she realized that her attachment deficiencies affected parent-
child interactions even as she mothered her older biological
child. As I sat in the chair listening to her story, I experienced
a lightning bolt of “me too” followed by a kick in the gut
feeling. On that day, I more fully realized that my ignorance
about my own attachment challenges had on some level
affected all of my children. I had not mirrored them well.
I have heard it said that even though children are great
recorders of events, they are terrible interpreters.16 As I look
back on my own early life, I see the wisdom in this.
Throughout my childhood, my mom suffered a series of health
challenges. As a child, I had no way to make sense of some of
the dynamics within my home. I remember one day finding my
mother in great pain. I felt terrified that she might die, and I
desperately wished that someone would help me figure out
what to do about this situation. My parents held to a belief that
“we should not burden our children with adult matters.” There
was little follow up, explanation, or communication about my
mom’s health issues, so I was left to interpret (most often quite
incorrectly) complicated feelings and circumstances alone. No
one mirrored my confused and painful emotions during these
There also are family tales of my parents leaving me in
my crib to “cry it out.” Dr. Spock encouraged a generation of
parents to employ this strategy when infants had sleep issues.
Though it depends on the circumstances, duration, and
frequency of such crying, this parenting strategy can affect an
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