we have reached the point in my therapy where the subject of the “past” has come up – specifically the circumstances surrounding the conception and birth of my first child.
i was an ‘unmarried mother’ and Ben was not a planned child. The shame I feel about the whole episode means that this evening was the first time I have discussed this in detail, possibly ever. It’s been buried in my conscious, a source of such intense embarrassment and guilt that I literally NEVER discuss it. Not with my ExP or my ex Husband, not with my friends. Just not.
the phrases “disgusted with myself” , degradation, stupidity, humiliation come to mind when I think of the circumstances surrounding Ben’s conception. Of course despite initial reassuring noises about how they don’t think badly of me regarding this both my ex husband and ExP have made it abundantly clear (when things got difficult) that they do, in fact, think I’m a slut and an unforgivable whore / tramp for having a child with a man I had a fling with.
The disquiet runs so deep,I was even nervous about discussing it in therapy. I feel it shows me in such a poor light – perhaps once again thus demonstrates my need to be ‘perfect’ to ‘please’ in that I don’t want Angela my therapist to think badly of me.
The hour I spent discussing it flew by. I’m sitting in the coffee shop at the gym now because I need some quiet space to digest my feeling about having discussed this. I’m also aware that I feel a strong urge to go and get drunk, to block out my feelings , to do “something” with the uncomfortable feelings that have been raised. (Don’t worry I won’t) I have a peppermint tea, some space and this blog, and the rest I will have to just sit with.
i think reviewing the circumstances which led me there allow me some leeway to ‘forgive myself’ a little. I left London in 1997 after the end of a very important relationship. Although I had called time on it, I was bereft, consumed with my loss and desperately unhappy. I had been living with my brother who had been kind enough to put me up. I must have been a nightmare to live with. I described myself to Angela as chaotic, which sums it up – but when I look back I don’t recognise myself. I was late to work, disappeared for long shopping trips in the middle of the day, was selfish in the extreme and utterly lost. I was drinking heavily and didn’t care about myself one little bit.
So I decided, in my wisdom to go to Wales and train as a GP. And not to Cardiff or Swansea, but to a tiny rural Welsh speaking hamlet, where I lived alone in a stone cottage ( having first dumped myself on an acquaintance for the best part of 3 months) I was running away, although I knew not what from, not what to. I had no plan, no stability and had just removed myself from all the sources of support I had.
Small wonder I took up with the only man who was single and had all his teeth. I was never ‘in love’ , I never intended it to be a long lasting relationship. And after a few weeks I started noticing things about my new friend I didn’t like much – he was a fantasist, habitual liar and (probably) a small time crook. So after about 3 months I ended the relationship. All fine
except that in my chaotic, self sabotaging, self loathing state I had “forgotten” to take care of contraception properly. I didn’t realise I was pregnant for a further 9 weeks.
In that time I went skiing, twice. Drank like a fish, took antibiotics for a chest infection and wondered why I felt so tired. Poor child , what a shitty start.
Writing this down I begin to feel sorry for the younger me. I see she needed love and compassion, she needed stability and a feeling of self worth, she needed security and to take care of herself emotionally and physically. She didn’t.
The decision not to terminate my pregnancy was immediate, and ultimately provided me with a salvation of sorts. The arrival of the baby, who I adored as soon as he was born, brought me a stability and reason to create order in my life. I went home to my mum to have the baby, by that time I had my certificate of completion of GP training, so I knew I could earn a living and support us both. And that’s what I did.
Ben’s father has never seen him. I did not tell him when I was pregnant as the relationship was already over and the last thing I wanted was him hanging around trying to play happy families. As soon as Ben was born, and a light clicked on that this was a separate human being with his own rights, I did inform his father. On the third attempt I got a reply.
But ben has a whole other family out there. Two half siblings ( that I know of) an aunt and uncle and 4 cousins ( that I know of) grandparents. And of course a father. A man I despise, and a man I would wish to protect my son from. A man I should never ever have had a child with.
Angela and I will talk more about this I’m sure. I don’t know If I will ever forgive myself truly, or if the self disgust and self reproof can be “reprogrammed” to self forgiveness and compassion for the damaged, lost woman with such desperately low self esteem that she though she was worth no better.