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Mothers

IF has changed my feelings about a lot of things–control, my body, my future, people poking my tender parts with objects–and many of those changes are positive. I’m actually glad to lose a bit of my modesty, and I recognize that I had to learn the lesson about not being in control of everything at some point. I do feel I’ve learned enough lessons and should get to have a child now, but okay. The effect has been negative, however, when it comes to my feelings about my mother. I understand that many people have mothers who are actually awful, and that I should be thankful for my mother’s good qualities and shut up. But I spent most of my life being thankful for my mother’s good qualities and would now like to take some time to be angry at her.

Between the time I was four and the time I was ten, my mother had three unplanned pregnancies. She had an abortion the first time, gave the second child up for adoption, and kept the last baby, my wonderful little brother. I could write about how heartbreaking it must have been for her, but this post is about ME and MY FEELINGS. These pregnancies made things so much harder for myself and my older brother. The details are boring, but trust me when I say my childhood would have been less scary, more secure, and more stable if she hadn’t gotten knocked up so often.

My mother believes that whatever happens is for the best. It’s not that I don’t buy into that at all–I do agree on some level. I know that we can’t foresee the consequences of seemingly negative events, bad can lead to good, etc. But it’s kind of a retrospective way to live your life. Plus, that attitude allowed her not to take responsibility for choices she made, and for the impact of those choices on my life. If everything sucked, well, that was somehow for the best. It’s hard to acknowledge that one has erred if whatever happens is for the best.

When I joined the ranks of the infertile I was already pissed off at her for getting pregnant so easily and so often. It was like she’d used up our family’s allotment of pregnancies and had somehow ripped me off. When I stupidly told her that we were having trouble conceiving, she said, I can’t pray that you get pregnant. I can only ask that what’s meant to happen will happen.

This comment might not read as deeply hurtful, but it hurt me deeply. You don’t get to say things like that to your child–you’re not allowed to say I can’t ask that you get what you want. Sorry. It’s not part of my belief system. And rather than saying nothing at all, I’m going to say something that highlights the already very salient fact that you may never get what you want! You’re not entitled to what you want!

It’s odd to want to be a mother so badly at at time when I’m so angry at my own. If I get to have children, I may make mistakes far worse than hers. But I’ll never refuse to hope that some reasonable request of my child’s is fulfilled. And I’m not sure I’ll ever entirely forgive her for that comment.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. My stomach lurched at your mother's comment. Yes, the awfulness of that statment is damn evident, no preface required. Completely ridiculous. Yuck. Blech. Urrrggh. 😦 It's astonishing to me how my relationship with my mother has influenced by desire to parent. For the bulk of my marriage (and lotsa years prior to it) I swore to myself that I would never have children. She made parenting seem like an burdensome, joyless chore. She manipulated the three of us (me and my sisters) against each other, and generally made me think that my adulthood was just a travesty waiting to happen. Ick. Yeech. Blurgh. Not trying to make this about me in any way, only aiming to say that I relate to your post in many ways.My whole parenting paradigm has shifted in the past few years, obviously, since I'm aching to have a family. When I really think about it, it fucking kills that I spent oh-so-many years scorning motherhood because of her. 😦 Sigh.

    January 11, 2010
  2. JC #

    I thought that comment was VERY hurtful! Ugh I'm really sorry! UGH I want to slap someone.

    January 11, 2010
  3. JB #

    Let's form a club, ladies….Ruined By Our Mothers. (An acronym pronounced "our bomb" has some appeal….) The only comments I ever got (when we were on speaking terms) was, "when are you going to give me grandchildren?" — as if it's my duty to do this for her. There was never any consideration A) whether that's what I wanted or B) that these would be MY children and not her playthings (which is, coincidentally, the rational and mature reason she had kids — brilliant). She would remind me in every. single. conversation. about my cousins who had kids when they were 15 or 16 years old, and how her sister gets to be a grandma and SHE DOESN'T. Yeah, super-awesome, so sorry I couldn't get it done shotgun-style and help you settle the score. Like Trinity said: *sigh*

    January 12, 2010
  4. Ooh, that hurts. If you said your life-long dream was to skydive off the empire state building, your mom is the one who is supposed to be outwardly 100% supportive even though she's secretly praying that you don't accidentally kill yourself. And we're not even talking weird life goals – we're talking about reproduction, which is 100% normal for everyone but us, it seems. One one hand – maybe she knows she screwed up so badly as a mother that you didn't have a good example and is worried that you might end up like her? It's irrational, I know, but she doesn't really sound like a rational person…I just can't imagine having a daughter and saying something so hurtful. Clueless is understandable, hurtful…well there's no excuse.

    January 12, 2010
  5. Al #

    Ugh. I hate that comment. That's incredibly hurtful from anyone, but from your mother that's like driving a dagger through your heart. I'm sorry.

    January 13, 2010

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