Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Mother

Please note that this post is not about working mothers or that topic. This post is about my Mother and my own thoughts and feelings.)

Why is that every time I talk about my Mother, I have this need to start by saying “I really love her, but.”

During my life my Mother has never been like other mothers. She worked full time, and I was her part time duty. Sadly, this is exactly how I always felt. It wasn’t the other way in our household.

She never came to school events or dropped me off the first day or came to my kindergarten graduation. She took pictures of those first school events, then sent me in the bus.

When I got old enough (about 6), I was a latch key kid. I would let myself in, do my homework, and watch TV. Later, at about 8, I was given the responsibility of caring for my younger sister who was two at the time and did until I started my first job at 14. I wasn’t allowed to do after school activities; no dancing or musical instrument or sports.

And when I say tell you these things, it isn’t for you to feel bad for me. Because most of the time, I didn’t know any better and was perfectly content. The weekends I would play with my cousins and I was a normal kid.

It is now, as I look back at it, I realize that I didn’t have much of a normal childhood compared to other people. I look at the situation and ask why? And I realize that it is because my Mother didn’t have a normal childhood either.

She was the eldest to a mentally ill Mother. As a result, at the age of ten, she was forced to be responsible for her three younger siblings when her mother was institutionalized. She grew up very early. And at the same time, there are many characteristics she has that shows me she never truly grew up either. Both resulting from this very same reason.

As I need to say this, we are far from a normal family.

And the family dynamics! They are very much set in stone and as a result, if I try to deviate all hell breaks loose. (I believe this is why my Mother is having such a hard time with my infertility.)

For all intents and purposes, I’ve always been the easy child; healthy, hard working, easy going, obedient and accommodating. For the most part, I never bothered my Mother. She didn’t really have to act like a parent, because she raised a very independent person who followed her rules, never bothered her in any way, and took care of herself.

So now that I am dealing with infertility, she doesn’t know what to do with me. I am no longer easy. I am going thru a difficult time, which she has no idea how to relate to, commiserate, or empathize.

And this is the part that makes me feel as if I have a HUGE bruise on my forehead from hitting my head on a wall.

Despite the fact that she lost a child at 8 months of pregnancy; despite the fact that her OB didn’t give her a simple shot to counter her Rh- status, and caused her to be unable to have another child for five years; despite the fact that I know, from talking to an Aunt, that she was worried that she wouldn’t be able to conceive again because it took over a year after for to get pregnant with my sister.

Despite all of that, she still can’t empathize. She can’t find any words that may help me. Instead she views my standing up for myself, as confrontational – bitchiness. A lack of compassion for her because I can’t see how it effects her – that all of her friends and family are grandmothers and how that is what she wants for herself. (She is very good at the Catholic guilt.)

My response to her insensitivity – to seek counseling, to talk to my sister (our relationship is stronger because of my mother), complain to T and realize that she is incapable of handling any of my problems. Since my role in the family dynamics is to help and not need help.

And use the same guidelines that I use for everyone else. Will setting them straight help in any way or will only cause me more aggravation. With my mother, the answer is 99.9% of the time B. As a result, except for when she asks (in a very high level way), I don’t talk about it.

But overall she is a good person. And all of those insensitive comments, hurtful looks, and feelings of inferiority – well I don’t think she intends them. I think they are her gut reaction, and instead of recognizing that and realizing how hurtful it is to me. She is incapable of seeing what she does to me.

Deep down, I know, that she cares that she wants to help. Because, here is another kicker, she will be giving me money for the insurance for the procedures. She wants to help. So ultimately, like most major events in my life, my Mother is helping me financially, instead of emotionally.

Sadly, most days I would rather the emotional support. But, I love my mother.


Unknown said...

It's very obvious how much you love your mother, and how much you need her to be there for you while you go through this. She sounds emotionally unable to do that, though - a result of her upbringing, I'm sure. But even though you can see that, can see that it's not a lack in you, but a lack in her, it's hard to deal with. Because you wish it were otherwise. And I know exactly how you feel. And I hope it stops being quite so painful for you.

Kir said...

Oh you love your mom, I can tell.

I can identify so much with this post. My mom didn't have an easy childhood and when we were growing up, both our parents worked, my mom was getting her degrees from the time I was 8 until 17 and working F/T , teaching, nursing and basically not being home. We had a lot of responsilbility too, and although I did have a lot of after school activities and a "life" I missed my mom. A short story, the day of my junior prom my mom was in Nashville, TN at 6am, she got on a plane to come home and 3 stops later, came into the house about 15 minutes before my date and I were leaving. Now she had shopped for that dress with me, she had taught me hair and makeup for it, etc and I'll tell you what I remember most of that story. It was how happy I was that she got to see me. In the final analysis, she did the best she could. When I think of it , I never begrudged her that life, she was bettering herself and trying so hard to be a mom too...
she's a better mom today, for me. In the beginning of my IF she was not. She was crtical and harsh and judgemental, but the past 2 years have been wonderful with her support and belief guiding me. I understand why you feel you need that from her. My mom might not offer me $$$ for the IVF, (or she might...I never count on it, but I know she will try to help if she can) but from an emotional standpoint she is really on my side, in my corner and is the "faith" I need going into this.
I'm sorry I hijacked this post, I really wanted you to know that you were not alone and that I knew how you felt.

*shutting up and hug*

Baby Blues said...

It shows that you love your mom dearly and she loves you too! She just probably has a different way of showing it.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

What a touching ending. The juxtaposition of needing the emotional support, but receiving the financial support.

Hang in there, Flutter. You can tell how much you love your mother from this post. Someone who didn't love intensely wouldn't care so intensely.

Nicole said...

Reading this post was like reading my own diary. We grew up in a very similar way. And my mother sounds strikingly similar to yours. After years of fighting with her, she is now afraid to say anything because she is afraid of saying the wrong thing, again. If she can she gives me money to help when things get bad, but she has never been capable of giving emotional support. For me to finally start to grow up, I had to work on knowing her limitations and what she was capable of. It sounds like you are already pretty much there. And no matter how we try to accept their limitations, I still get sad about them.

Unknown said...

Hang in there Dianne. My mom and I had a rough time when I was growing up-the ugly fighting, screaming, slamming doors kind of fighting....But we get along. Better than ever-and even though she doesn't always say the right things, and even though she's so VERY different from me, I still love her.

It's clear that you love your mother like any daughter would. It's a shame that you didn't feel that compassion and support growing up-when you probably needed it most. But, I'm glad she's there in SOME aspect for you now. I know it's not ideal, but it's something, right? Good luck with your upcoming cycle! :)

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