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Monday, August 8, 2016

Sessions With Billie

In the last couple of weeks I met with my psychiatrist for a follow-up and had my final session with Billie. I will likely see both of them just before I go back to work or soon after to ease me through that new transition of our lives, but for now I just have a plan that I am trying to stick to.

The psychiatrist and I agreed that increasing my dose of meds now would be unnecessary as I am managing quite well under the current levels of stress. However, returning to work will open up a whole new chapter in life and we both feel that I may need more help to get through that period, at least temporarily. I am completely fine with this decision and just hope that I can get off the new, higher, dose relatively soon after and eventually off meds altogether. But, one step at a time…I am not trying to control or rush anything, for once.

Billie seemed to concur with this plan and was quite pleased with the progress I have made over the months. Since most of the issues I had initially seen her for were out of the way, I turned my focus onto something that happened while we were on our family vacation that I needed closure about, which went so much deeper in the end.

Let me start from the beginning.

It is well known that I have tumultuous relationships with female role models in my life, specifically but not limited to mother figures, and I will be the first to admit it. Years of abandonment, hurt letdown and upset will do that to a person. But the depth and complexity of it all has never been as clear to me as it has been these last 9 months.

Becoming a mother has brought up numerous memories of my past and raised many questions. Things that were done to me and allowed to happen that I could never stand for if it were my own little girl. People who saw what was going on with their very own eyes and never truly stepped in to help, those who did help but only when it suited them and those who simply walked away and closed their eyes to it all. It bewilders me how many people had a chance to make a difference in a little girls life, and didn’t.

I am not around that many children, but the few that I am should know that I will always have their backs whether or not they are my own. Nieces, nephews, kids down the street… I don’t care who you are, should anything happen I will protect you in any way I can. As an adult, as a mom, as an aunt or as a friend… it’s my responsibility, and I will never shy away from that.

My mother recently criticized me for not reading to my daughter enough, all while proclaiming that she would read to me while I was still in the womb. Fine! You get a gold star for reading to me, but clearly knowing everything there was to know about Peter Rabbit and Dr. Seuss was of little use to me while being raised in an abusive home! Instead of reading to me, she should have been protecting me. In fact, not only did she not protect me, but she abandoned me with the abuser and left me to fend for myself at 20 years old! All the books in the world couldn’t have helped me then. And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my childhood! I could write a book!

Mother figures, teachers, guidance counsellors, close friends, extended family members… all people with the power to step in and do something in my darkest days and yet so few of them did anything to help at all, even the ones who were legally bound to! Someone once told me that they could see how much pain and turmoil I was in, but rather than helping they decided to wait for me to “get through it all and pick up the phone”. So I asked them, what if I had never picked up the phone again? “Oh well” they said and shrugged.

Nice, real nice.

Looking at my past, I should be one of those statistics you hear about. I should be a drugged up alcoholic living promiscuously on the streets with Daddy issues. But, unlike some people in my life, I chose to be a survivor and not a victim. I rose above and did extremely well for myself. I am strong. I am happy. I am independent. I am a fighter. I wasn’t always this way, but I worked damn hard to become who I am today.

And I think that is why this is getting to me so much…

Mid-July, we took our first family vacation since our daughter was born; my in-laws and us in a cottage together where we usually go camping. We were 5 adults and 3 children. It was my idea for DH’s 40th birthday, and while I did have second thoughts I was looking forward to it. But, things didn’t go so well. My mother-in-law has always taken issue with our parenting and thinks we are cruel because we do things differently than she did/would. However this time, she took her opinions too far. Not only did she falsely assume that we allowed our daughter to cry it out for 4.5 hours straight the first night there, she had the nerve to call us monsters under her breath for (not actually) doing it! We were locked away in a room, with a solid wall and a door. She couldn’t see what was going on if she tried. We were doing everything we possibly could to calm our LO down, including co-sleeping with her and giving her medicine to ease her tummy pain, but she was simply scared! It was her first time in a new environment, it was kind of expected! DH explained to her what had actually happened, but did she apologize for misjudging us? Nope, not at all. All she did was keep pushing me to agree to give the baby to her if she woke up again. I don’t think so! I don’t need someone who would call the mother of their grandchild a MONSTER caring for my little girl!

I guess a bit of wine and lack of sleep made her true colors shine. I always knew she felt this way, but never thought she would actually say the words out loud. About me, or about her own son! Yet another mother figure in my life who is supposed to love, nurture, support and protect… but all she does is try to find ways to bring us down. Now whenever anyone asks us how the trip was, the only words that come to mind are “she called us monsters”.

And people wonder why I love travelling alone with DH (and now our LO too).