Nothing is more heartbreaking than to KNOW that even before you were born you were unwanted. The truth is I should have never known this. No one should have revealed to me the truth of where my teenage mothers mind was when she found out she was pregnant with me. The fact is, there are some things children should never know.
My mothers sister Glorianna who the family called “Glor” and I called “Sissy” and I will refer to as that through this story told me just how far my mother went, more than once, to attempt to be shed of me. As a child I adored Sissy, she was always closer to me than my Mommy was. She would sit and color with me, buy me things when she could and come to visit me. Side Note: I was raised in the Appalachian mountains, we call our mothers Mommy, our grandmothers Granny and use all sorts of terminology that’s different from mainstream society. I’ll use those terms throughout my writing.
Sissy used to tell me many things about my life before I could remember my life. I asked her questions, we talked often and she spoke to me openly and honestly. As an adult there are things she revealed to me that I wish she hadn’t, that certain secrets would have been kept buried. I have dwelt upon and carried the burden of many of those secrets throughout my life. As of today 2/1/21 I’m forty years old and I still carry the aching hurt of knowing how unwanted I was with me, just at the surface of every hurt I have is the knowing that I was “unwanted.”
You see my Mommy was 16 years old when she became pregnant with me. That’s mighty young no matter what century or decade you may be living in. At this time it was the eighties, my mother was one of eight children born into Appalachian poverty. Yes, there it is, the hard part of Appalachia that modern Appalachian’s don’t want to face. Life here is hard, it has been since our pioneers carved out lives on the ridges and in the hollers. I have to accept the fact that my home has a hard history and I’m a product of that history, as is my Mommy and all of her siblings and our family.
A sixteen year old impoverished, abused, scared kid doesn’t want a baby! She is a baby. I can only imagine how frightened my mom was knowing she had a little baby in her belly and no way to take care of it. My Mom ran off from home when she was just 12 years old and married a much older man. She came back and left again, then returned pregnant with me. The fact is she wasn’t sure who my Dad was, it would be decades later before I discovered who he was for certain.
So there I was inside a womb, struggling to live through the wild wonderings of a 16 year old girl who drank and smoked and ran around with different men. Sissy said that my Mom would punch herself in the stomach trying to abort me. She would bawl up her fists and beat herself as hard as she could to be rid of me. To her I wasn’t me yet, I was just one more THING inside of her she didn’t like. I carry that, you know, deep within my heart of hearts. To my mother, the one who was supposed to cherish and love and want and desire me, I was just a thing. A thing that scared her, troubled her and that she was going to stop at nothing to be rid of.
Beating herself in the stomach didn’t work. I was still there, growing despite her lack of prenatal care, proper diet and through her substance abuse. How I lived I don’t know, perhaps she didn’t have access to alcohol like she had in the early weeks of pregnancy. She came home to my Granny, her mother and there was no free beer there, there was barely free bread.
But then something new came along Sissy said. A way for her to be shed of me and rid of herself and all the troubles she had endured through her life and would certainly endure with an unwanted, screaming child on her hip. Pills! My mother attempted to overdose, to kill herself and me while she was pregnant. I don’t know the ins and outs of all that happened to get her to the point of overdosing, but she was taken to Buchanan General Hospital in Grundy Virginia and her stomach was pumped.
She was saved, I, was saved?
I honestly do not know how deep into hurt and pain and fear and dread my mother must have been in after seeing that all her attempts to do away with me didn’t work. Can you imagine how badly she hated me? I can. I have. I still do.
You see I carry this story with me as a reminder of just how hated I was. Sure my mother was young and pitiful, but that doesn’t erase the fact that she didn’t love me. Perhaps she couldn’t, she didn’t know how as a child, she didn’t love herself either. I don’t believe she ever has and she gave that gift to me, self hate. I have yet to find a day in my 40 years of life that I have looked into the mirror and cared about the person looking back. I haven’t yet learned to love myself, but I’m working on it.
My therapist gives me assignments to help me work on me. I talk about them here, but for now suffice it to say it is difficult work for someone like me. Someone who struggles to believe they’re worthy of love and not unwanted by every person they know.
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