A couple of months ago, my daughter’s therapist said that she thought it might be useful for my daughter to do a few attachment narrative therapy sessions with me. As part of the process, I needed to write my own narrative that I would read to my daughter during the sessions. The therapist provided me with a framework, but not a lot of other details or ideas about what to write. I remembered, in the back of my mind, talking about doing something like it at the Adoption Education Classes we attended in the beginning of our adoption process. When I sat down to write my narrative, though, the first thing I did was use Google to see if I could find any examples. I found some examples that helped guide me in the process of writing my narrative. I decided that once we were done with our attachment narrative therapy, I would post a redacted version to my blog – in case there are any other parents out there using Google to find inspiration for their narrative.
I am leaving out the first and last sections of the narrative, as they are too personal to post. The narrative itself is not meant to offend or insult anyone; clearly it is very idealistic. Below is the main part of the narrative:
If you had been in my tummy from the beginning, things would have been different. I would have never drank as soon as I was even trying to get pregnant – I would never have had beer. I would have only had grape juice at Communion at church. During the whole pregnancy, I never would have drank. I never would have smoked. I would have had relaxing prenatal massages. I would have kept everything so peaceful and safe so the baby growing in my tummy – you – would have felt peaceful and safe. I would have talked to that baby growing in my tummy and I would have rubbed my tummy and told that baby everyday how much I loved her and how I couldn’t wait for her to be born so I could meet her.
Dad and I would have been so excited to prepare your nursery. We would have painted it purple and had a zebra print comforter. Our friends and family would have thrown us baby showers and we would have had all of the things that we would need for you.
I would have taken prenatal vitamins and eaten healthy. I would have gone to the doctor for every possible check-up. I would have been so excited to see the ultrasound picture. I would have carried it around in my purse and I would have showed it to everyone – I would have said, “I am having a wonderful baby and I am so excited! Isn’t she beautiful?”
The day you were born would have been a beautiful and happy day. Dad would have been in the hospital room with me, holding my hand. And when you came out of me, Dad would have said, “It’s a girl! She’s so healthy! She’s so beautiful.” I would have cried tears of joy.
Once we got home from the hospital, I would have done everything I could to be the mom you needed. I would hold you all the time. Any time you would cry, I would run to make sure that you were okay. I would feed you, I would change your diapers, I would make sure that you took enough naps. I would worry about you all the time; I would always want to be doing everything I could to take the best and safest possible care of you. I would watch Arthur with you and feed you “real” food for the first time. I would have taken you to get your first haircut. I would have given you baths. I would have dressed you in the cutest baby clothes ever.
Dad and I would have done everything possible to keep you safe. You would know that Dad and I loved you and that Dad and I loved each other and that we would always keep you safe.
I am not a therapist, so I cannot go into huge amounts of detail as to “how” the attachment narrative therapy process actually works. I can tell you, though, that it was very helpful to my daughter. My daughter loves to hear me read that narrative, and she loves to daydream about having been in my “tummy.” I have watched my daughter try to bond with me a lot more since those sessions and I can feel her “attaching” more to me than she previously had. During the first session of attachment narrative therapy, though, I felt very awkward. I was really “putting myself” out there. I didn’t know if I would be laughed at, or if I would be rejected. It is similar to how I felt the first time I told my husband that I loved him – I felt nervous and “exposed.” When my daughter “warmed up” to the narrative and showed me that she felt good about it (she said it was “the best story she has ever heard”), it felt like someone telling you that they love you for the first time – warm and dizzying. One of the best feelings that you can feel, I think.
Of course, because we live in the “real world,” things aren’t 100% perfect. The balance of our household sometimes feels a little off now, because this daughter is a lot “needier” and “clingier” now and my other daughter sometimes feels jealous. I also have to remind myself that loving someone with Reactive Attachment Disorder means that you are on a rollercoaster. The “highs” of feeling your daughter attach to you are so euphoric. However, I find myself being cautious, because the better the “highs” feel, the more the “lows” hurt. I know, though, that as my daughters’ “last mom” and their “forever mom,” I am on this “rollercoaster” for better or worse and that I need to “take in” all of the good moments to build up my spirit for the more difficult times.