A Motherless Mother’s Day
It’s not easy celebrating a holiday dedicated to mothers when you don’t have a relationship with your own mother. Every card you read talks about this woman who is the epitome of perfection. She is kind, compassionate, giving, supportive, honest, loving, and devoted. My mother is few of these things, and certainly not to her children.
In October of 2014 I made the decision to go no contact with my mother. It was a long time coming, not my first attempt, and one of the most difficult choices, if not the most difficult choice that I have ever had to make. This decision came after many, many sessions with my therapist. I have always struggled with bouts of depression. It comes in waves, and at the time I felt like I was drowning. My health was beginning to suffer from the stress I was under, so I went back to see my therapist. A few months, a thousand tears, and an unmentionable amount of money later, I had come to the core of what was ultimately wrecking me. My mother and the cloud of negativity that surrounded her. I won’t divulge the details of the last 32 years in a blog post, nor will I hang our family’s dirty laundry out into cyberspace, but I will say, my mother is a narcissist. I’m talking textbook definition. The way she interacts with my siblings and I. The way she interacts with other family members. The way she interacts with outsiders. I have always been fascinated with human behavior, and I’ll admit, after being told my mother was a narcissist, I looked up everything I could read about it. I was on a mission to figure it all out. I read every article, every book, every expert advice column. I wanted all the facts. I needed them. I needed to understand the core of why I was the way I was, and ultimately find out how to be certain I don’t end up perpetuating the cycle, because it had become clear to me that my mother learned these behaviors from her own mother, and I wanted it to end there.
After cutting ties with my mother I started to find it easier to look at the positive aspects of my life. I was finding new ways to deal with negative thoughts and I was processing them far better than I ever had. My health improved. I was happy and confident in a way I had never been before. It allowed me to fall in love again. Matt and I had been dating for ten months, and it wasn’t until I removed that negative force from my life that I felt like I could truly love openly and honestly. Holding on to other people’s secrets will eat away at you the same way keeping your own does; you’re just living someone else’s lie. It was actually a comment my mother made about Matt, that was, as they say, “the straw that broke the camels back.” It was a superficial judgmental comment regarding his car at the time; as if material things are a justified reason for dating someone. I snapped. I laid it all out on the table and that was the last time we spoke. Admittedly, I could have been kinder in my delivery of my decision. I planned to be. I had envisioned a much calmer discussion, but what’s done is done. In the end what needed to be said was said, albeit delivered more harshly than I intended, the end result was as I expected.
After seven months of no contact with my mother, Matt and I announced we were pregnant with Harper. I can honestly say, if finding out you are pregnant with your first child doesn’t make you run to your mother with the news, you know your relationship with her is shit. I mean this was the biggest thing to happen in my life, ever, and I had absolutely no desire to share it with her; and I didn’t. I did however, become hyper focused and hell-bent on making sure I was going to be the best mother I could possibly be. In hindsight, I put an extraordinary (and unnecessary) amount of pressure on myself. The Virgo in me took my desire to be a good mother and theoretically ran the Boston Marathon with it. I was way too hard on myself; hopefully a lesson learned for the next time I get pregnant.
Becoming a mother has given me a sense of purpose. The moment Harper was born I understood why I made the decision I had, and I felt confident in it for the first time. Watching Matt with Harper was how I realized I am not alone. I have found everything I have ever needed. I have fallen in love with the person my soul aches for. We have a daughter who challenges me and strengthens me in a way I never imagined possible.
I know my family is unorthodox, but it’s mine.
I feel safe with them.
I feel secure in my abilities to be a good mother; with or without my own to guide me.
I don’t need a special day; mothers day is every day I get to spend with Soups.