I Am a More Confident Me

My daughter is nearly 5 years old, which is the first age in my known memory of my innocence being taken from me. It occurred continuously for years after that. I look at my oldest daughter and I see me. Only I have spent the majority of my life avoiding the fact that I am the child in my own memories. Her childhood wonder about simple things and ability to look in the mirror and see beauty in herself is so magical and yet so foreign to me. She lives in a world that I never experienced and seeing what was taken from me unfold before my eyes is jarring.

My biggest inspiration for attending The Haven Retreat was my husband and daughters. I knew my trauma was affecting my marriage and my motherhood but I didn’t fully understand how. I’ve looked in the mirror my whole life and felt “not real,” stuck, and worthless. I began to look at my beautiful little family and felt desperately that I wanted to engage; to exemplify confidence to my daughters but I didn’t know how. Then I attended The Haven Retreat.

I felt a freedom there that I have never felt before. A freedom to be me, to feel beautiful, to feel worthwhile, to be allowed joy and genuine friendship with other survivors who ACTUALLY UNDERSTOOD ME. I felt safe, un-pitied and for once I felt completely NORMAL. As a result of all this, I was able to let my guard down and soak in all the information and experiences.

It has been nearly a year since I attended The Haven Retreat. There will never be the right words to express my gratitude for this experience. I have been given hope, a voice, tools for continued healing, and, almost just as important as those things, I’ve been given permission to fall down and the grace to pick myself up again. I am able to participate more fully in my own life now. I am a better wife, a better mother, and a more confident me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have given me. I will continue on towards more healing for myself (because I’m worth it!!!), for my husband, and for my daughters.

-Kristina, Survivor

P.S. To the friends who sent me there (you know who you are) thank you for believing I had enough worth to start my healing journey.