I write this, because I want you see this through my eyes. Something that has been on my mind for years and not just months. February 2020, I found out that I was pregnant. I was overjoyed at the thought of having my first child and slightly nervous. But, the thing that was on my mind, was something that normal people do not think about, or want to think about. Not just normal questions, but the “unthinkable” question, Would I show or tell my real mom about my baby? All my siblings have shown her their babies. Why was this harder for me? Let me explain more in detail why these questions were on my mind.
Growing up, I would think about these question over and over. I was scared of being pregnant, because I did not like the thought of my real mother knowing my children. I held it in for years. No one asked me these questions, why? because they do not know what it felt like to hold on to a burden that affects so many life choices. So I am writing this blog to tell you what it feels like, to show you the thoughts that run through my head and how I overcame these thoughts. From my fears, my questions and my choices.
My real mom was something else, she would abuse me and my siblings. If we were not found by the police and spoke up, none of us would be alive today. She would leave us with cousins, neighbors, grandparents, other family members and strangers. All these people would abuse us, use and make us feel like we were not apart of any family. My whole life I played mother with my siblings, I would feed my baby sister to keep her alive as best as a 7 year old could. I would give up my church cereals to my siblings and gather pennies for a trip to the gas station just to get some food. I was pretty much the mom when our mom was gone.
As I got older, I came to realize that I may someday have children of my own and that thought scared me. Would I be like my mother? Would I hurt my own children? I was so scared of having children, because I knew that I did not want to follow the path of mother, but I did not know what path to take. I knew I had to figure out something before I had my first child. But, I had no idea where to start.
I watched as my older brother had children and they were introduced to my real mother. That was his choice and I was nervous for those children. Would they get hurt like we did? Would she leave cigarette burns on their arms? Would my brother abuse his children and wife like we were abused? But, I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, at this point in my life, I wanted to forgive and forget. Just move on and let her back into my life, but I was nervous. I watched as my younger sister had a daughter and the baby passed away, while she was passed out drunk and on drugs, my real mother did this a lot. She would pass out for hours with her bedroom door locked, leaving us to fend for ourselves. I watched as my other sister had a baby and now my parents take care of that baby. Again, those are their choices and they have reasons behind their choices. I just want to make the right choice for my children.
I knew one thing, I would never leave my children like my mother. Leave them wondering if I was good enough for them. Drop them off at strangers and friends houses. Never miss a growing milestone of their life. My mother missed my first of everything. When I first learned how to spell my name, I celebrated with my grandmother. My grandmother told me stories of my first words and my first walk. My mother was never able to answer those questions. When I asked her for baby pictures, she would make up story like they burned in a fire or she gave them away, a different answer every time.
I would never drop my children off for their grandparents to take care of, or leave for long periods of time. Throughout my life, I came to realize that I knew how not to be a mother. I knew what not to do. I knew that if I wanted to be right mother for my children, I had to take the right steps.
One of the things I have noticed in myself and my siblings, we do not like to be told what to do. We do not like to be told to take classes or take stuff or even follow rules. I knew that I had to push those feelings aside to change my life. I took the proper classes, read the proper books and went into a career field involving children. I hid my past from everyone, because I knew that if I told anyone my past, they would define me as that person, that person with PTSD ( even though I never had it) or someone who is easily emotional, someone who lets anything affect them in their normal life, I did not want those things to define me. The world is set up on stats and charts , according to those stats and charts many abusive children suffer from PTSD, but I never made it on any chart. I was told that I overcame all my struggles, now I was asking questions. Now, I wanted to change those charts. Many times working in the education field, I got told ” Adults/Children with abusive lifestyles or history will abuse others and suffer from PTSD throughout their whole life…” I hid my life for so long for these reasons, the world was defining me for someone I was not, but it was tearing me up inside. I was depressed, I could not even find the energy to think about having children. I became so desperate for love and for someone just to like me, that I gave up on my goals for a long time. I was falling into that trap, that trap that my real mother had falling into. That trap that world had created for me. I knew that I had to tell the world my story and all the “unthinkable” questions that I have to think about everyday.
Now, as I prepare to have children, I was still torn between telling my real mother about my baby or protecting myself and the baby. I knew that someday, that my baby would ask questions. I want to be prepared for those questions. As I think about it some more, I realized that I cannot let that past define how I should and want to be a mother. I find myself doings myself. From getting baby items, not asking for help and even making sure I knew what to expect. I know that everyone says you are not always prepared for baby, but I knew that I learned how not to be a mother and tried to prepare as much as I can, that meant my emotional feelings as well. My husbands family reaches out getting us stuff for our baby and I know to say “Thank you” but inside I wonder if I am doing enough. If I am asking for too much. My sister child is being raised by my parents as my dad is being put on a heart monitor and my mom is trying to be a good mother to that child. I told myself that I would never put my foster parents through that type of struggle. As I write this blog, I begin to wonder if I will be judged in a way that I was mother, will people see me differently and want to argue with how I am parenting my child? I remember my mother screaming and yelling at me, my mother and step-father doing inappropriate things in the living room, my mother spanking me for asking for some water. I know that I do not want to be like that.
As I continue to work through these emotions and questions, I know that I will ask myself everyday if I am doing things right. I have figured out that mothers ask these questions everyday, so I must be doing something right. I know that I will never leave my children wondering why I did the actions I did or why I left.
Throughout this pregnancy, I have found myself doing everything by myself. I know that I have a ways to go and so many things will change was the week pass, but all I know is that I am continuing to do my best. I find myself wanting to do it all by myself , get things by myself and even wanting to schedule doctors appointments by myself. I have to remind myself that I have partner who is willing to do this with me. My dad was never there for me, and even told the state that he did not want to take me in, because he was ashamed to have me.
Writing this blog, I have shared more than I expects and I have come to the conclusion that I will do everything to protect my child from the past that I had to grow up in. Children come into this world trusting their parents and once that trust is broken, the world labels that child as something they are not. As something they were not meant to be. It might be the stats or just how the world works, but I do not want my child to fall into those numbers like I did, because I know that my child needs that chance to be something he wants to be, instead of something the world forces him to be.
With that said, I have to be the best mother I know I want to be. I know that I have to protect my children from the struggles that I went through. Protect them from the people that have hurt me, that I know will hurt them. I know a mom can only do much, but I know that I will continue to protect them from everything that I went through. I have figured out how not to be as a mother, but I learning how to be as a mother. I promise my son everyday, that I will never leave him to wonder where is mother went, who will feed him that day or even if I will ever return. Everyday, I wondered if my mother will return, yet that built character in me. Character that I got me to where I am today.
I write this blog, because sometimes foster parents are not fully aware of simple life choices that affect a foster child’s life and sometimes these choices are tough to make. Sometimes we make choices that normal people do not have to think about in their lives, choices that we do not know will affect us later, but we fight to make a difference. I guess that is why I tell you my story, because the world wants to label me as something that I am not, when I know who I am and I am ready to make those changes in the world and start asking questions, changing policies and opening your eyes.