Elizabeth Smart Opens Up About How Her Kidnapping Ordeal Affects Her Parenting

Last year Elizabeth Smart, now 28, fulfillef her “greatest aspiration” when she became a mom to daughter Chloe,  now 9 months, with husband Matthew Gilmour. Smart spoke at an event in Oklahoma City to benefit the child-advocate group Court Appointed Special Advocates of Oklahoma County on Wednesday, telling the group that her kindnapping experience  had made her more “compassionate” and that her 9-month ordeal has also affected her mothering. ““It’s probably made me like the most paranoid, overprotective, annoying parent ever,” she said. “I’m definitely given a whole new depth of feeling about everything.”

elizabeth smart
Photo: CNN.com

She also said her own mother, Lois Smart, was instrumental in helping her recover from 9 months of rape and near-starvation. Elizabeth says her mother told her, “They’ve stolen nine months of your life from you that you will never get back. But the best punishment you could ever give them is to be happy, is to live your life, is to move forward and do all of the things that you want to do. Because by feeling sorry for yourself and holding onto the past and reliving it over and over and over again, that’s only allowing them to steal more of your life away from you, and they don’t deserve that. They don’t deserve another single second more of your life.”

Despite what she’s endured, Smart also told the crowd in Oklahoma that “I’m happy. I’m really happy.”

She also wants girls who’ve been sexually abused to know that another person’s acts can’t take away their self-worth. “You are always special. Nothing can change that. There’s only one of you in the entire history of the world, and there will only ever be one of you. Nothing can change that, and you don’t have to allow those events to control the rest of your life. It’s terrible and it’s miserable and nobody deserves it — but we can move on,” she told the crowd.

Inspiring words from an inspiring mom! We know Elizabeth is going to rock this mom gig—understandable overprotection and all.

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.