What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?
I was surprised, delighted, and relieved to know that despite my childhood trauma and the belief systems that I was raised in that were designed to keep me small, I still had the capacity to love another human being unconditionally.
Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.
My proudest parenting moment was in the Spring of 2016. My son came home from playing outside with the new neighbourhood kid, an 11 year old boy. My son said to me:
“Mom, we’re best friends right? And best friends tell each other everything?”
He continued. “Remember you said there are no secrets between us, only surprises?”
I agreed to what he was saying.
He then disclosed that the 11 year old boy he had been playing outside with had touched him inappropriately. My son told me that as soon as the assault happened he knew in his gut that boundaries had been crossed.
He told the boy, “I regret being your friend.” and he got up and left, came home and told me.
He told me within minutes of the incident occurring.
All these years of taking the time to talk to him about his human rights, body autonomy, boundaries, consent, trusting your intuition and questioning authority…all of that knowledge allowed him in that exact moment to:
-stand up to his perpetrator [I REGRET BEING YOUR FRIEND]
-tell me right away […BEST FRIENDS TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING]
-because he knew that between him and I [NO SECRETS BETWEEN US, ONLY SURPRISES.]
I am proud that I am raising an empowered child that will tell.
Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?
Joyelle and Dawn individually are incredible; both fearless leaders, revolutionary mothers, courageous survivors, and bold entrepreneurs. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. They created and held such a safe and encouraging space that participating was a no brainer.
Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?
Participating in Parenting with PTSD has affirmed for me the importance of how healing thrives in community. Meeting new survivors is always life changing and uplifting. I always see my reflection whenever I learn of another survivor’s heroic journey.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
My sexual abuse started when I was 4 years old, so my comprehension of love was destroyed long before I even understood what love was. I did not understand what unconditional love was until I met my son. “15th of December was an arrival for the both of us, mother and son.”
Oh, and patience.
Did I mention P A T I E N C E?
When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?
I love learning about myself through therapy and through my rap poetry and dance. I love that I am learning how to abandon the word “busy” and live life purposefully, which includes unplugging from social media regularly.
Bio: Jodie Ortega is a Hip Hop dancer/pageant talent winner turned Advocate, spoken word artist and public speaker (take that, PTSD!). With a Diploma in Broadcast Performing Arts, Jodie has transformed her experiences with sexual violence into a resistance, advocating for survivors and championing for their healing journeys. She utilizes the Arts, primarily Hip Hop, and applies it to the power and simplicity of dialogue to create conversations that lead to awareness about sexual violence. Jodie’s work has not gone unnoticed, having delivered a TEDx talk and has caught the attention of Vancouver Rape Relief and Womens Shelter and the Greater L.A Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women. Although she resides in Vancouver, her yoga pants have been everywhere except for, well, yoga.
TEDx talk: “Breaking My Silence: Healing Thrives In Conversation” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2xYSYLPuy4
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