The Life We're Dealt at Birth: Why You Shouldn't Let Your Past Define Your Future by Dr. Bethany Cook Clinical Psychologist

2 years ago

The Life We're Dealt at Birth: Why You Shouldn't Let Your Past Define Your Future

I was adopted at 9 months old. When my parents went to collect me from the sixth or seventh foster home I was living in they found me in a playpen covered in flies with ear wax dripping out of my ears. I had previously lived with my biological mom, biological grandma, biological aunt and was eventually taken away from them. We don't know why. My parents thought neglect, but were never told. 

I had red marks all over my body and my parents didn't know if they were chickenpox or fly bites (you can kind of see the red marks on my arms and forehead in the picture). They were fly bites. I had to get the chickenpox vaccine as an adult.

The point of this picture and story is this: Life deals us a deck of cards at birth. Sometimes it can feel like the deck is stacked against you (and it very well could be). That being said, it's not just the cards you've been dealt that factor into the trajectory of your life – it's also those who play with you, against you and alongside you that heavily factor into your game of life.

I'm eternally grateful for my parents and the village (it was truly a village) that raised me, as I had a lot of trauma to work through growing up. I am still working through some of my maladaptive trauma responses when they pop up.

A fun quick story is that when I was around 3 years old my mom went looking for me and found me walking up and down the street knocking on the neighbors doors asking if they had any candy, cookies or kids to play with. I guess I learned quite young that I can't wait on others to meet my needs – I gotta go get them myself! Yes, trauma can make incredibly strong individuals, but I believe the cost is too high. These skills can be learned in love as well.

Don't let your past define or decide your future. Embrace the ugly and work through it to make it beautiful and meaningful.

Childhood should be a time of learning and love. Unfortunately, all too often children are abused and then spend their entire adult life either living unfilled lives and/or undoing the trauma of their childhood.

I have so much love and admiration for anyone who step up to the plate and give a child in need love and support. This includes stepparents, foster parents, relatives, court-ordered guardians and anyone else I didn’t mention who is not a biological parent to the child.

Lastly, thank you, Mom – and thank you Dad in heaven.

Photo: This is one of the very first pictures ever taken of me (I'm with my Grandpa Bill here).

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Elisa Schmitz
"Don't let your past define or decide your future. Embrace the ugly and work through it to make it beautiful and meaningful." This is so powerful, Dr. Bethany Cook Clinical Psychologist . I have tears in my eyes and goosebumps after reading this. I couldn't agree more, and I am so grateful to you for sharing. Your important voice has an impact that ripples, helping so many.
What a beautiful story from a beautiful soul.
Julie Rose
I love this so much.

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