There are times when parenting throws up challenges they just don’t cover in any parenting manual, even more so when you’re parenting with a childhood trauma related mental illness and, for me, especially parenting a daughter.
K is growing up, her body is naturally changing. So far I have navigated sex education, puberty and other minefields – and triggers – with a mix of common sense and humour. I cross each bridge when I come to it, always reinforcing that she can ask me anything. And she does, which is good.
I need to take her to get measured for her first bra. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. All women reading this will remember a cringeworthy changing room encounter with a measuring tape – now imagine that with added triggers. And I have to make my daughter do the same, although obviously she doesn’t have my history and will be embarrassed rather than triggered. But I am pretty much guaranteed to be triggered by it.
Add in to the mix that I will very probably have to take her through to the city with me – a short train journey I haven’t made on my own since before Christmas and haven’t made with K for six years. I’m sure the department store here can measure her but I’m equally sure I can’t afford anything from their range. So it’s looking like Marks and Spencer is my best bet – a shop I haven’t been in since goodness knows when.
It’s half term at the end of the month, an ideal time to do some girly shopping. I have enough meds to make the trip, but not too many because I have to be responsible for K – I need to do it on a lower dose than normal.
The triggers are one aspect of parenting that I didn’t anticipate and that continually surprise me – this is just one of many.