get a baby shower I didn't

get any sparkly things and so why was your
family excited it's a secondary long story

that's kind of unimportant to this story but
it's in the podcast if anyone wants to go

listen but the short part of it is that my
mom does not like or approve of my husband

that she does not 100 does not like him and
so the fact that I had a child with him the

men that I love that I've been with it over
six years at this point she did not want me

to bring a life into this world with him because
she look like she loves her granddaughter

and it's it's all great now like they they
take her on the weekends sometimes and like

they have a great relationship with my daughter
but the the up until that point it wasn't

they weren't excited that I was committing
more of myself to this man and that's also

very hard because my life revolves around
my little family and I have a great time and

I love it but I can't share that with her
or with my parents because they just kind

of snub it and turn a blind eye and let go
all right I don't get to share my excitements

like when I was getting married I was so excited
to get married I'm a wedding planner I love

weddings I get so excited and I couldn't share
that excitement with my own mother because

shooting and approve of the winning that's
rough very rough

so yeah it all goes along with it but I've
difficulties in my life and how old were you

when you got pregnant I want to say 23 or
24. uh I was

when I found out that I was pregnant I was
20 23 weeks along which if people don't know

a pregnancy only lasts 40 weeks so I was over
halfway through my pregnancy when I found

out that I was pregnant and so my options
were nothing my options were limited I couldn't

I didn't have the option to make decisions
really yeah and so our original decision the

way that I found out that I was pregnant and
how far along I was was I was in the abortion

clinic and I was scheduled to go through with
the procedure and they told me I was too far

along to get the procedure which was devastating
in that moment and that's why it's hard to

talk about my journey to Motherhood because
people I don't want people to say oh you didn't

want to be a mom so you must not love your
child I love my child I love my kid but it

wasn't a path that I was ready for or wanted
and a lot of that was due to not having family

support of a pregnancy and then when I couldn't
get the abortion we had decided that we were

going to give her up for adoption and find
a family that would love her which my family

was also not okay with and my mom said oh
well we'll just take the kid until you guys

are ready to take her back but in my mind
that the two things were not the same when

I was agreeing that I wanted to give her to
another family it was I'm going to make this

family so happy and they're going to be the
parents I'm not going to be the parents I'm

going to give birth and then it is someone
else's bundle of joy but when it was my mom

and my dad taking care of this baby my child
was going to be growing up where's my mom

why didn't my mom want me why didn't she love
me enough to keep me and that wasn't at all

the reasons that I didn't want to have her
but that was our plan was to give our daughter

to my parents to take care of up until she
was three days old and that is when the decision

was made my husband had said that he couldn't
do it he couldn't give our daughter to my

parents and for good reason like it was the
right decision and now from where I am now

she's almost gonna be four soon but in that
moment I wasn't ready to be a mom at no point

of that pregnancy of finding out that I was
pregnant halfway through no point was I preparing

to take care of a child yeah and so here I
am I just had a C-section have a three day

old baby my parents had come down from Pennsylvania
to North Carolina for the birth because they

were planning on taking her back with them
here I am with a three-day-old baby I didn't

even I didn't have a crib I didn't have I
had a pack and play I think here I am a baby

and I'm like what do I do with this yeah and
I I didn't obviously I didn't take birthing

classes I didn't do any of the things I didn't
have a baby shower I didn't do any of the

things to be ready for a mom yeah but here
I was as a mom

wow here I am as a mom and that's why on the
podcast I talk a lot about things that set

me apart from other moms is that I can't relate
to being so excited to have kids and having

more kids and wanting to be a mom and this
was my life's mission was to have kids and

be a mom and I just I can't relate to it and
I'm I'm a little edgier than a lot of moms

I don't I'm not vegetarian I don't eat super
healthy and we have pizza all the time and

so it's hard to find other moms that I can
relate to that have I don't know anyone that

has a similar story to mine and that's really
isolating to know that I am a mom with an

asterisk that I am not the other moms and
I I try to explain this to my husband he's

like what are you talking about and he's like
what do you mean you gave up your part of

yourself you're still the same person as when
you were before you were a mom and I'm like

no I'm not I don't I I'm not anything like
I was and I'm not anything like these other

moms and it's it's kind of a completely different
person yeah I've I've actually I've talked

to other people as well and that's actually
a reoccurring thing that I've heard from people

is like no you become a different person it
changes who you are like it's such it's such

a shift on the axis of your whole existence
that it does change who you are uh to a certain

degree and uh like I I think there are a lot
of parents out there that do have similar

stories um maybe not like in terms of the
specifics but in that like unplanned uh and

like no preparation and you know and and just
uh and all of a sudden this just happening

uh and it not necessarily like being a choice
and uh and those things can go together this

wasn't a this wasn't chosen necessarily but
it has occurred and yes you love your child

of course um and and I think those are really
important things to to talk about and I love

that you have your podcast and you're actually
talking about these things because that's

so that's so important to hear that those
two things can go together that you can have

like this this was like and I mean this in
the best way but this was an unwanted situation

it wasn't your choice and then you love your
child uh and this isn't me trying to I want

to clarify again this is a pro-choice podcast
like this isn't like some like sneaky little

pro-life [ __ ] like I'm trying to slip
under people's radar like no I'm just talking

about for the people that this has occurred
for that it's important an important part

of uh an experience and an aspect to being
a parent to being a human being to raising

another human being and that it's so important
to talk about all the different kinds of experiences

that you can have um same same with birth
stories like the like there's a really beautiful

um I think it's a TED Talk um and it's completely
like on a different uh like talking about

things in terms of like uh racial uh situation
but um but I love the the title of the Ted

Talk and like the the under overall arching
message is um the danger of this single story

um yeah and that is and and that Danger can
like can manifest in any aspect of existence

when we when we only tell one story we all
lose um and that I think is very true of motherhood

or Parenthood as well and so I'm glad that
you're talking about all of these things yeah

and I a lot of the past I listened to a couple
mom podcasts but a lot of the mom podcasts

that I listen to obviously being a parent
is challenging it's always going to have its

ups and downs but a lot of the parenting podcasts
that I listen to are talking about things

that are hard and then they're kind of like
laughing it off but to me it's not a joke

like it's very hard some of these things and
I'm a more serious person I don't like I just

I can't make jokes about something that deeply
affects me yeah and so not sugar coating the

things that are hard and validating both my
experience and other people's experiences

that are like this is hard and I don't think
it's funny that's so important because like

for for every for every like Mom blog or podcast
that's laughing off those tough moments I

think it's so important to be holding that
space that you are being willing to to say

like this is serious this is like a deeply
upsetting part of my experience and I know

I'm not not alone and we're gonna feel our
way through this and actually talk about how

this is affecting uh people because like I
know that that there are a whole bunch of

people like you know and and even some of
the ones that are you know like laughing their

way through it that they're like crying with
their bathroom door closed and when their

kids are playing or something like because
they there isn't space made for it that's

their space for it is like crying in their
in their bathroom alone thinking that like

no one will understand and that's dangerous
yeah when you don't make space for these things

that's when things get really bad for parents
for kids like making space for for all this

uh for all this messiness and all these deeply
isolating uh and uncomfortable difficult things

yeah and I do want to just maybe make a note
that uh the title of our podcast is motherful

podcast powerful moms powerful topics but
it's not just a parenting podcast like it

seems to get that confusion just because moms
is entitled but it's a mental health podcast

we don't just talk about Mom stuff we talk
about LGBT rights and we talk about mental

health depression and adhdn bipolar disorders
and all of it and just we just happen to be

two moms and we both the family trauma drama
yeah we just happen to have B2 moms that have

trauma so we talk about both trauma that we've
gone through and issues with parenting that

we have so I got that a couple times so they're
like oh you're a mom podcast I'm like no I'm

not a mom podcast I'm a mental health podcast
and if you're not a parent and you're not

interested in listening to the birthing stories
and the parenting things there's a lot other

topics on there that aren't about that yeah
no thank you for mentioning that that's incredibly

important to note you mentioned the um like
part of your abortion story uh or the abortion

that was not um and uh and I wanted to ask
how uh Roe v Wade being repealed has been

affecting you if you wanted to talk about
that at all yes so and I've had discussions

with my partner with my close friends with
our roommate and you know we were all warned

that this was probably going to happen so
at that point when we were the documents were

leaked that this was happening I was like
okay cool so it's it's happening like there

was that was that was the signing date for
me but the day that it was overturned my roommate

and my husband asked me they were discussing
it at dinner like they were talking about

it back and forth and they asked me so they're
like well as a woman with a uterus a uterus

however what are your thoughts what do you
think about this and I just I stayed silent

for a moment and honestly and it's still true
like feel pretty numb about it because in

my mind and I told a friend that's like I
was not surprised that this happened back

when Donald Trump got elected into to presidency
I'm like well all the cards are on the table

anything can happen now Anything could happen
now and so I was not surprised that this was

overturned even though it was in effect for
so long people were thinking no there's no

way that it could get overturned but it was
and I was not surprised I've seen the handmaid's

tale I was not surprised of things that our
government and our world can do to diminish

people's self-worth and their freedoms and
their rights and so I I just I felt numb because

I knew it was happening I was not surprised
and I felt a matter of helplessness of what

can I actually do because you look at the
statistics and this was not a majority vote

like the majority of the citizens the United
States did not want this to happen but here

the citizens are saying well it's already
done so what can we actually do and I don't

know the answer to that honestly I don't I
don't know

so I live in Pennsylvania where we're a blue
state right now and we're safe for now but

we have a governor election coming up in November
that come November we might not be safe is

is Pennsylvania a swing state do you kind
of oscillate between like blue and red am

I remembering correctly so we've been blue
like we've had a blue or our governor help

it's Tom Wolf if it's not Tom Wolf I'm gonna
feel like an idiot and someone's gonna probably

correct me but uh he is Democrat and we've
had him he's at his max term limit now like

he's had the max amount of I don't know how
long that is but he can no longer rerun and

he's been re-elected every single time that
he's re-ran but the issue is Pennsylvania

is two things Pennsylvania is Philadelphia
Pittsburgh where I live in Harrisburg those

are the three Democratic cities that vote
blue every majority every single time the

rest of Pennsylvania is red okay so and I
I think that's a pretty common occurrence

is there's a lot of democratic voters in cities
and more Republicans the in the middle of

nowhere in this um but it just yeah it really
it's and unfortunately the governor that is

running for the Republican party for Pennsylvania
not a great guy uh anti-lgbt anti-abortion

rights all of the things that make humans
humans you know like it's not going to be

a good time and honestly my roommate and my
husband and I are we're like if come November

we might have to leave yeah that's that's
the conversation I I keep having with my um

with my partner uh I mean first of all like
I I hear you on the um on the numbness thing

that's been kind of a reoccurring thing and
and honestly like I personally like I I kind

of view the whole thing as like this isn't
a re-traumatizing event like this is in like

to lose rights to have bodily autonomy taken
away is inherently traumatizing and it is

re-traumatizing for someone who has experienced
sexual assault um whatever you're like yeah

anyway um so that's a part of it and and also
like any feeling of helplessness especially

having to do with your own body uh and those
and especially like having to do with like

reproductive stuff like again more drama um
and uh yeah and I keep I keep like having

the conversation with him just sort of like
so at what point do we leave this country

yeah we've had that discussion too uh have
you seen the handmaids too I read it and I

want to read the book I haven't read the book
it's like I honestly I've chosen not to watch

the show because I'm like that like will be
just extremely triggering yeah and I'm just

like I'm good um because like the book is
rough enough yeah the reason I had actually

brought up the handmaid's tale we were discussing
we were talking about it yeah and all of the

content of that show and that book The reason
I had brought that up because a major theme

in that beginning of that movie was there
was a very limited amount of amount of time

that people had to escape the what was the
us at the time and it isn't just like them

overturning Roe v Wade it's not actually that
out there to think that that could be a potential

that people would have to leave the United
States for human right access yeah so yeah

no we've also discussed it in my household
of what country are we going to what at what

point do we leave where do we go um taking
like climate change into like account is another

part of the conversation just sort of like
where do we go where is gonna be habitable

in like what like 10 15 years um and uh yeah
just just that it's it's surreal and uh and

and kind of yeah that that numbing feeling
is very much uh very much a part of it all

um but it it doesn't I'm not shocked either
like the writing the writing has been on the

wall for a very long time um

and uh

yeah I something something that um

something that's been very difficult for me
to um kind of like move through is um is when

the people that it doesn't affect so people
who do not have a uterus mainly CIS men uh

when they express like that this isn't their
problem or that they

like that it's not theirs to fix it's like
who do you think is doing this

like we still don't have equal representation
in our government right like there's a limited

number of uteruses like holding positions
of like legislative power who do you who do

you think did this and I'm blown like it is
kind of deeply upsetting to me to hear men

uh just just kind of like conversationally
like wash their hands a bit and be like well

you know what am I supposed to do and it's
like literally anything sir literally [ __ ]

anything um I mean it's just it's just another
example of what I was saying at the beginning

not my circus not my monkeys my body is not
your circus goodbye um um you don't have to

be involved in my decisions for my body and
my life that's not your place and the people

in in government and politics and rich people
these decisions aren't affecting them they're

only affecting the actual citizens the lower
class the middle class the people in government

the people that are rich won't have to worry
about these problems no they're they're Mistresses

and their wives will always have action access
to Safe abortions and they'll be getting them

they they have been this whole time they will
continue to get them they can afford access

to that care even if it's illegal and it's
the other people that will die like will die

um I got in a a debate one time with a friend's
boyfriend who he was trying to defend the

United States as one of the best countries
in the world that we are always told that

growing up that it is and he was trying to
defend that argument I'm like but how like

how could you defend that argument and then
I had to take a step back and I remembered

that his family was rich growing up so he
never had to want for anything it was been

fantastic he's in med school he had access
to all of the medical care all of the anything

that he could want he could have and he never
had to worry about the problems and so I was

like okay I get it I understand why you don't
think that the United States is a [ __ ]

up place but it is you've had a a lovely Little
slice of American Pie the whole time yeah

the rest of us are still scrambling to get
to the table and you know I'm so happy for

you that you didn't have to worry about those
things but you know who did the rest of us

yeah everyone else yeah

Yeah you mentioned earlier uh trauma brain
so memory and I would love to talk about that

um for a minute if you need a breaker or something
I see you scooting slowly away give me one

second my husband that's what a note underneath
the door I just have to worry we've got it

uh trauma brain I thought I was crazy growing
up because there were things that my family

would bring up to me like we went to Disney
World multiple like twice as kids growing

up and I wasn't that much older than what
I was when I went and they would be asking

me things and I was like I don't remember
that and they would say things to me like

whoa what do we spend all this money for to
take you on all these trips and these fun

things if you're not even going to remember
them and I really thought for the longest

time that I was there was something wrong
with me and there was something screwed up

in my head but in reading the book that I
read for my healing the courage to heal it

goes over side effects of traumatic sexual
experiences and one of them is trauma brain

and so for me that manifests as I have very
few very very few memories from high school

and before like I'm 27 and I don't remember
things from 10 years ago like a lot of details

I do not remember and a lot of my memory Works
in I describe it as sort of like tick tocks

where I remember 10 minute re-loop re-loops
of what happened and sometimes I don't even

know if those are real or if it's something
that my brain made up off of looking at a

picture yeah and so that's really [ __ ]
up like I'll look at old pictures that my

parents have and I was like when did that
happen like I went to in high school I went

on vacation we went on a family vacation and
my boyfriend went with us and I had no memory

of him going with us none I remember zero
details of that trip and he was a serious

boyfriend at the time and so it kind of affects
how I remember my trauma just because I have

very few memories of it actually happening
but I know that it did it's more of like a

feeling and the few memories that I do have
and so sometimes when I'm talking to other

survivors like my husband he can very clearly
remember every detail of his abuse and I remember

very few and when I tell my story people are
like oh that's so like I'm so sorry this happened

to me but it doesn't sound as worse as your
thing and I well first of all like that's

garbage like no one's story it doesn't work
like that it's not equal Playing Fields your

story is valid just because it's not as severe
as you think someone else is but I don't I

don't remember the abuse and I don't remember
my childhood and so a lot of the times when

I'm reading books and reading resources to
say you have to heal your inner child I don't

know who that is I don't remember who I was
as a child I don't I don't relate to them

at all mm-hmm and so that's and it kind of
relates to my current life as well where like

people will be like oh my gosh can you believe
your daughter's three and she's almost gonna

be four but I don't remember my life before
my daughter or before my husband they to me

they have always been there I've been married
with my husband for six going on seven years

he has always been a part of my life in my
memory and so that's how it kind of correlates

to me and it does really really concern me
because dementia does run so heavy in my family

and dementia as I get older and people in
my family get older a lot of the times you

revert back to long-term memory of when you
were a kid when you were younger growing up

and I don't have those memories so I don't
know who what I who I'm going to remember

what I'm going to remember if that does happen
to me because I apparently remember now

was there was there a time that you can recall
that you made this realization like that it

was unusual to not remember uh to have like
this this massive section missing that you

were that you realized I'm missing memory
I don't really think so a lot of it was because

of my family saying why don't you remember
that thing or this thing and having those

conversations with my sister or people in
my family of things that had happened that

I just I was like oh when did that happen
oh I don't remember that and it does feel

like a trap sometimes of did that actually
happen or are you trying to manipulate me

and just saying things happened that didn't
because I wouldn't know the difference hmm

I wanted to also talk about the letter so
the way that the way that we connected was

you actually uh and I'll I'll play it at the
beginning of the episode um but you wrote

a beautiful letter for the fire for season
three's um project and I wanted to to ask

about that and and kind of just like make
space for you to share that process um and

you know because you had mentioned that you
would like left it for him to read is that

correct yeah so I when I was writing that
letter and I submitted it after your original

deadline because I'm a procrastinator but
actually I had wrote that letter and I had

wrote many forms of this letter over the years
of what I would want to say or write to him

and this was the one I submitted to you was
a close variation of what I had actually left

for him I wrote a letter that I was giving
to him and when I went home to my family's

house for Christmas I had expected him to
sort of be there and I was going to in my

mind I was trying to build myself up I'm going
to confront him I'm going to confront him

and I didn't know what was going to happen
of that outcome but it ended up being that

he wasn't there like my grandma thankfully
like does send him away for holidays now because

no one would come if he was still there but
I had this letter and I left it on his chair

where he he sits in his living room and I
I that's the end of it like that's all I don't

like I said I haven't seen him I haven't talked
to him I haven't done anything with him so

in my mind I don't even know if he read it
or if maybe my grandma might have seen it

and taken it and shredded out their own her
way because she likes to protect him from

things similar to that but in my mind I just
have to be comfortable with the fact of this

was my confronting him this was my telling
him [ __ ] you you are you're garbage you're

a [ __ ] human and I hope he thinks about
that every single day even if he didn't read

the letter I hope he thinks about that every
single day I hope so too yeah and I think

I mentioned that you're doing the letters
for the fire again this season at the end

then I think I might rate a letter to my grandma
this season for that so it's a really good

idea yeah like it was and it's it's hard because
up until this point I have no positive older

adults in my life like positive role models
so in my mind it's gonna sound bad to say

but I don't trust old people I don't have
any reason to they've all proven to be distrustworthy

so just the people in my life that were supposed
to protect me didn't and I it affects me on

how I live and how my relationships are with
all of my family

that's understandable I'm thank you so much
for talking about your grandma too because

like all of these all of these predators they
always surround themselves with enablers yep

and they are just as much a piece of the puzzle
and uh and and they're so important to talk

about um especially when they're family members
um how do you how do you deal with um the

feelings uh that arise uh in in terms of when
it comes to the adults in your life that failed

to protect you or chose not to protect you
how do you I mean there were people in my

family that I I don't really I'm not I was
never close with that that protected him and

not me but I do have a lot of hostility in
my in my heart for my grandma finding out

things that I found out and I I wish and I
want to try to overcome that with the knowledge

that she's not going to apologize like she's
done as much as she can especially in her

current facilities like she's she's done and
I'm not going to get any more out of her like

I this is who she is and this is as far as
that journey goes for her and so coming to

terms with how do I accept that knowing that
I'm not going to have her around for much

longer and I don't want to have her something
happen to her with me still being angry and

hostile towards her so but other than that
like there were people in my family that knew

sort of like had an inclination that just
chose to do nothing and I hold that against

them as well they they didn't ask questions
when you see triggering signs there were some

of them that did even if they didn't directly
know and you chose to do nothing and I always

say that I don't regret not coming forward
as a kid because I wasn't ready for that I

wasn't ready to tell and have my life changed
when I was a kid the only thing that I regret

is not knowing if I was the last one that
he did this to because I didn't speak up there

were I was the youngest person in our family
in terms of the kids but there were other

people outside of our family that he could
have done it to and I could have been just

another enabler because I didn't say anything
differently obviously it's not like I know

it's not my fault I I can't put that blame
on myself but it is a thought that always

goes through my head that other survivors
might be out there that I just don't know

about

hmm

do you think that um I think you already answered
this but I just wanted to like ask again do

you think that you ever will confront him
I don't think so I think I think I've decided

that there's ultimately nothing that I could
ask or say to him that I didn't believe he

wouldn't just try to make excuses for or lie
about there's no part of my my brain puzzle

that I have to still put together that accounts
on needing something from him I I don't need

that from him I just need him to die [Laughter]
[ __ ] up as that sounds but it honestly

it doesn't to Me Maybe maybe it does to some
people but um but I think a lot of survivors

would definitely understand

final final question is is there anything
that you would like to say to the survivors

who are listening

I would just say you have to be able to heal
and talk about what happened to you when you're

ready if you are railroaded into trying to
disclose earlier than you're ready for you're

not ready like you're not going to actually
be able to heal from that and whether you're

16 or you're 35 or you're 75 I think it is
important to be able to take the what those

feelings outside of the back of your closet
of your brain and be able to work through

them no matter how hard it is it was so [ __ ]
hard last year when I was doing all the trauma

work it was so hard and it's so easy to say
that I wish I could go back because it was

so much simpler before I started doing all
of this before I started telling my family

before I started healing but that wasn't a
genuine true version of myself and I think

you'll find The Liberation once you start
talking about it with whoever you choose to

talk about it with to close disclose it and
I hope that if the reason that I started this

podcast was so that I could be as true to
myself and to my audience and I don't keep

secrets I tell my truth as it is even as hard
as it is like when I discuss my abortion story

that was very hard knowing that I could get
a lot of backlash from people who didn't agree

with me but you have to be able to be comfortable
and I don't regret anything I do or anything

I say I live my life very intentionally and
I hope people can do the same well said well

said I like you I like hanging out with you
thanks likewise it feels kind of like oh this

is the end of a chapter we're done like this
has been so much in the process for so long

of discussing potentially being a guest on
your podcast that I spend such a long process

would be like oh no I like it was it was wild
as I was sitting down for this I was like

oh my gosh we're actually here this is actually
happening yeah months months and months in

the making and here we are and this is it
for now yeah no I'm I'm so glad that you that

you could join me and that week you know that
we're here in this moment that we got to have

finally like have this conversation thank
you so much for for coming for joining me

yeah you're probably the closest person to
a celebrity that I've ever gotten to meet

and to talk to one-on-one that is so um

thank you oh my gosh and I I love the podcast
I I was listening today in preparation it's

so freaking good and I'm so excited for people
um to get to to hear it and I'll be dropping

um some of those episodes that you uh that
you noted for me in episode notes so that

people can go and hear more of your story
and hear you talk about more of these things

in depth um there it's beautiful work that
you're doing and I'm I'm really excited for

everyone to to hear it so thank you so much
and yeah I have we're on a little bit of a

lull for the summer just because it's been
hard with the move and figuring out times

but I have a lot more scheduled like I'm already
editing another one I'm in the process and

by the time this is released there will hopefully
be a lot more on there fantastic to do awesome

love it all right and thank you so much yeah
sure all right bye goodbye

keep on pointed hold on and hold on hold on
for your life for your life [Music] fight

ing [Music]

Emi Profile Photo

Emi

Emi is a mom, a podcaster, writer, wedding planner, a cat lover, and a survivor of sexual abuse. Emi was molested by a family member over a long period of time as a young kid, and spent over a decade hiding from her past before deciding to try to heal from it. Her healing journey led her to starting her own podcast: Motherful: Powerful Moms, Powerful Topics, with her best friend who battles with an eating disorder.