When Having a Child Doesn’t Make You Happy | NYT – Conception


My mother, Nina, I don’t
know a lot about her. I remember that she
was profoundly sad. It was sad being around sadness. One day I came home from
school, and I said, “Where’s Mom?” He said that she’s
not coming home. He told me that she
had a heart attack. It was a real gift of a lie. I can’t imagine what
it would be like if I was told that my
mother killed herself, that she chose to die. As a child, I believed that when
she couldn’t take care of us, she went up to heaven,
and she made sure that we would be provided for by
finding the best stepmother she could find and making
sure she came to us. I was 30-something when I
was like, O.K., let’s try this. Maybe I’m ready now. The first few months,
I was actually really happy. He was just like a
little baby bird. I’d felt like we did bond. But he wasn’t growing,
and he wasn’t sleeping. So I was feeling so
sad and so wretched. And in this like combination
of emotional anguish, physical pain — it was kind of like
ice and acid. I found myself having
thoughts that were almost like a mathematical equation. I’m a bad mom, which means that
I should get out of the way. At some point, I just took a
whole lot of sleep medication, and I woke up at St.
Vincent’s Hospital. I believe that
she sent me back. My birth mom met me at
the gates and said, “Nope, we’re not ready for you. Go back down, and be
the mamma to your child and be the wife to your husband. Go live.” I was like just looking
to be strong enough to have another child. It was like the same tapes were
kind of like back in the brain. Everything just felt
impossibly heavy. At some point, I found
myself with my green belt. I just wanted to wrap it
around my neck, and so I did. And I wanted to pull it hard. And I did. That was really
the call for help. The gap between expectation and
reality is where the pain is. And there I was experiencing
a [expletive] of pain. And I kind of understood
how heavy it was, but I think it was
heavier for her. I was going to stay
alive for my children. So I would be their mom for
the rest of their lives, or for the rest of my life,
but a really long life. My responsibility was
to take care of myself. Dissolve the guilt
and the shame. So we can just
deal with what is. Get through it when it’s hard. Celebrate it when it’s
wonderful, and live. This panel in white coats
start asking me questions. The one question I really
couldn’t answer for a long time was a very
basic question. What do I want?

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