I found I was pregnant at 19 unexpectedly. I was in a bad relationship with a man 16 years my senior. I had no family around me to speak of and a handful of friends. I was depressed throughout the pregnancy, and the birth was a long drawn out exhausting four day endurance. Needless to say I had postnatal depression after my daughter was born. Shortly after she was born was the last time I saw my own mother, we met for tea and she held her briefly. I’d had a horrific time and was craving support. But she only talked of herself. I decided then that she could give nothing to my life anymore and there was no room in her heart for my child either. My first year with her was a roller coster of going to work, leaving my partner, finding myself living on my own for the first time and comparing myself to my own mother. I felt I was becoming her and at around 14 months old I decided that wasn’t going to happen. I stopped working, I starting taking an interest in my child, and learned how to cook and eat properly. I became less selfish and I learned how to play for the for the first time in my life. I met my now husband shortly after this, he took on my daughter like she were his. We began to plan another child, and are blessed with another daughter. Though she had a lot of medical needs for her first few years. My husband adopted my first child and I felt a loss for my daughter but huge relief that she had a chance at a normal family.

Your Mother

My mother is narcissistic. She became depressed before my father left, I was the youngest of three. She neglected us horrifically, I have begun to recognise how important food is in my life due to the lack of it when I was a child. Happy memories were only there from visiting a few relatives, my Aunty and my granny stick out most in maternal memories. Non very affectionate physically, but I see them as my role models, I liked how being with them made me feel. Food was also a big part of that interaction, there would always be lovely food. And a lovely dining table set out beautifully. Like in books. After social care removed us from her when I was ten, my mother stopped contact. I tried to keep it up and then make sense of it as she speaks to my brothers, but I realised that you don’t have to like your parents just because they’re your parents. At times I have been bitter that I don’t have what normal people have, a mother to help them plan their wedding, cuddle you when things go wrong, go shopping with, to be proud of you, on the end of the phone. I was never going to have this from my mother even if we had stayed in touch. I feel like someone who lost their mother when they were a tiny child. But to say she died might imply that she loved me after all. But I don’t think this is so. Maybe once, a very long time ago. But not now.

Your Mother, You, Your Children

My children are older now. I am enjoying them more now. I spent their formative years stressing over money, work, identity, fitting in, doing things right, their wellbeing. Now I work in children’s services myself, and I can see now I did a good job, and I wasn’t a bad more and my children are turning out ok. I have broken a cycle before it began. Sometimes I hear my mother in the he things that I say, but I am so reflective I am aware of it and stamp it out quickly. I make a monumental effort to educate my children on life and living, I help them be independent by cooking, ironing, cleaning, washing. We talk about why people behave in certain ways and how to cope with situations, we use cognitive methods to keep a positive spin on things. It’s hard work and we don’t achieve it every day. It sounds like we don’t have any fun and it’s all boring, but we do. We have a lot of family time. I couldn’t enjoy being a parent until I let go. And it took me nearly eight years to do that. But I feel I am on the right track. I see my role as a grandparent as a very high honour. To be there for two generations, helping my daughters through to the things mine didn’t. Relationships, birth, marriage, life. I hope I am around long enough to give guidance and knowledge to those generations and the same passion to them to pass onto their children and grandchildren.