4 years ago my Mum died. It was really tough as she had been a huge support to me through all my mental health battles, and later on as a second parent to my children.
Every Wednesday we would meet for lunch in town whilst the children were at school. She’d then pick them up whilst I worked and relished in spending a few hours playing games with them, going to the park, reading stories and sharing hugs. She adored her grandchildren. She only had mine so relished the role, especially as she received a cancer diagnosis age 55 in 2010 and knew time wasn’t on her side.
My father fell apart when we lost her 3 years later. In the 4 years since I can honestly say he has failed on a grand scale as both a father and Grandfather. Something I know would have caused my mother great distress. Would my father have had children if my mother hadn’t wanted them? I doubt it. He would rather have lost a child than his wife. As a mother that is incomprehensible, but true in many cases. My children (including eggy the embryo) are my world. Nothing comes before them. In his world nothing came before his wife. He resented that she wanted to spend time with her children and grandchildren.
My Mother was amazing when it came to my mental health, it was as if she just knew what to do. If I was feeling low she’d offer help, I would decline so as not to feel like a failure (there goes that negative thought process again) and she would turn up at the door and just call out ‘Just taking the children to Pizza Express, saves you cooking!’ They broke the mould when they made her. The children and I were truly blessed to have her in our lives as we did. My Father severely lacked understanding. When he knew I was low he’s ask ‘I trust everything is fine.’ as a statement, not a question. He looked at me and made me feel as if I were a freak.
I know I’m waffling, but I promise there is a point!
I told my father I was pregnant yesterday by a text. He was due over today for a family Christmas dinner. However instead I received a text from him. These were his exact words: This I cannot support. It will be devastating for S and A and their education will suffer excessively, ultimately taken into care, i wpuldn’t be surprised. It is totally irrisponsible and you need to consider others ahead of your wishes on occasions. Regrettably, I will not be over today, of which Alex is aware. Regards you morher, she would have been totally broken by it and contrary to you belief would not have given support to you eirher.
So here I am, alone and pregnant, with my Father telling me I am a disappointment to my dead mother and that basically I myself am an unfit mother. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so ironic given the state of his parenting. As for my children’s education; both are gifted and talented. Where is the relevance there?! Why are my children suddenly going into care? Do I need to call social services?!
As you can imagine, my bipolar welcomed this text with open arms. It told me in no uncertain terms that I didn’t deserve to be a Mum, I was rubbish at it anyway. I rang the ex in tears screaming about my father. He in turn shouted at me for shouting at him when it wasn’t his fault. This went round in circles for a while until we well and truly established that he has no understanding of mental health, how it can be triggered, how my negative thought process eats away at me; justified or not.
We calmed down and had a chat. He asked me to explain more and was quite aghast at how I can feel about myself. The upshot of that is that he is coming tomorrow for a chat. The downside is I am cutting my father out of my life. His repeated criticism about my mental health and letting my children down has only served to make me more guarded. If a partner or friend made you feel that way, you’d dump them. Why should I put up with it just because it’s a relative?
I feel more determined than ever for this baby to survive. To show it love and a good life. To prove that although the sun goes down every night, it rises again each morning.