Saturday, July 15, 2006


She conceived through IVF. She bled throughout her pregnancy. She had the worst labour I have heard about (ending with a full anaesthetic and emergency cesarean after 36 hours). Her husband is in Germany for work. Her baby was screaming with pain over teething and a rash all last night. She was exhausted. And she had the most patience I have seen with a baby who wouldn't settle.

I commented on this when her daughter finally went to sleep this morning.
"I wanted this so much - we worked so hard for her - I can't help but be surprised and grateful for the fact that she is in my life every morning. She is our miracle."
I only hope that I can be so selfless when the time comes. It was hard to watch her baby screaming like she had been stuck with a pin (or several thousand pins!). I was stressed for her, for both of them, but she was calm and persistent and I was very humbled by her whole approach.

We have talked for hours. She understands what I am going through and understands exactly why I haven't told my mother. I haven't really written much about my mother. I love her, I really do, but she disappoints me time and time again. She never fails to misunderstand me. She always tries, but completely misses the mark. She is judgemetal and harsh. Righteous and sanctimonious. She suffers from two fatal afflictions - bigotry and expert's disease.

I often wonder how I am me after a childhood with her. We fought like anything when I was a teenager and I am convinced that much of my rebellion was fuelled by a desire to rebel against her. I don't rebel any more, of course, not overtly anyway. And we really do get on fine. Don't misunderstand my intent - it's not to whinge about my mother (although I am!). But I could never, ever tell her what I am doing and expect understanding. I don't want to risk it and open myself up to her judgements.

When my cousin was talking to her the other day, she mentioned that she was coming to stay with me. She said to my mother that she hoped it would be ok if bub was a bit of a disruption to us (a little prophetic, as it turns out). My mother said, "it will be good for her! She needs some disruption to her routine and calm life. She needs to know what it will be like if she ever decides to stop focusing on her career and those two ever decide to have children!"

I have heard it all my life but it stabs all the same. Does she really know me so little to think that I am purely and solely focused on my career? It pains me that she believes me to be so shallow. That she hasn't even bothered to ask but made assumptions about me which paint such an unflattering picture.That she thinks me so selfish that my life is all about me. That my childlessness has been a decision! I feel like screaming at her again. To spit out my experiences of the past 2 years. To shame her pious smirk.

But I can't. She is my mother and she doesn't get it. She never will. I keep it all in because she judges so terribly. Anything personal I have ever shared has been twisted and distorted and regurgitated back at me, a horrible mess of cynicism and disbelief. And returning, always, back to her. Nobody could ever have had it as bad as her. Nobody has ever sufferered like she has. If I told her about us now, there would be some way of bringing it back to her. And then she'd tell me how to do it. And, especially, what I was doing wrong (which would, undoubtedly, be all of it). She'd tell me it was my fault for leaving it so late, for marrying the wrong one, for going on holidays and spending my money, for going back to uni, for getting a promotion.

I can't do that to myself.

The cobwebs are still there.

And I want to keep loving her.

That bit is hard at times. I have to work at it. I have to bite my tongue and ignore half of everything she says. And never share.

Her sister, my cousin's mother, is as opposite to my mother as two siblings could be. She is my Godmother and I have always been able to tell her more and get on with her far better than my own mother. As a child and adolescent, I would beg to stay with them over school holidays and I used to pretend I was one of theirs. The warmth and affection and thinking and talking that was encouraged in their home made me feel, well, home. Whenever I visit, I still do.

Since my cousin has come to stay, I have been 'homesick'. I need to visit. I need to feel that I belong somewhere. The first time I took him there, AdventureBoy said, "oh, so that's where you come from - now I understand!" My cousin and my aunt and uncle (and 2 other cousins) all live on the same property. My cousin has a separate house with her husband and bub, but they are always all together at the main house most of the time. I love spending time there and I really know I need to again.

Hopefully, my leave for this term will be approved and I will go. I am so happy that my cousin has come to stay. Even if it has reminded me about all of the disappointment my mother brings. But I know the kind of mother I want to be - just like my aunt. Is that bad?


At 10:55 pm, Blogger Lassie said...

I can really relate to strange mother dynamics. I'm glad you have your aunt and cousin to give you a soft place to land.

At 7:37 am, Blogger Pixxiee said...

Mothers can be wonderful, but they can be very painful as well. I too am dealing with my own hurts with my mother - she knows about our IF but I tell her to read my blog if she wants to know how I am doing...

Good luck with Gonal F and I am sure if you are blessed like your cousin you will be a beautiful mother as well


At 1:00 pm, Blogger Bea said...

I'm sorry your mother is so unhelpful. But very glad you have a mother figure who can be.

I guess I feel sorry for your mother, too - she seems not to click with you and that must feel strange to a mother. But I also think that now is the time to seek out those who can support you best. Later, when you can stand alone, you can support these other relationships.

I don't think it's bad to want to be like your aunt.


At 2:42 pm, Blogger Kris said...

It is not at all bad to want to be the kind of mother who feels the most "mother-ish" to you. And if that model happens to be someone other than your actual mother, so be it.

I'm sorry you don't get the support you need from your mother- but it sounds like you get it from others in your family. I hope you enjoy your trip "Home".

At 7:22 pm, Blogger Meg said...

SN - Thank you for sharing with us, Dr. Philly as that sounds.

Congratulations on managing to be you through all of that. The cobwebs don't ever go away, do they? It's funny, I was always fed this idea that time, reflection, acceptance would make these things go away. But they don't. They just make them a little more quiet - until the next time something reminds us.

I am glad that you have your aunt as a role model. Their home sounds beautiful.

Good luck tomorrow. Hope you don't get any first day drama.

At 8:01 pm, Blogger Mony said...

Is that bad?
To every aunt who reads this blog it is their deepest wish that their niece/nephew could love them so much.

At 5:42 am, Blogger Thalia said...

I'm so glad your cousin understands. She sounds wonderful, and it seems you have been really lucky to have her and her family in your life. I hope your mother will understand, in time.

At 5:11 am, Blogger ellie said...

Not bad- a blessing to all of us who are aunts and not yet parents. I'd like to think my nieces and nephews loved me that much. And I think it is normal for as we step deeper into the state of trying to be parents that we examine our parents and see what we like and don't.
What do we want to be like when we have kids? I think about it all the time.

At 5:47 am, Blogger serenity said...

I can wholly relate to the mother dynamics too. My mother in law is your aunt, and I can't get enough of spending time with her.

I am so happy to hear that you have a sanctuary.

At 12:05 pm, Blogger Zee said...

Stellanova, I'm sorry for not responding to this post until now. It's really lousy that your mom is so difficult and can be so harsh. That must be very hard, and I admire you for being able to cope. Like the others above, I'm glad that you have your aunt and cousin. Having people who "get" you is so important, especially in the midst of this sad and scary journey.

I think you'll be a great mom. You sound like a sensitive, strong, and kind person. And you've got your wonderful aunt as a role model!


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