When the Child Within Meets Her Unborn Daughter

Disclaimer: The following post runs on a more serious vein; allowing all of you wonderful people to peek into the life altering events I’ve waded through over the past 5 months. The normal, witty, sometimes sub-par attempts at entertaining posts will follow soon after now that I’ve found my equilibrium once again:)

There comes an inevitable cataclysm that sparks a revolution in your heart and mind when your past meets your future. It’s that dawning of Aquarius, the big bang, the watershed moment where you wish life had an oh-shit bar like your car does. Unfortunately, we are left to flounder around in a washing machine of emotions, thoughts, and preconceived notions planted upon us by those that came before. Those that came before. It would have been nice if they’d left footprints filled with cupcakes and unicorn tears, but alas, that is too commonly not the case.

Instead those that came before leave paper cuts the size of canyons on the tender beginnings of our hearts – not only allowing them to breathe but actually feeding them with grotesque bowlfuls of mistrust and guilt. They widen until they consume our entire outlook. They hold our hearts and minds captive and we are left to figure out how to build our own shaky bridge across the chasm of laughing demons.

I built and traversed many a shaky bridge throughout my life – adding planks and nails as I stumbled along, but what happens when you’re presented with a blank, virgin landscape and a myriad of tools to build someone else’s inner world? What happens when you are the parent and you have the power to build someone up or cripple them under the suffocating pressure of your own demons? What happens when the tables are turned and you are suddenly no longer the victim? You are no longer the survivor, the warrior. You are now the mother. You must be someone else’s warrior. Someone else’s voice. Someone else’s safe harbor or if you so choose – their prickly thicket of bushes. How will you marry the shadows of the past with the shining promise of your own baby’s future?

The bonding of child and parent blossoms from the moment of birth into several years of age – a pinnacle time where the child has no other option but to depend on their parents for every need. It’s a bond that sets the foundation for an entire lifetime. A piece of the child forever folds inward if this bond doesn’t happen. It’s that piece they will search to find the rest of their lives – in other relationships, alcohol, destructive behavior, or inward loathing. But no matter how hard they try that piece is lost. It cannot be replicated. It cannot be replaced. It cannot be fully exhumed from the depths of our hearts.

My dad left our budding family when I was under six months old. We didn’t see him again for three years. We moved in with my grandparents for those 3 years which is where my first memories were formed and cemented into my mind. They were happy memories – flashes of Mom laughing, clanking of plates after dinner, and searching through the toy chest for something to play with. I remember running towards my grandparents’ bedroom – eager to crawl in bed with my grandpa and talk. Blissfully unaware of the cancer forming in his body.

But no matter how much love my grandparents and mom showered over me, there would always be that piece that had been waiting to blossom. It was silenced so early that I didn’t realize it was missing. I had known nothing else. It was only until I saw the way my dad interacted with his new family (how I saw my stepmom and siblings back then) that I realized what I had missed out on. I knew he was my dad. I knew I was supposed to feel something for him. I knew I was supposed to want to see him. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. There was nothing there. He was a stranger to me. The only thing worse was the realization that he had made that choice. He chose to be a stranger to me. He chose to reject my presence in his life. He chose to reject me.

It is that one fact that would haunt me my entire life. No amount of excuses or understanding would ever change that one fact. I somehow knew nothing he could do or say from that point on would ever make up for that.

I will never shield my daughter from all of those that pose a threat to her. I will never succeed at sheltering her in a bubble free from all pain and rejection. She will have something greater than a shield or bubble. She will have someone to speak for her when she can’t talk. She’ll have someone to be strong for her when she cries. She will have someone who has been through all of life’s trials and come out on the other side. She will have a guide that can show her how to navigate this cruel world. She will have me.

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