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Healing Trauma as A Parent, Survivor, and Helper
Episode 1119th April 2023 • The Fire Inside Her; Authenticity, Self Care, and Wisdom for Life Transitions • Diane Schroeder
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Trauma can take on many forms. Today's guest was a classroom student of trauma before life became her teacher, and is now using her lessons to be in service of others. A life-changing accident in 2011 showed her the physical effects of trauma, but her journey as an adoptive parent had already introduced the complexities of trauma into her family's home years before this. Her reckoning with the circumstances that came into her life and the growth and journeys that continue to flow from them are what we dive into today. Chris' connection to The Fire Inside Her is something she mentions. That burning perseverance is part of what makes her story so compelling and something you're going to want to hear more about.

Chris Prange-Morgan, MA, MSW, considers herself a student of all types of trauma. Before becoming a parent to her children, Prange-Morgan worked for more than ten years as a mental health professional and social worker with adults in the criminal justice system. She has a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago, a certificate of advanced graduate study in pastoral counseling from Neuman College, and a master of arts in religious studies from Cardinal Stritch University.

Prange-Morgan has sought to better understand collective and generational trauma and its effect on individuals after she suffered a life-changing accident in 2011, becoming a trauma survivor herself. Her story has been featured on The Today Show, The Trauma Therapist Project, CBS, Milwaukee Magazine, The Institute for Healthcare Improvement website, The No Barriers Podcast, and The Conversation Project. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Psychology Today, The Huffpost, Able Outdoors, Tiny Buddha, and Living With Amplitude Magazine. Chris coaches parents, patients and professionals in the trenches of working with challenging life and family circumstances.

Connect with Chris Prange-Morgan

chrisprangemorgan.com

On Facebook @cprangemorgan

On Psychology Today

www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/chris-prange-morgan-ma-msw

"Broken, Brave and Bittersweet" will be out in May and is available now for preorder.

How to connect with Diane:

www.thefireinsideher.com 

Diane@Thefireinsideher.com 


Instagram -

@TheRealFireInHer 

LinkedIn-

www.linkedin.com/in/dianeschroeder5/


Are you excited to get a copy of the Self Care Audio download that Diane mentioned?

You can get that HERE –TheFireInsideHer.com/audio


If you enjoyed this episode, take a minute and share it with someone you know who will find

value in it as well. You can share directly from this platform or send them to:

https://TheFireInsideHer.com/podcast

Transcripts

We feel it is important to make our podcast transcripts available for accessibility. We use quality artificial intelligence tools to make it possible for us to provide this resource to our audience. We do have human eyes reviewing this, but they will rarely be 100% accurate. We appreciate your patience with the occasional errors you will find in our transcriptions. If you find an error in our transcription, or if you would like to use a quote, or verify what was said, please feel free to reach out to us at connect@37by27.com.

Fire Inside Her

Diane:

Welcome to The Fire Inside Her podcast, a safe space for leadership, self-care, and community. I'm your host, Diane Schroeder. And it is my privilege to be your guide on the journey to authenticity.

Diane Schroeder:

I got my emergency medical technician when I was 18 years old. I had been in college for about a year and it was part of the journey to becoming a firefighter. During EMT school, we talked a lot about trauma. And so I learned that trauma was when something bad happened to your body. So if you break your arm, if you're in a car accident, something like that, that's trauma. As I grew up and experienced a little bit more of life, I learned a different type of trauma. And that's the trauma that repeatedly seeing terrible things that happened to people in the emergency services world to see bad things, you still experience a different type of trauma. And you know, then I learned about family trauma, and that trauma can chip away at your soul. And it can be more than just breaking a bone.

Diane Schroeder:

The beauty about trauma, just like your bones will heal is that with the mental trauma and stress that we all experience, you can heal that as well. Just like you can heal a lake, it takes a lot of work. And it's not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But it's possible. And one of the things that make it possible are people and pioneers who are open and vulnerable and work with trauma and trauma survivors. The trauma that happens when we're younger and we may not remember it, but these angels who can help us deal with our stuff and deal with our past traumas, and also help our children who have been exposed to various forms of trauma.

Diane Schroeder:

My guest this week, Chris Prange-Morgan, she considers herself a student of all types of trauma. Before becoming a parent to her children, Prange-Morgan worked for more than 10 years as a mental health professional and social worker with adults in the criminal justice system. She has a master's degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago, a Certificate of Advanced graduate study in pastoral counseling from Newman College, and a Master of Arts in religious studies from the Cardinal Stritch University. Prange-Morgan has sought to better understand collective and generational trauma and its effect on individuals after she suffered a life-changing accident in 2011, becoming a trauma survivor herself. Her story has been featured on The Today Show, The Trauma Therapist Project, CBS, Milwaukee magazine, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement website, the No Barriers podcast, and the Conversation Project. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Psychology Today, the Huff Post, Able Outdoors, Tiny Buddha, and Living with Amplitude magazine. She coaches parents, patients, and professionals in the trenches of working with challenging life and family circumstances. I loved our conversation. We talk about parenting and trauma and life experience. And Chris is just a light in this world. And I'm really excited to share this conversation with you and I look forward to hearing what your favorite parts of this conversation are.

Diane Schroeder:

Welcome, Chris. I'm so excited to have you here today.

04:22

Yeah, thanks for having me on Diane. I'm excited to chat with you.

Diane Schroeder:

Yes. So let's see the icebreaker question that I want to know about you is, what was your first cassette?

Chris Prange-Morgan:

My first cassette Oh, I was thinking album.

Diane Schroeder:

Or album. We can do album. First album.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Oh, I know. Imagine like I kind of span between album and cassette and 8-tracks back in the 70s. So my very first album was, I had two. Breakfast in America by Supertramp and Styx Cornerstone that tells you when I grew up.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah, classics. There still are classics today.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

They are. I wish I would have held on to those albums because vinyl was back in and I probably would have that at my fingertips. But oh, well.

Diane Schroeder:

Exactly. My first album was Michael Jackson, Thriller.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Oh, perfect.

Diane Schroeder:

And then followed shortly by my first cassette was Madonna, Like a Virgin.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Perfect.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah. My parents. I don't know if my parents just didn't realize but man, that was hoo. Those were the good days for me. I blasted that I probably wore that tape out. I listened to it so much.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Like a Virgin?

Diane Schroeder:

Yes.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah. Oh, I know. I mean, I was borderline on that.

Diane Schroeder:

Papa Don't, no that was not Papa Don't Preach, but it was borderline Material Girl.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yes.

Diane Schroeder:

Yes. Wonderful.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Life was so simple.

Diane Schroeder:

It was. So why don't we start with you just telling us a little bit about yourself about your journey and why we're here today talking about your upcoming book, the Reader's Digest version of kind of what led you to this moment?

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah. So we were talking a little bit earlier about, I was scrolling Instagram, and I loved your phrase the fire inside her because actually, I thought I also see that you're into tattoos. And I did consider getting a tattoo that says, fire within me, Earth below me. I can't remember what the other one said. But I was like a really cool idea for a tattoo. I didn't end up getting it. But you know, tattoos go like you have to everything has to come together to get the right one.

Diane Schroeder:

Yes.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

But anyway, but like that idea of fire within like, I've always kind of felt you need that to kind of keep going when life gets tough. And so I have a memoir coming out in May, the beginning of May called Broken, Brave, and Bittersweet forging fiercely through disability, parenthood, and other misadventures. And just kind of back up a little bit. The book took about five years to write just because I started it as memoir. And then I shifted to essay, trying to discuss all these learnings and stuff, which there were there been a lot of them. But over the years, it kind of and it was a lot about parenting as well. And my kids are now teenagers, and it's not as exciting to talk about parenthood. So I went back to talk about what my own experience with,

Diane Schroeder:

Yes.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

you know, it kind of kind of came full circle. So I had an accident in November of 2011. That was related to the parenting stress that I was going through.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So it all kind of comes together in this book where I had a rock climbing fall. I have two children. My daughter is older than my son and my son has some special needs. And I brought him along to this climbing gym with me. And I didn't even realize I was stressed out because I mean, I was just doing the mom thing, right? I was planning to take him to an appointment that afternoon. And he had his therapies in the morning and I thought I had it all together. And I was just going to climb. And I forgot to clip into my harness.

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Diane Schroeder:

Oh my goodness.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah, I didn't even like I thought I had clipped in, but I was distracted. So I ended up falling about 30 feet. And so now question as being a firefighter, you do paramedic stuff, right?

Diane Schroeder:

Yes, yes. I was a paramedic for 17 years.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Wow. Have you ever had to deal with someone who fell from a height before?

Diane Schroeder:

Yes, yes. As a matter of fact, in my town, we have a climbing, an indoor climbing gym. And I have responded as in my current role now as a battalion chief and watched my crews take care of patients. So yes, we've, we've seen what happens with that. And that's why my goodness, that is awful.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah, so you've seen like the mechanism of injury and ankles.

Diane Schroeder:

Yep. It's unforgiving. From that height. It is an unforgiving and even did the climbing gym kind of have that soft, unique floor? Kind of padded? Not really hard, but not really like a trampoline, but just a unique floor? That's hard to land on.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yes, right. And there's a big difference between like bouldering where it's not rope climbing, but it's a lot softer to walk on, and then like where your bolder or where you're climbing with ropes and belaying you have a belay partner usually or you're on an automatic belay. Like I thought I was on an auto belay and I wasn't I was just like free climbing, which was still kit. I guess they had it on. I want to say tape. They had it on a video so which I don't ever want to see but like,

Diane Schroeder:

No.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

but yeah, so right. So, so my injuries were like, I had a pelvic fracture which was like a, they call it a vertical shear because I felt toward like on my right foot and the force wept like up through my right side so my pelvis kind of went up and I felt like a marionette kind of when the paramedics got there and thankful to the drugs that they put through me because I didn't feel anything, but they got there, like, within 10 minutes, I swear. And I didn't really have too much pain. I mean, just as soon as the shock wore off, I was like, wow, that that pain meds must be working.

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

But anyway, you know, I kind of kneed myself in my nose and bit through my lip and broke a rib and a couple of vertebrae. And it just ended up being a really long arduous recovery because I had a pylon fracture, which, you know, when you fall from a height that they call it mortar and pestle, I think pylon is like French for mortar and pestle or something.

Diane Schroeder:

Okay.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So basically crushed the living daylights out of my ankle, and they were trying to fix it for a couple of years. And I keep kept having surgeries. And so finally, you know, after two years and looking around at, you know, because I'd always been active,

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

you know, being active is one of the things that has, I mean, I have to be active because my father was an athlete, I'm an athlete, I get depressed if I can't move.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So I decided to have a below the knee amputation. So I could regain my quality of life. And I could get a running blade and a climbing foot, and I wouldn't be in pain all the time. And that was after like, 11 surgeries or something like that. So

Diane Schroeder:

Oh my goodness.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

anyway, that's the nutshell version.

Diane Schroeder:

Well, that in itself, could be a story, a book, you know, recovering from that and healing that trauma yourself. But I'm curious if you don't mind going back a little bit and talk a little bit more about your kiddos. And kind of where you got to this really burned out survival mode, trying to be a mom and trying to cram in some self-care time because you know, you needed that for your mental health, but really not being fully present. If you don't mind going back a little bit to kind of what got to that moment.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Sure. Yeah. And that's also a little bit why was it was hard to write the book, because, you know, they talk about target audiences. And so I had, I've always target audiences. Like I said, I work in healthcare. So, you know, there's the parent community of children that have reactive attachment disorder, a lot of them are a lot of us are adoptive parents. So there's that community. There's the whole special needs parents community, there's the disability community, there's the chronic health conditions, community and health care professionals. So yeah, it was hard to write this because the parent community, at the time, when we brought our children home from China, both my kids are adopted from China,

Diane Schroeder:

Okay.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

I was experiencing a lot of like, self doubt, because I felt like I had to prove that I was a supermom, and that we were all connected. And my son was really struggling with attaching to me. And, you know, the harder I tried to connect with him, the harder he pushed away. And he also had severe developmental delays, because he came to us, he came to us with severe neglect from his orphanage.

Diane Schroeder:

Oh.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

And so when he was essentially like, placed in our family, just life became so stressful, like it was like living in this pressure cooker nonstop all the time.

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

And so I felt like I needed to be his ego to like, make progress in the world. And I had to teach him all the things, but he resisted learning, and I had to teach him how to walk. And he had no interest in learning how to walk. And you know, and then my husband and I had different ideas about parenting as well. So that kind of led to some, you know, marital discord, because like a lot of kids with RAD will act differently with one parent versus the other. So anyway, so that was just like, I and I had a background as a social worker before all this, and I gave up my career to raise children and I thought it was going to I was going to be this loving mama, mother hen that just that parenting was all I ever dreamed and wanted. And it turned out that I really miss my career.

Diane Schroeder:

That's, that's hard.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

It was, you know, I mean, I love my children. I mean, and there were aspects of parenting them that I really did enjoy, like, you know, I was kind of an outdoor mom, I would set up obstacle courses in the backyard and we take them hiking and and I taught them how to swim and, you know, it wasn't like the craft mom, doing all the little things like I tried it and it wasn't me, but I still kind of felt very isolated and alone, which contributed to like this. The stress that like I didn't even realize I was carrying around until my accident happened.

Diane Schroeder:

Right. I'm sure I think about that. Because, you know, I think I can't imagine how challenging it would be to adopt children. And now that you and you know, being a social worker, the trauma informed and you know, there's there's a lot of stuff that comes with that to begin with. And yeah, I feel like I had nine months growing the my human inside of me, and I still wasn't prepared when he was born. I felt like I wasn't going to do this well, and I had all this pressure to be supermom. And knowing that I really was excited to go back to work. And I waited until I was older. So I had lived this really amazing, fun life. And now I felt like what was going to happen next? How was I going to travel? How was I going to be adventurous? And how was I going to be a good mom and still be a working mom and holding both of those realities, that tension between the two? It's hard.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

It's yeah, it's so is. I mean, and I don't know, if there are these images that come to mind, you know, at least for me, and I've tried to learn how to be less self critical. But you know, like, you'd see these movie stars, you know, like Angelina Jolie with all of her adopted kids. And they all have these, like smiles on their faces. And I'm like, seriously? Do you really feel happy all the time? Like, are your kids connected with you? Because mine isn't. And, you know, I mean, I hear about other moms or bio kids, where their kids are colicky or whatever. And, you know, this pressure to portray this happy mom image was just it was, it was hard.

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

And I think that a lot of us probably go through that. But we just don't talk about it. Right?

Diane Schroeder:

No, I, I wish we talked about it more. I think, you know, one of the superpowers of being female is our ability to village and be in villages and community and connect with one another. And it's that really that genuine connection of like, Hey, I see you girl and I see your, your kicking ass. And you have to remember that, but just you know, we all need to hear that once in a while, even when it's hard. And you know, one of the best pieces of parenting advice I got was, you know, the fact that I cared so much of whether I was doing a good job probably meant I was doing a good job. And that, you know, being just loving my son, then that's a great foundation for building a good relationship. But it's like, even at the time, and then everything else going on. But you don't always hear that. So it's nice to have that, you know, I do think women need to do better about talking about that. And making it okay that it doesn't have to be social media perfect. And they don't always have to match and perfect clothes and you know, be smiling. And you know, because parenting is hard.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I write for Psychology Today. And I just wrote, I wrote about the concept of good enough parenting, which is there's a psychologist from years ago, his name was Donald Winnicott. And he, you know, he had this good enough mothering back in the day. So like, all these years later, as a mom, I thought, you know, all of a sudden, one day, I was like, I remember that concept of good enough parenting. And I feel like I have to observe to absorb the idea of, I'm a good enough mother. Because like, that's what's going to release me from the pressure and release my children from this idea that they have to be what I expect them to be. So yeah, so I just wrote another one last month about or actually, it was earlier this month, about good enough raising teenagers through the lens of good enough parenting, because it just morphs, you know, as they get older, like, what does parenting feel like, you know, mean, you're never done, right.

Diane Schroeder:

No.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

And you're on you're always worrying, you know, you're worrying about your kids, you're worrying about society's pressures or expectations of you, you're worried about your relationships and whether or not you're juggling all the things well, or if you're exercising self-care enough, you know, like, I think I think I've got it figured out at this point, you know, now that my kids are older, because we can let them alone.

Diane Schroeder:

Yep.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Which helps. But yeah, it's definitely, it's definitely really a challenge. And you know, when you talk about the villages, like, I was expecting those villages to be more evident for me when my kids were younger, like, I would take them to Hawaii. And I see all these other people, but like my kids felt it would like it was different. And I and I write about this in the book, too. There was a period of time where I was teaching swim lessons. It was like my mom job well, I could put the kids in Kid Care and I could do my thing and it wasn't really for the money. It was for the membership at Hawaii. But I remember looking at biological mum, with their children and seeing the look on their children's faces and their faces and it just seemed natural. And I kept feeling like, oh my gosh, I hate never had that. And I was jealous of these moms that had these relationships with their children, and they were gleeful and happy. And I mean, not. I mean, I'm sure I didn't see that their side because some lessons and it was fun, right with toys and whatever. But I just remembered having that distinct impression that my reality was much much different than these other moms. You know what I mean?

Diane Schroeder:

Well, now you're not I can imagine now you're also navigating connection with your children. And they look different. So that now there's diversity, there's inclusion, there's this, you know, sense of belonging, and then all of that external noise, while you're trying to bond and figure out, you know, parenting and family and everything else that goes with it. So, how, when you had your accident, how did that kind of reset your did it give you it was like, no pun intended, a hard reset of, Oh, crap. How did that change moving forward after your accident, and then after the amputation?

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So for me the idea of self-care which I don't like that term, I don't know what else to call it. But it was a non negotiable, it had to become a non negotiable. Because well, first of all, I didn't have a choice. I mean, I was stuck in a hospital bed in my living room for three months. And, you know, my kids had to learn how to like, throw their snow clothes in the dryer. And they had to learn how to do things for themselves. And I had to just cut myself some slack. And I think that was probably the biggest takeaway. And then, you know, even as I started getting better, like walking on crutches or being able to kind of like get up and about, again, I dealt with some chronic pain. And I still do, you know, like, you don't go through an accident like this and not have some residual effects.

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So yeah, and so I have to get to the gym, and I have to work out. Because if I don't, I can feel it in my body. It's like, I feel like I'm an old person with all the arthritis. And it's all post traumatic arthritis and stuff. So I have to do that. I also can tell that stress, like, I'll feel it, the way I saw, when I had my pelvic fracture, they put a couple of screws into my right sacroiliac joint. So I have back pain that I have to manage. But also stress, as I feel in my lower back.

Diane Schroeder:

I'm sure.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

And yeah, and if I don't listen to that, listen to my body. I mean, obviously stress, you can't always get rid of it, it's going to always be there. But like with my son, for example, I'll just have to kind of monitor how much time I spend with some of his behaviors. And I'll let my husband deal with it. And that's been an okay solution, because there's not an optimal one. A lot of parents in my situation have sent their children to residential facilities and things like that. I'm thankful that we worked hard on the front end. I mean, and granted, my accident happened. And I was I had a therapist, tell me, Chris, if you don't settle or slow down, and take better care of yourself, you're gonna something's going to happen. This was before my accident.

Diane Schroeder:

Oh, oh.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah.

Diane Schroeder:

Oh, I got some goosebumps.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Well, I know and but you know, where are these strong women, right? And we think, Oh, we can do all these things. And like, Oh, you don't know me well enough, you know, pile moron. You know.

Diane Schroeder:

I got this. I got this. Don't worry about it. Well, it's the hyper independence is a trauma response in itself, right? Like, I got it all. I can take it all I can. I can show everyone I've got this. And the universe gives those little nudges like, Hey, listen, listen, and then you don't listen. And then mother nature always wins.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah, I love what you just said that. Yeah, the universe gives us those nudges for sure. Like I see it in healthcare now. You know, I see this is like, we have a crisis in health care, because I think during the pandemic, a lot of us said, Hold on here. You expect me to do these things and put my life on the line and wait a second, my gut is saying that's not healthy, which is a good thing, you know?

Diane Schroeder:

Yes, yes, absolutely. Yes. That was

Chris Prange-Morgan:

What were you gonna say?

Diane Schroeder:

No, I said, Absolutely. That was just a another stressful time that we could probably spend a whole episode talking about being in healthcare during the pandemic and how terrifying that was for a lot of different reasons and how it's changed. I think, hopefully, for the better moving forward. The world and healthcare. It's a little rocky right now.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

I know. I know. I mean, I was going to ask just earlier like, well, you run into burning buildings for a living.

Diane Schroeder:

It's more of a walking with a purpose.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah.

Diane Schroeder:

And fortunately now I'm lucky enough that I don't have to, since I get to sit outside in the fire SUV and help coordinate the events, but yes, there's, there's some element of that for most of my life that was pretty exciting to go into burning buildings. And then I realized all the exposures to cancer and carcinogens and those things that I'm like, Ah, men.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

I totally hear you like, I used to work in the inner city as a social worker. And it was exhilarating. And you know, I, this was obviously way before kids in my accident, but I would walk into these really bad neighborhoods, carrying money and medications. And, you know, I could have gotten mugged at any moment. But I thought like, I was invincible, right? Yeah. But if there's anything that's really become clear with me over the years is the idea of mindfulness and checking in with yourself and what you're doing and my environment and wondering like, okay, is this the best thing for me like, right now, if I do this, what's the follow up going to be? You know, for example, you know, we hiked to Colorado, 14 or some years ago, our family because I'm always the adventurer. And that was great. It was wonderful. We got to the top and I, I probably hadn't acclimated well enough. But to the altitudes we went, we hiked up Grays Peak.

Diane Schroeder:

Uh huh.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

And I was like, why am I doing this? I totally over use my left leg. And my good leg went on amputated side. And I very likely have messed up my body over the years pushing it. And now I'm paying the price that probably need a knee replacement within the next five years or so like, you know what I mean, there's always things that you just don't think about. So, anyway, yeah, we have to treat our bodies well, because it's the only one we've got, right?

Diane Schroeder:

Absolutely. So now that you're through a lot of the messy middle of not that life ever gets less challenging. It just changes the challenges it throws at us, how is your son doing? How are you and your son doing? How's your daughter, she's getting ready to go off to college. So how does life look now that things have maybe settled a little bit?

Chris Prange-Morgan:

That's a good question. Back to the book, again, there's always this tendency to want to portray the happy ending, right? Or you know, that everything is fine. And I did have a coach that was like, Chris, you know, people don't always want that people want the real they want the grittiness. They want the they want to be able to identify with you. Right.

Diane Schroeder:

Right.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So I had a decision that I needed to make before publishing the book. And that was that I needed to make the decision about whether or not to use my children's real names. And I had to have a conversation with them about that. So I gave them the manuscript over their holiday vacation, and I said, I want you to read this, and we're going to talk about it, then you can tell me whether or not you want me to change your names. So in the book, I proceed to talk about my son who's now 16 getting this job working at this really nice restaurant as a busser. He has ADHD. So you know what, give a kid with ADHD a job bussing tables, and everyone is happy, unless they spill water on the patrons, but you know,

Diane Schroeder:

Life.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

yeah, so I mean, he's doing pretty well. And my daughter wants to work in health care. She has a job as a CNA right now. And she's going to be going to UW Madison in the fall working in healthcare of some capacity. So she did talk about my accident in her college essay. And, and it seemed to have worked out really well because she got accepted to every place she applied for. And I mean, she's wicked smart too a lot smarter than I am, when it comes to book smarts and stuff. But anyway, so they're doing really well. And when my son and I put this in the foreword of the book, you know that this conversation that we had about whether or not to use their real names, and my son became really tearful. We talked about his trauma and he talked about how he's proud that he's come so far. And, you know, I kind of hugged him, and I had him next to me. And I said, you know, are you sure? And he said, I want people to know that I'm a real person. And then I've evolved. So that was really cool. And my daughter was fine with using her name as well. But there's always the but because this is life, right? That very evening, my son, I was trying to fall asleep and here in Wisconsin, it was the middle of winter and I needed a warmer blanket. So I went upstairs to our chest to get a blanket and my son was hiding around the corner, it turned out that he had, what a, gone online and purchased a gaming computer with his debit card, unbeknownst to me, and he's opened up a fake PayPal account or with a fake name and a fake age. So like, so anyway, now thankfully, it was within the month that I could take it back to Best Buy. And we could, you know, get him cut off from his bank card and whatever. But that goes to show you that even though you think you're making progress, you know, the shit hits the fan when right when you think you're doing really well.

Diane Schroeder:

Right. Well, I mean, that's I had a discussion a couple days ago at work with some of my co-workers, and they were talking about Internet and security and how I needed to do all these things and lock it down before he gets his iPhone, and before all these things, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, I am completely failing. So I think that's just life, right? I think, you know, it's sometimes it's one step forward, and two steps back, sometimes it's two steps forward, and three steps back.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

It is it and these kids, they're like, it's second nature for them. It's like learning another language so they can figure out how to, like, you know, cut corners and get what they want. Like, I mean, more than I would even know. I, yeah, it's a totally different world.

Diane Schroeder:

But it's all skills that will be very helpful for them as they grow up. You know, it's and giving a I think it's giving that safe space to let them try it have consequences when it's not okay, but not totally unfixable. You can still you can still recover reasonably from it. And that's a great gift as a parent, you know, that's ,

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Right.

Diane Schroeder:

so I would say that you're, you're doing great.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Well, I just said to my husband, and like, I'm just glad that I had happened to go upstairs and get a new blanket. Because if had I not seen that? He could still be, well, he didn't understand the concept of debt. So we signed him up for a financial literacy class next

Diane Schroeder:

Perfect.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

year, because yeah, I mean, he needs to understand, you know, you can't just keep racking up debt that's going to just miraculously get paid by some stranger, or it would have been us because he's a minor, you know.

Diane Schroeder:

Right. Right. Right, that makes sense. It brings a question. And I think this is a great question to end our conversation. Do you believe you know, we all have those sliding door moments in our lives. And we all, you know, you can look back retrospectively and think, wow, these choices or these events that happened have kind of perfectly laid out, you know, kind of to give some why all these things have happened, you know, why you got cold, and this is what you found or your accident, realizing that time to slow down. So, do you believe in that? Do you believe that there's choices that you make throughout your life? And you may not know why you're making the choice, and it may not reveal itself for many years? But do you think about that?

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Wow, that's a loaded question.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Depends on the day how I would answer because, like, I run a parenting group with a friend of mine. And we also we all have kids with reactive attachment disorder. And a lot of folks have situations that have turned out worse than mine. I mean, like, not as far as my accident, but like their children end up incarcerated, or the criminal justice system or whatever. And, you know, they'll be like, I don't wish this life on anyone. And, you know, I remember thinking that when I was a younger mom, like, oh, my gosh, there's, like, I wouldn't wish this life on anyone. I'm miserable. I wouldn't encourage anybody to adopt. I wouldn't encourage anybody to like go into this without doing all your homework. But then I realized because I was on this Family Advisory Committee, that Children's Hospital with all these other moms that had kids with special needs, and you know, some had tracheostomies or genetic disorders or different kinds of autism and, and I'm like, nobody asks for the hands they've been dealt, or no I work in the rehab with the rehab population, folks with severe disabilities are very life impacting disabilities and nobody asks for that either, you know, so, you know, I mean, I work as a hospital chaplain right now, and really, I think, on the one hand, I don't feel like I'm as, "Happy as I was, like, all those years ago when life just felt like it was this grand adventure," but life is much more rich and full. And I feel like I've gotten a lot more wisdom from the people that I've talked with. I mean, just life makes more sense. And I'm able to give that to my children or transmit that to my children and help them in ways that are incredibly helpful. So I guess in no kind of full circle type of way, yeah, I mean, I do kind of feel like when it comes to being a mom, and the best mom, I can be, all of these things have helped, particularly like, I'm thinking about my daughter who's wanting to go into healthcare, like, she'll talk to me about things that will come up in her job, you know, like, patient types of situations and the process that she uses to make her up her decisions about things. And I'm like, I'm so proud of you, honey. Like, seriously, that was, that's kind of a grown up concept that your little 18 year old brain understands. And I don't know if she would have gotten that had she not lived through what she's lived through here.

Diane Schroeder:

Exactly. Well, and I think, you know, I'd be curious, I lied, I have one more question. I'd be curious if you wouldn't mind sharing what you've learned from your son and daughter, you know, you've taught them a lot, you've given them the skill set. And I would, I would say, the experience and the education and your background really helped. You maybe didn't feel like it at the time, because it was hard, you know, give them recognize the tools that they were going to need and being an advocate for them, which I think is really powerful, but also what have you learned from them.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So for my son, you know, he came to us with severe trauma. And I didn't know, the extent that that trauma would impact him for the rest of his life. You know, I mean, they don't tell you that upfront. So I've learned that, you know, he's a survivor to the core. And he kind of will always have that tendency to not want to get too close to people. And this is going to sound horrible. But we have this cat Nina, who we think had some trauma too and like, I'll tease my husband, because Nina doesn't want to go around men ever. She's like, she wants nothing to do with men. And I'm like, that's how our son has always felt about me, like because I represent the bio mom that left him. So some people go through life, dealing with their traumas, through different kinds of addictions, different sort of ways of coping, that aren't very, that are maladaptive. So, you know, I've learned a lot about just trying to navigate this world through my son. And, you know, I mean, as a social worker, too, I worked with people with all kinds of mental health issues and addiction.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

So that was helpful to coming full circle, because I'm like, if we don't, I would say, a lot. Like, if we don't deal with this now, like, when my kid was younger, he's gonna grow up, and he's going to have all of these additional problems.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

You know, like addictions? Because like, not knowing how to delay gratification is like huge. Right?

Diane Schroeder:

Yep.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Right. Right. Well, and then it it chases you, right, your, your struggles in life, they catch up with you, eventually, you can't outrun them. I believe that and I love what you said about nobody asks for the hand that they're dealt. And I think, you know, if you have a different hand, it's hard to see the perspective of, you know, someone that is struggling young, and just how grateful to address that early. So he's not dealing with it as a teenager when a whole slew of other pressures will become upon him.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, he hasn't gotten into vaping or anything. I mean, at this point, the only thing I see as an addiction for him is social, or is gaming.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Like, you know, I mean, that's how many kids are sort of addicted to gaming?

Diane Schroeder:

Oh, my son. Absolutely. That is our, that's our biggest challenge at times is the monitoring the gaming.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah. And that's, that's how kids interact. You know, it's a double edged sword, because,

Diane Schroeder:

It is.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

I mean, they connect with other kids through these little screens.

Diane Schroeder:

I know, I know. And I always tell my son, I'm like, "Look, your brain will not be fully developed for another 15 years, so you're just gonna have to trust me on this one. I'm looking at what's best for you".

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah, no, that's a great, you know, I should steal that. I should say that to my son. Your brain will not be developed for 15 more years.

Diane Schroeder:

Yeah. So like, and arguably some men I feel like it never really fully develops, but that's a different topic as well.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

My husband would concur, because he's like, you know, guy, we're knuckleheads. We're like, you look at you know, we're like, it's like, we're like dogs. You know, like, we like, you know, sex and food and like, you know,

Diane Schroeder:

Shiny objects.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah. I know.

Diane Schroeder:

Oh, that's awesome.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah.

Diane Schroeder:

So how can people find your book? How can they connect with you? I will also put everything in the show notes. But how was the best way to find you?

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Yeah, so, um, probably through my website, chrisprangePrange-Morgan.com. And my book will be ready for preorder pretty soon, I'm thinking at a couple of weeks, but it will be released in early May. And I also write for Psychology Today. I write up a lot about parenthood and, and disability types of topics and health care. So can Google be on there, and then I'm on Instagram too. So Instagram is one of those things I'm trying to get more involved with, because it's like, the little images are a lot easier than reading through big paragraphs on Facebook or something, you know. And Twitter just I still don't understand Twitter. I'm not really a big Twitter fan. But,

Diane Schroeder:

yes, same I say that's, I'm in the same boat. I like the pictures and the, you know, easy ease of that. So I will put all that in the notes like I said, and thank you so much. I am so excited to hear how things go with the book, I will put my name on the list for the preorder because I can't wait to read it. It's so fascinating in your story and the courage you have to share it. And the identifying your need for self-care. I mean, it's it's all the things right. And really, the leadership through all of it. You know, we didn't really talk much about leadership, but you definitely exemplify everything that a leader is so in your family. That's awesome. So thank you.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Well, thank you. And thanks for having this platform. That is just I mean, it just seems so like natural, you know, for women who have to find that fire inside of them.

Diane Schroeder:

Yes.

Chris Prange-Morgan:

Because we watched it for so long for so many generations, right?

Diane Schroeder:

That is a fact. And you know, let that fire burn bright because that's how we're going to change the world. Yeah. Thank you so much, Chris.

Diane Schroeder:

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to this episode. Curious on what to do next? Go ahead and follow wherever you're listening to this podcast so you can get updates each week when new episodes are released. And head on over to thefireinsideher.com/audio for a free audio to help you get started on your self-care journey.

Diane Schroeder:

Until next time, remember, you are a badass and you are not alone.

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