I had always dreamed of having children……well, daughters. However having worked with children, I was in no hurry to get started. By the time my husband and I agreed to try for a family I was 36 years old. We struggled to conceive and it put a huge strain on our relationship. Then in 2011, as a result of an IUI procedure I fell pregnant with twins. We were elated! I was fully committed to my pregnancy and ‘full up’ with contentment. I really felt there would be no problems from here on in. Unfortunately that Dec the twins hearts stopped beating in the first trimester. I was beyond devastated. A long scream came from my body and it felt like it would never stop. I went into therapy to support my grief. Having been unable to get pregnant and then losing the babies was playing havoc with some other pain I was carrying. All I wanted to do was get pregnant again as soon as possible. So by the January I was pregnant with Elijah. I continued going to therapy and grieving, and alongside this I tried to hold onto Elijah. I wrote him a journal, I sang to him….. “Please stay” I would whisper holding my belly. And he did. He is wonderful. I struggle to be grateful. I really struggle with the intensity of motherhood. I put myself under a ton of pressure, trying to undo my own experience of being a child.
My mother is an addict and chronic alcoholic. I spent a lot of my childhood overcome with fear….it swirled inside my stomach constantly and distracted me from my heart and the heart of others. I slowly went numb. I loved my mother so very much. She kind of wanted to make a friend out of me, and as a child I liked the fun part of that. I mostly wanted a sober, together mother to lead me into myself and the world. She was very distracted by her illness, and there were many things she didn’t see. In her absence of consciousness I was sexually abused but on a much deeper level, I was overlooked and grew up with great longing. She was loving, kind and cuddly…..but not consistently so. I think she is a lovely narcissistic….if there can be such a thing. My mother got sober and stayed sober for some time, when I was 12. It was then I started to fall apart. My body filled up with black rage that was mostly directed back on myself and at her. We went on like that for a number of years….me being angry and her being sorry. At the age of 23 I left New Zealand permanently and never went back. Our painful history sits between us as we muddle along trying to forge a relationship that works.
Your Mother, You, Your Children
The way I was mothered has definitely affected the way I mother. I constantly feel I am not giving, being, doing enough. “It’s not good enough”. This is how my mother felt about herself, it is how I felt about my own childhood and now I carry it into my mothering. It links all of our experience….I would like to change it if I can. Since becoming a mother I have felt both a little more compassionate towards my mother and a little more angry. Being a good mother is such a momentous task, one that is of great value to another little vulnerable human being and one that requires and deserves great commitment. I still feel she could, to this day, come to mothering differently. She is still drinking and it is a deep disappointment. She would love for me and my family (which now includes another lovely Son) to live in New Zealand so that she could have a closer relationship with me and my children. Part of me would like that too. Mostly I feel pulled between the fear of a closer relationship and the longing for one. I have thought a lot more about her since having my sons. I miss her. I miss having a mum around. If she were sober I know she would bring me baking, flowers and other little treasures as a wee way of sprinkling love on my life. I think of her everyday. I don’t know the way forward.