Meet the Trigger Points Contributors

Trigger Points Editor and Contributor: Dawn Daum

Introducing Trigger Points Editor & Contributor Dawn Daum, author of Raising a Girl as a Survivor and Permission to Love.


“After my failed search for stories on what it’s like to live and experience motherhood as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I was reminded how quiet survivors are. I know the role that shame has in keeping it that way, but a discussion on the effects of the abuse that resurface, or suddenly arise, when we become mothers is something we need to talk about. It’s vital to our ability to raise healthy girls.”

Raising a Girl as a Survivor

Dawn Daum

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

How little I actually realized about what it means to be a parent, before I actually had kids. I was very naïve in how I believed I would accomplish “giving my kids the life I never had.” My kids having a “normal” childhood was a picture in my head of a nice house, not having to say no and  lots of love. I had no idea that just because I loved them didn’t mean I would know what the hell I was doing.

I was clueless on the level of conscious availability it takes to raise healthy kids. My daughter is 6 and my son is 3, being Mom means everything I do, say, react to and choose to make important or un-important in my life spills over in to their lives. I never in a million years thought I would matter that much.

2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.

My daughter was chosen for student of the month last October. That month students were chosen based on the character trait pride. I was ridiculously proud of her. It made me step back and acknowledge that even though my journey through motherhood hits some pretty rough roads sometimes, I am in fact getting it right along the way. My daughter takes pride in who she is, how she treats others and what she creates. I didn’t know what that felt like until I was well in to my 20’s.

3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?

The actual act of writing out my experiences as a parent who experienced childhood abuse was not difficult. The tough part has been keeping eye contact when speaking about it. When I start to feel the sting of vulnerability, and I notice I’m looking anywhere but at the person I am speaking to, I remind myself that it’s shame I’m feeling, not disgust I am projecting. A mantra of sorts that I have held on to is for every time I keep eye contact while talking about my experiences as a parent and survivor, I am strengthening a mental muscle that will eventually defeat the shame.

4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?

In what way hasn’t it?!! I mean every day I am working on using this tool we have created as a catalyst for conversation and change. And when I’m not jotting down one more thing to do, I’m starting another list of things to consider doing. It is hard work but it doesn’t feel like work I have to do, instead like work I want to do. My life has veered so far off the “map” I created in my head because of this project; for that I am so grateful.

5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

To slow the hell down. Breastfeeding was my first lesson. For the first time, I had to just sit still. I couldn’t rush the moment. I couldn’t think up a new task to take up time and busy my mind. I had to just sit down; slow down. Now that I have a preschooler and first grader on my hands and I’m back to working full time, time is FLYING! I can’t give all of my time to my children, but I understand the importance of giving all of me to them when I have the time.

6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?

I love listening to music that moves me. I love getting together with friends to play poker and catch up with each other. I love sometimes deep and sometimes just plain ridiculous conversations with my girls. And I absolutely love sharing a good bottle of red wine with my husband, with phones out of arms length and the tv OFF!

Until I became a parent, I was able to drown out the flashbacks I had experienced throughout my adult life. When I became a mom, I could no longer do that. I couldn’t get away from the triggers, because my children had become the source of them. I started to live in an on again, off again state of panic. I suddenly had no control over the way my body reacted to the very people I loved the most in this world. I couldn’t understand why I always wanted to run away from my children, instead of towards them.

Permission to Love

Dawn Daum

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting


Dawn Daum is a thirty-something wife, Momma to two, survivor and student of life. She spends her work week as a mental health care manager, helping others put and keep pieces of their lives together. Dawn is currently working on her first novel and recently published Trigger Points: Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting, which she co-edited with Joyelle Brandt. Her work has been featured on Huff Post Parents, Huff Post Comedy, The Indie Chicks, Elephant Journal and Scary Mommy.

Website: W.T.F. words thought feelings

book cover

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available for Kindle and paperback. Click the link to get your copy today!!

Trigger Points Anthology paperback

Trigger Points Anthology for Kindle

Become a member of the supportive Trigger Points community on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other parenting survivors.


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