Spent the last two months hoping against all hope that my mother and father had not actually abandoned me and would recognize the generous friendly text I sent. We only exchange presents and Christmas cards each year through the post and have absolutely no contact other than that because my mother has been repeatedly out of control and dupes my dad into following her every manipulative idea - she is the expert after all.
I ended up feeling totally resentful that they had yet again ignored me, leaving me hanging, after that I had to place severe boundaries on them to stop them dropping in when they want, without asking regularly. I live 200 miles away from them and on my own and had clearly stated I did not want visitors at the minute thank you, and I would let them know when I did.
Even though I copied in others to the text - who responded within a day or two (so I know it was received) I got no reply from either parent. I felt manipulated after 6 weeks, and alone, and know it is my mothers method of control. It is possibly stemming this time from her resentment of me finally forcing an absolute boundary on her in the summer and threatening her with police if she didn't stop what she was doing and actually meaning it since I had already spoken to them.
It is a tactic she has used before to manipulate/punish me into chasing them from what I now know is from triggering my fear they have yet again abandoned me. And yes I fell for it and sent another text.
And this time I got a reply from both of them! My mothers text was long, to control the conversation, where my dads text was very short with two lines.
My mother thinks she is a psychologist because she has a psychology degree, but she didn't make the grade and couldn't do the clinical psychologist degree or practice. I feel that she is really an amateur just like the rest of us but she makes others think and treat her like the expert with these ridiculously big theories of hers about people and why they are doing things that always make her look the overly kind martyr our relationship.
The thing is all her communication always makes me feel that we are lacking on a deep emotional level. It seems to be caring from the outside to strangers or people who don't want to get involved and not read in context but if you experience it, it feels so hurtful, so nasty it takes my breath away sometimes. From someone considered to be so sensitive to others needs and feelings she can read them and speak for them to others?
Anyway I digress, this text started with congratulating ME for contacting them! After I contacted them originally and they ignored it completely 2 months ago!?
Next she gave an answer to my original question but made it so insignificant that it makes my original offer basically devoid, and it won't put me in any special light at all.
The final point was classic, after having years of me being repeatedly abused by men sexually, physically, verbally, emotionally and becoming completely isolated from all friends and colleagues after my last seriously abusive relationship with a man who was diagnosed psychotic and completely betrayed me. I wanted to believe I could have a relationship with somebody/anybody and surely he must love me or be able to appreciate me? I was so physically ill from the stress of my last abusive partner that I actually developed an serious auto immune disease and nearly died. I didn't see the symptoms and have had 9 operations in the last two years at the age of 44, it is blatantly clear to everyone I will not be having children of my own even though I would have loved to, really loved to, even if it was still physically possible and some man could see past the colostomy bag I now have as a result. My mother has taken it upon herself out of the blue this year to start announcing when every single woman is pregnant or has had a baby. The last point on her text was how someone who I don't even know because she didn't include the last name (I believe she wants me to fish for info) has had a baby. Something I can never do and on my own have come to a good place about it, until its flagged up by my mother who has also had her own children and knows it all....
It just makes me feel so floored by her every time and so crazy, even though I know we have a dreadful relationship where I literally don't want to have anything to do with her and I know she is showing others including my dad, saying look how generous I am even though my daughter doesn't want to have anything to do with me, and I am filling her in with all the family news and keeping her up to date, but with all the news from an entire family who basically abandoned me to her sick behavior my entire life.
I've tried having nothing to do with her, I find putting boundaries in place is absolutely impossible. I feel traumatized just trying to work out what boundary it is I need to put in place because I'm so unpracticed in it.
I've tried being what she wants me to be and its never enough. I'm upset, hurt and doing the bad things I learned from my mother/father in all my relationships. Trusting people I shouldn't even though I'm looking hard and not trusting those I should. I learned to repress and not act on my instinct in order to stay safe from her anger and revengeful behavior once my dad and others weren't around as a child. I take the wrong choices regularly due to the trust issues providing proof to my mother and the family, if they should ever need it, that I am completely the rotten apple and they are the long suffering martyrs all along.
And I keep hearing from my dad 'Well you were perfectly capable.'
I want a baby.
I want one so bad that I can feel the aches and pains as if I'd been punched in the gut.
I turned 30 this year. I know intellectually that 30 does NOT mean all is lost. Emotionally? It feels like the beginning of the end.
I FINALLY got my husband on board with infertility testing. Seriously? Took freaking forever. He wants a baby just as badly as I do, but apparently he thinks they come from the brier patch or some shit. He did his testing, and he got the high five from my doc when everything on his end turned out fine (seriously, a high five. You can't make this shit up).
Then I got laid off.
Sonofabitch, I seriously got laid off and half of our monthly income is gone. Unemployment in my state is a joke, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?
But "nothing" is what it means for any future infertility testing, or treatment, or any of my hopes and dreams. Even once I find a job, the momentum is gone, and my husband isn't on board anymore because there's so many other things he wants to do with that income (i.e. shiny toys). Fuck this shit.
Yes, I'm pissed. I'm pissed because I gave up my dreams for a family and to be married to this man, who admittedly, is pretty darn perfect in every other way.
He's supportive and loving and attentive, but he doesn't have the ambition or attention span or whatever to actually TRY for a baby in the medical sense. So, I basically gave up my lifelong ambitions and dreams for something that may never happen.
Fuck you Universe.
How can this be happening?
I'd like to say that I know everything will work out fine in the end, but my overreaching anxiety keeps me from being that optimistic. Instead, I cry when he goes to work.
I cry and I hope that this month will be the magical band aid. "Maybe this month will be the month that defies all odds, right?" Yea, it hasn't happened yet. 55 months since we started trying. 4 years, 7 months and we still don't have a baby, and there's no indication it will happen anytime soon.
A blocked Fallopian tube, fibroid tumor, hemorrhagic cyst, and God knows what else because I can't afford further testing. Basically, I'm fucked.
My reproductive system has said "Fuck You" in a magnitude of epic proportions.
But all I want is a baby. I used to daydream about how I'd tell my family and what I'd name my child. I'd imagine life with several children and how sweetly chaotic it would be. I'd think about the best places to live in our area with access to the best schools, and how many children we'd have.
Now all I want is one.
Just one healthy baby.
Is that really so much to ask?
We waited for him.
We prayed, we hoped, I cried. Miscarriages.
We spent money that we didn't have and I went for daily ultrasound, blood work, tests. Infertility. Devastated and alone.
I blamed myself because I could have been a better person and been a better wife and a better friend.
We tried three months of infertility treatment which included shots, pills, and having people know your private parts better than you do.
A miracle! They call it "Spontaneous Pregnancy" - something that was not supposed to happen. Overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to God.
My first husband and I were married for ten years. Almost the entire time, I was desperate to have a child. We tried everything short of in-vitro fertilization, with no luck. Eventually, we were able to adopt, but that desire for a child that I could carry in my own womb was overwhelming.
After four years of marriage, I found out he had been cheating on me. As time went on, I came to discover he had always cheated on me, and the number of women was terrifying.
Aside from the fear of STDs, my worst fear was that in the middle of my infertility hell, he would impregnate one, if not several, of his mistresses. After all, he had done it before!
When we had been married for five years, he admitted that he had another "potential" child. He tried to claim that this child may not even be his. That son was only six months younger than his second child with his first wife - who he also tried to claim might not be his.
I tried to tell myself that these things that happened before me didn't matter, but I could quite never shake that feeling that if he'd done it once, he would do it again.
We divorced shortly after our tenth anniversary. He married his mistress of three years. She left him when she realized he was cheating on her, too. Irony at its best. I remarried, my ex eventually gave up his rights to our daughter; she was adopted by my husband, and I gave birth to an amazing little boy.
It has been eight years since he left me for Wife #3.
His birthday was last week. I wish I could forget that date, but unfortunately, it's a permanent fixture in my head. His sisters and his mother took him out to eat for his birthday. One of the sisters posted pictures on Facebook from the dinner.
At first, I just scrolled past them, but a sense of morbid curiosity made me go back and look through them. Few things are as satisfying as knowing that your ex is falling apart without you.
Sure enough, he looked like crap. He's put on weight. He's not aging gracefully. It makes me much too happy.
Among the pictures was one that made my heart stop. There was a little girl. She was about the age of my daughter. I knew she didn't belong to either of my former sisters-in-law.
In another picture, she was standing next to him with her hand on his shoulder in a very comfortable, affectionate position. Looking at the two of them together, I was stunned to see that she looked exactly like him. Same facial structure, same chin.
He has a daughter.
A daughter that is too old to have been conceived after he left me.
Hoping that I was wrong, I sent a message to his sister asking her who the girl was. When she didn't answer back, I knew I had my answer. She finally did answer more than 24 hours later, saying she wasn't comfortable answering questions about her brother.
If that little girl had belonged to anyone other than him, she would have just said so. Not talking about her brother was the proof I was looking for.
At first, I was furious! Enraged! Pissed!
How DARE he get some other woman pregnant when I had suffered for so many years to have a child with him!
I sent the picture to several friends and family members, to get their opinions of whether or not I was imagining things and jumping to conclusions. Everyone agreed: that's his daughter.
And who knows how many more children he has running around in this world!
I was still shaking several hours later when I went to bed. I couldn't sleep, thinking about confronting him. Whether I would punch him or just slap him when I saw him. After a few hours tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep.
The next morning, however, I was fine.
I realized it really didn't matter.
I always knew there was a good chance that it would happen. I was grateful that I didn't find out about her when I was still married to him, or I would probably be in prison for murder right now.
My daughter and I are free of him. He can't hurt us. And the fact is, he is not worth the time and energy it takes to be angry with him. He is a scumbag, he has always been a scumbag, and he will always be a scumbag. Who cares how many illegitimate children he has? That's his problem, not mine.
I believe in God. I believe that one day we will all have to answer for our sins. My ex-husband is going to have some pretty major sins to answer for someday.
I think I'll just worry about my own life.
It's not uncommon to see my clients struggling to own their stories; especially to own every single part of their stories. We can all struggle to own, accept, embrace, and maybe even like every part of our stories.
I've been asked, "How do you just put it all out there without any qualms or fears?" I make sure to be very real, very honest, and very brave. Owning all the parts of my story, even on my strongest of days, involves mustering up courage; this courage does not exist without fear.
On the good days, I say who I am, my choices, and my mistakes without skipping a beat; palms dry, voice steady, my light shining through.
On the harder days I say who I am, my choices, and my mistakes while stumbling over words; palms clammy and hot, voice shaking, and yet, I make sure my hope shines through.
It's only been through my own brutal work with my therapist that the ownership of my story has strengthened. With this continued work, practice, fight for recovery, my shame slowly dwindles.
I will continue to own and tell my story to help and change myself and - hopefully - others. I can only do this with bravery, feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.
I was recently challenged about the amount I am able to own my story within the limitations of judgment. We all judge, some more so than others. We have all been judged, some more so than others. I'm not sure we'll ever fully escape this human experience of judgment.
What I do know is that the more I accept, embrace, and own my story - all the parts of my story - including the really difficult, misunderstood, invalidated, and judged parts of my story is that this judgment doesn't have any room to grow.
It is really difficult to truly judge someone who wholeheartedly accepts, embraces, and owns themselves and every single part of their story.
I am not sure there will ever be a day that I am not judged on my story:
Judged for not figuring out how to try more rounds of IVF, both financially and emotionally,
Judged for knowing and making it clear that we are not choosing to adopt,
Judged for accepting a child-free life while leading a very child-full life,
Judged for living this all out loud,
Judged for attempting to change the shamed silence of infertility,
Judged for authentically living my work in recovery,
And judged for being the genuinely vulnerable therapist that I am.
But I dare you to hold on to your judgments as you read my words let alone hear me speak my story.
I dare you.
I am a survivor of infertility and IVF.
I stopped treatments after two failed rounds, because for us that was enough.
I know adoption is not my path to a family.
I bear the soul scars of three never-to-be babies, and yet I am still a mother.
I accept a child-free life, while having a very child-full life.
I will spend the rest of my life finding the end to my story by giving people permission to break the silence of infertility, and to break the silence of any of their sufferings.
I am resolving to know more than one happy ending.
I am an open and honest therapist who fights for her own recovery.
And, I dare you to judge me.
I have faith and trust that when I own every single part of my story, through my fear, shame and all, your judgment will become uncomfortable enough that your world will open up.
You will learn. You will see me - all of me. With that sight, I can only hope you grow a little more educated, a little more compassionate, and a lot more brave yourself.
And, I assure you, I will not allow your judgment and your misunderstanding to dim my light.
I will own it.
All of it.
Because only then do I find myself again.
And, only then will this light shine bright enough to hopefully give others the ever upward courage to do the very same.
I dare you...
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