Breaking The Cycle (Graphic)
|The start of my c-section birth|
Motherly instincts sprouted at a mere 12 years old, when my mother, pale and sick, dropped her newborn into my arms and said, “Here, take him.” She would refuse to leave the house for 6 years following that date; part of it sickness and fear of The Outside World, and part of it punishing my father and not wanting to be seen with him.
I loved the boy she handed me. We did everything together in his toddler years - anything fun and adventurous that could be done in the Middle of Nowhere. He didn't look like my Benjamin doll with the single blonde curl, but he was real, had brown hair, and the greenest, happiest eyes. If I had known he would never again be in my life, I might not have left. I might have held him tighter. I might have fought harder with the government to see that all members of my family were safe instead of focusing on my aversion to foster homes and my own predicament. Maybe a foster home would have been safer for him. I'll never know.
But I know eventually, after years of regret, I would make the best choice. And that I would experience the purest love I had ever known. A love that is selfless, greater than myself, and will withstand the test of time. There is nothing that can heal me quite like this genuine love has.
It wasn't just I who made this choice; my spouse showed a lot of courage, too. I was so lucky to have found someone who didn't demand a termination, seeing that although we grew up together, we'd known each other a few months as adults and had to make a very adult decision together.
Hearing his heartbeat spoke to me in ways I can never describe, and it became, in a short time, what you see now; a breathing person, spewing out amniotic fluid and sucking in his first taste of air. His resemblance to the both of us put the rumors to rest. Of course, there were family members gossiping, saying awful lies, calling in the wee hours, warning Joel to leave, and never look back because I had a history. Listen, I was a whore as a virgin, simply by wearing a little make-up. That was no news. And if anyone need know, I'm a faithful, committed spouse and my number one priority is my family. Phew. Glad I said it. But let's dwell on the positive as I don't wish to take away from this beautiful moment.
Life wasn't easy. It's not like I pressed a button and all problems were solved. My past friendships slowly disappeared (I was the clean, new, improved, sober me) and honestly, the people closest to me besides Joel were his immediate family and my dear sister. Message people. You can imagine how their well-meaning but hurtful words affected my mental health. I shouldn't watch t.v. or I'd become demon-possessed. They'd remind me to pull up my shirt if the neckline was lower than they liked. I was so self-conscious. I had jumped from a glamorous, money-throwing, party life directly into responsible motherhood, surrounded by the people of my religious upbringing.
I also experienced the worst possible symptoms of PTSD and anxiety. I questioned my sanity. I started seeing psychiatrists. I finally sought long-term, extensive therapy because it was time. The other methods and vices hadn't worked. I needed to know that my parents hadn't passed on their mental illnesses and that I somehow, unknowingly, could harm my child. It sounds foolish now that I’ve recovered but what with the flux of post-partum hormones and hearing about evil spirits and phobias from those around you, perceptions of reality can shake you up. Especially when brainwashed since a child!
My sister, Josephine, during this time grew much closer. Some of the things she said blew out the foundations from under my feet. I worried about her. But like old times, she was once again my best friend. Thanks to her gracious attitude, my son has a beloved Aunty.
This love grows every day. He loves me back, and the few family members on Joel’s side that he's met. He's a curly-haired firecracker, the image of my favourite childhood doll. He's strong-willed and mischievous like his mother was. Wink. He swipes the bangs out of my eyes and in his two-year-old voice, tells me I'm beautiful, not to cry, and that's it's going to be alright. Yes, I loved my youngest brother to pieces, but this love consumes all of that pain. I've experienced the most unconditional love on days when I can't love myself. The love of my past family had limits, and evoked scars; my naive self searched to replace it in other people and found more abuse each time. Yet I know what love is now, and it keeps me alive.
I hope that this statement will encourage someone. While parenthood is not the answer for everyone, I know that love and connection is still out there, whether through friendships, therapy, romantic relationships, family, or maybe in a spiritual sense. And it's the key instrument to your healing. Don't give up. If you're a good person, there's more of your kind out there!
My therapist told me, “The loss or hurt of a relationship is what sparked your pain and it will be a relationship that heals you.”
She's right, I believe. Choose wisely.
Thanks for reading.