This week the #sundayconfession prompt is ‘Never Again’. I try to not use that word. It generally doesn’t work out for me. I have a habit of lying to myself that I am trying to break with radical honesty and the word never tends to get me into trouble. That being said I have made a major life decision lately about something that I am finished with.
My relationship with my mother has always been complicated. I think there are a lot of women who can say that (and not more than a few men as well). She loves me. I know that. Now that I am a mother I fully understand just how much she loves me. If you ask her she would say that we have a great relationship. I’ve never really seen it that way. That’s one of the problems.
My mother doesn’t handle it well when I fall apart.
When I was finally diagnosed with Postpartum Depression I felt the shame and anguish that so many others feel. I also felt like that was just WRONG. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of being sick. I opened up to some of my ex-coworkers who had asked how I was doing. Unfortunately they were still my mother’s coworkers and when they asked her about my PPD she got very upset. While it had been perfectly fine for her to tell everyone what a wonderful mother I was and how quickly I was healing she was suddenly a ‘private person’ who didn’t want to bring ‘family things’ to the office. That was the last time that we talked about my PPD until recently.
One day she came over and I handed her the baby, went into my room and sobbed. I had held it in all day long, but I just couldn’t any more. Of course I didn’t want to scare him so I went into my bedroom and closed the door. But there she was – asking me over and over again what had happened. Did Dork Dad know what had happened? Since she had never read any of the material I had given her on PPD or ever asked me how it felt for me to be sick she had no idea that I spend my days trying not to cry. She honestly thought something had to have happened. It never occurred to her that I was sick.
Then there was the time that I was in the middle of a panic attack and she told me that I was getting myself worked up. That’s my favorite.
These are innocent slips for someone who didn’t know that I was ill. They are proof of ignorance about this disease, about the way my symptoms manifest and about what I deal with every day. From an acquaintance they would be totally understandable.
I am a mother. If the Tiny Tyrant came to me and told me he was sick I would find out every scrap of information that I could. I would try to be there for him in whatever way he needed me to – and not just in whatever way I was comfortable with. Every person is different. Every mother is different. I understand that more now than ever.
I realize that I am hyper-sensitive right now. My nerves are raw and exposed. Every slight wounds me far more deeply than it would if I were healthy. Still…
I got a text this morning from my mother saying that she understands what I am going through and that my Uncle never forgave her for trying to get him help.
What was I supposed to do with that?
In the past I would have reassured her that of course her brother forgave her and loved her. I would have called her and we would have talked for a while about Uncle Mike and their relationship. After about an hour she would have reminded me how much she hates talking on the phone and we would have hung up having ever actually talked about me.
This time I sent her an email. I told her that no, she does not understand what I am going through at all. She can’t – she has never asked me what I am going through. I told her that I do not have the emotional energy to help her right now. I suggested that we both just focus on the baby.
I can’t be the one who heals her relationship with her brother who has passed. I can’t focus on why she hasn’t been there for me emotionally. I can’t make her feel better about that. Right now I don’t even really have the energy to explain my PPD to her.
What I really can’t afford to do is to just pretend that everything is fine. That just leads to anger and resentment and then I end up picking fights and hurting feelings. I’m too fragile right now. I’m too selfish right now. I have to figure out my own oxygen mask and that tricky bastard just does NOT want to get or stay on!
This isn’t fair. None of this is fair. But as a great woman says, “If life was fair I would be dead”. So I will not fall into our usual cycle of fake forgiveness and real resentment. #neveragain
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