A year before we conceived our first child, G, I got a phone call telling me that Mother was sick. I hadn’t spoken to her in a year or so, and my gut told me that I needed to get back home. We made the 13 hour trip and arrived in time to find out that she had cancer. We spent five days with her, talking. It was during that time that she told me, “I don’t have a reason to fight this time.” I was floored. She was talking about while she was pregnant with me at 45 years old, and diagnosed with cancer the first time. My husband, W, and I decided that we wanted to start our family and I told her that. Something to give her hope. A reason to fight. We went home and dealt with the possibility that she would be gone soon. A month later she was gone, aggressive lung and kidney cancer moved quickly. I was broken, I should have been crying more but I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe that she was gone.
I didn’t go to say goodbye. W didn’t like the idea of me traveling while I was grieving and I agreed with him since he wouldn’t have been able to go with me. I should have gone and reasons that are another entry entirely.
We became pregnant that November and I was okay at first. Then the worry started, that I was going to be like my Mother. A harsh, overbearing, woman who played favorites. I didn’t want my daughter to feel like I felt growing up. It worried me until I gave birth to my beautiful little girl with inch long strawberry blonde hair. She was amazing, and I was going to do right by her. So, I began therapy.
The more I dug, the more it hurt, and the more I wanted to just bury my head in the sand and pretend that none of it was real. That I was remembering wrong, that maybe things weren’t so bad for me. After all, that’s what my family told me when I tried talking to them. They knew Her longer than I did. I was just a child. Maybe I deserved to be treated that way. I wasn’t enough, wasn’t special, I wasn’t important to her. So many memories came crashing down on me; attacks that I knew were not justified, and conflicting images of happy times.
I fought with myself for a while before I finally got in touch with Dad, he was a good man, strong and kept me safe the best that he could. I learned about things that she did that I wasn’t aware of, things that I didn’t know she had done. I hated her for everything she put me through. I resented her for giving up when she had the chance to finally, finally, be there for me when it mattered the most. And she was gone.
I stopped going to therapy and that wasn’t the right decision but at that moment I couldn’t face continuing. For a while, I was okay. And then we got pregnant again, our little coincidence.
I crumbled in the third trimester, I didn’t want to take care of my two-year old, G, I wanted to leave her in the crib all day and not even look at her. I didn’t want to take care of myself either. I got help. I talked to my Midwife and got the help I had been missing for 11 years. I found out what was wrong with Her, Borderline Personality Disorder. A serious mental illness that sadly most of the mental health community don’t know how to treat or even diagnose. I began reading everything I could find on BPD and it tore me apart. So much of it was the same. I had a name for it.
It wasn’t me. It was Her. She was sick.
I am still healing. Still recovering. Still dealing with some monstrous self-images that W and I are fighting to change.
This cycle ends here. With me and my girls. I won’t be perfect, but I will love them. And hopefully, they won’t need therapy when they get older.