Becoming a Mom

I never wanted to become a mom, nor a wife for that matter. I thought I was going to end up being that old scary woman who lived down the street in the run down house with about 20 cats. And I was ok with that.

Well I am old now and my house is pretty run down. I don’t have any cats though. There are too many coyotes here who love to munch on cats and I think it is cruel to keep cats indoors only. That is just me. Instead my son and I live together in this house that is quickly getting run down as the years pass and no money to pay for the maintenance.

During my free spirited single days, I avoided getting pregnant like the plague. I remember when friends would have babies and I had to go to the socially mandatory baby showers and “viewings”. I would watch all the women gather round the new baby or the pregnant mom and get all clucky. I would just sit in the background and smile silently. I felt absolutely vacant inside. I did not get it.

When I got pregnant with my son, I was terrified. I thought that I had nothing to offer a child, let alone provide for it. I also was terrified that I would become the same mother as my mother was to me.

In high school, I had been traumatized by something my sociology teacher said. After all of these years, I still can remember him saying that we end up pretty much parenting the same way our parents did. I carried that information with me until I got pregnant. It is amazing how much a piece of such insignificant information can have so much impact on some one’s life, but it did. I was horrified that I would verbally beat my child down the same way that it happened to me.

With the option of easily disposing of this “problem”, I would be a liar to say that I did not consider it. I was that scared and it would have been such an easy and quick solution to avoid that unknown road ahead.

I kept asking myself as to why I was so terrified? Women have been doing this since the beginning of time.  And why would I think that I am any less than all of those that went before me? Some women take pregnancy so casually and yet I was so serious and so scared.

There was no reason for my fears. I had a new husband, (he seemed like he liked children at least other people’s children) and a new home. I had finally gotten my B.A. (way too many years of intermittent school). Most of all, my biological clock was about to stop ticking, I was 41 years old.

If I could have postponed another 10 or 20 years, I may have. But probably not, and that is because I had already made that choice before.  I still silently mourn that. It is an ache in me that has never gone away.  Even now I am too ashamed to admit to the choice that I made (except for blogging here anonymously). Nobody ever warns you about it when you make that “right to choose”.

After giving birth to my son, I had the biggest epiphany of my entire life. So much love, that I never knew I had in me, gushed forth. I realized that I had discovered something so profound in my life that not even once had I considered that it ever existed. I finally got it. My life had taken on a whole new meaning. It was as though I had found the “missing link” in my life.

I found something that I did not even know I was looking for.

Those little arms reaching out to me completely changed how I saw life. I may have not felt worthy of this new found love, but I knew then, I would fight to my death to protect my child who had already given me so much.

I still feel the same.

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Family Secrets 1

This one is difficult for me to write. I believe that we all have our family secrets. Nevertheless, I cannot say for sure if everybody has them, because they are after all secrets.

The stigma of mental illness within a family is so shameful that it is more than what most are comfortable to admit. After all if it runs in the family…

I was in my mid 30’s when I found out that my grandfather committed suicide. It took that long for my mother to admit to that. He had apparently hung himself when my mother was an infant. All my life, I had just accepted that I did not have a grandfather and that he died way back when. It was in the “olden” days, and, people just died.

By nature, I just try to get along and not enter into too much conflict. Therefore, in my life, I observed and stayed silent. The roles in family are so complicated. I see it like a choreographed dance that we all move to our routine and try to stay in step. We try not to mess up so we don’t throw off everyone else’s beat.

To complicate the issue further, the narcissist in the family is so skilled in concealing his/her darkness. Other family members and friends may only see whoever the narcissist may purport to be. It is always a risk to confront the narcissist or to warn the family and friends. The risk is that you could be the one that will end up looking like the paranoid sociopath contriving stories to gain undeserved attention or sympathy. Then the narcissist deftly ends up looking like the victim.

I know this to be true from my own personal experience. For so many years, I have stayed quiet. In spite of my dilemmas in writing about my family secrets, I know I need to. I have many stories to share.

It was an evening in February of this year; I got a call from my mother. It was already a year into the divorce. My life was, as it still is now, a nightmare of survival. I kept my mother up on most of the sordid events of the divorce. I held back some because of her advanced age (she is 94 years old) and she never had any type of coping skills for any type of dissension.

The phone conversation opens with my mother saying to me, “I know why your marriage ended.” I was thinking well, yes, she was witness to a lot of the deceit, horrendous financial abuses and incriminating behaviors. So why is she saying this? She proceeded to tell me why my husband left me. She told me how I paid too much attention to my son and not enough to my husband.  She kept going on and on about my failures as a wife and as a mom. My mind was reeling because I could not understand where she was getting this. Then she finally told me that she just picked up an email from my Someday To Be X.

Yes, he sent her an email, he had always found a sympathetic ear in her when he wanted to complain about me all of those years. My mother and I never got along when I was growing up. Now with him on her side, she could validate that it was really my fault that I could not get along with her.

I was so devastated that she would even acknowledge anything he said; after all, she knew what I had to endure the last year.

How could she say this? And that is exactly what I asked her. She knew I was upset and she did as she always does, she started back peddling. The damage had been done and I was distraught. She treated me like I was blowing everything she said out of proportion. This was one of her many tactics that she would use to try and diffuse what she had done. We ended the conversation with her inferring that I was some kind of crazed woman overreacting to her innocent conversation.

In my sorrow that night I think I googled “mean mothers” and somehow I happened upon Narcissistic Mothers. I found the title of Dr. Karyl McBride’s book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”.  Luckily, it was at the library and I checked it out the next day. It did not take me more than 2 days to read the entire book

Finally, after all these years I got a spark of complete clarity. All of all those questions about myself that have haunted me all of my life were being answered.

I finally understood that it really wasn’t me. I have stayed silent all of my life because if I dared talk to someone about it, I sounded like some ungrateful brat.

As a child, I was showered with clothes and all the accoutrements that many a young girl would envy. It was just never anything I wanted.  My desires and needs were completely ignored and I only got what she wanted me to have.  Most people loved my mom and thought I was so lucky to get what I got.

Her favorite expression to this day is “I always wanted a daughter”. I know this to be untrue because I WAS her daughter and I was never right with her. I know that she really never  “always wanted a daughter”, she always wanted a clone!

Growing up, I was constantly reminded that I was unattractive and overweight. When I look at pictures of me from back then, I really was not even that big or horrible looking. Still, I will never forget the feeling of how ENOURMOUS and UGLY I felt. Back then, my appearance humiliated my mother and it was a huge source of her anger and frustration towards me.

On the other hand, my brother was good looking and everything that my mother would have wanted in a man. Therefore, he was indulged in what he wanted. I hate even writing this down because I know if he ever read this, he would beg to differ. We do not have the same memories of my mother growing up, even though we grew up in the same house. How could two people grow up in a house with the same mother and see things so differently? Now I understand, that happens it all of the time. I am 60 years old now and it has taken me this long to figure it out.

I left home as soon as I could. In my second year of college, I studied abroad. When the school year ended, I dropped out of college and got a job there. I traded in my return ticket for home and purchased one going the opposite way.

I embarked on a journey around the world. It was my form of no contact. It was the 70’s so no email or cell phones. For many years, the only address that I had was Poste Restante in an exotic far away city. I would maybe make a phone call to home on Christmas day.

It sounds like a great ending to running away from a Narcissist. Unfortunately, the story does not end there, it barely begins.

I have so much more to share, but it is too much to post now, I will continue next week with more about my family secrets.  Until then.