Motherhood After Foster Care

I was extremely nervous about becoming a mother especially from all the stuff I heard about abused and neglected kids growing up to be parents!  People wanted me to believe that because of what I had been through that I was highly at risk of abusing my own children.  Now there is something to parents, especially young ones, mimicking what they saw from their dysfunctional parents when they themselves have children, but they (society) make us look like we don’t have the ability to discern between what is right and wrong at a fundamental level- and that is an UNTRUTH (I’ve always wanted to say untruth, so there it is!)

Shortly before I became pregnant with my son, I was required by my MSW program to take a Human Development class and I was irritated because I didn’t want to take it, but somehow I did not have this as a pre-requisite before applying to UMB.  So I enrolled and dragged my hind-parts to this class that I thought was inconveniencing my life so.  Well, I will tell you that I am ABSOLUTELY GLAD that I took this class.  It covered child development, their brain development and effective ways of disciplining and such.  My idea of discipline was what I was raised by- spare the rod and spoil the child.  But even with that I knew the difference between disciplining and abuse (there is a difference and we can talk about that in a different post).  This class taught me that the world of parenting was so much more.  It taught me about patience; it made me look at parenting as a strategy to raising a child.  With that being said, I believe EVERY PARENT (not just former or current foster youth) should take a Child Development or Parenting Class.  

One of the things we as Alumni MUST do is to start to pick apart the MANY negative stereotypes that society and the foster care system harbor for us because they are UNTRUTHS (there it is again).  The sad part is that the Foster Care System has a way of reinforcing these stereotypes and then convincing us that they are true. We then end up internalizing and self-perpetuating the stereotypes of others so then they can sit back and say “See I told you she/he couldn’t raise that child. You know she from Foster Care,right?”

Do foster youth need a little extra support when becoming a parent? YES! Do we hold some ideas of parenting that aren’t healthy because of our upbringing AND time in foster care? YES! Does it mean we will be bad parents or abuse our children? ABSOLUTELY NOT!





About formerfostertalk

Founder and Executive Director of the Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center and Founder and Senior Consultant with Fostering Change Network LLC. I am also a former foster youth with a passion to give back to youth still in and those who have transitioned from the foster care system.
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4 Responses to Motherhood After Foster Care

  1. lktrevino says:

    I often thought I would be a crappy parent – but not because of my childhood, but because the sw’s convinced me that I would be. In fact, I was an excellent parent……. sadly, it didn’t last – nothing like being a foster kid – no rights and no one cares.

    • Thanks for your comment! I did too! That is exactly what I meant by the negative messages given to us by the very people that are supposed to encourage and motivate us. Regardless of what may have happened, I’m glad you know you were a good parent. There are people out there that care about youth in foster care, I just believe the foster care system needs to do a better job with engaging them and supporting the ones they already have working within foster care -and raising expectations and accountability for the ones that have no business working with vulnerable children.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I had so many insecurities going into parenthood! To this day I have insecurity that should anything happen to my child that DSS gets involved, I will assumed to be an abuser because of my past and have my rights taken away more hastily than anyone else. Because of the history of sexual abuse I suffered I also struggled with wanting to breastfeed, knowing it was the best thing for my daughter but not knowing how I would internally struggle with it once I was doing it, or how others would view it knowing my past. 2 kids later, I nursed one for 11 months and my second is still going strong into her 10th month. It hasn’t been a struggle at all but the worry of it about made me sick and anxious.

    • Thanks so much for sharing Tiffany. The emotional roller coasters we experience because of the labels that society attaches to our having experienced the foster care system! I’m so glad you overcame your internal struggle with breastfeeding and that you were able to breastfeed your little blessings for the amount of time you did. My son refused to continue breastfeeding after he was 3 months old! I was devastated! I felt like I did something wrong, but the Doctor assured me that it was because he could get milk from the bottle easier (I introduced the bottle to him when we was 2 months old so my husband could help with feeding). Smart boy even at 3 months. LOL!

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