My mom has the best of intentions but…

Talking to my mom is always trying. I think she has the best of intentions, but sometimes I am not so sure. She can be manipulative and passive aggressive. She has a Master’s degree in psychotherapy, but I have always thought that she would be the WORST therapist ever. She is a horrible listener and she is extremely self-involved. Perhaps when she was seeing clients (she retired from the field 25 years ago) it was a different story than when she dealt with her own daughter. I have always felt that I am not good enough. I have always felt a strong sense that there is something coming between our relationship. Ironically she had two miscarriages before she had me, and she will say things like, “no one has ever wanted anything as much as I wanted you”….but I feel like once I was here, she immediately started taking me for granted. I hope that I don’t behave the same way when I am blessed to have a baby.

In any event, I spoke with her today on the phone. My parents live in France for 9 months out of the year, and I speak with them once a week on the phone. Usually my father answers saying, “Allo?” and then when he hears it is me, he says hi and passes it on to my mom. My mom is always in competition with the world….who is the most fashionable, who is the best cook, who is the best hostess, who has the most friends – WHO HAS THE MOST GRANDCHILDREN…it gets VERY tiring – probably most of all because she does not see this at all. She thinks she is humble, gracious, generous.

Anyway, we spoke today for a few minutes and she launched into the following points:

“I hear more and more people say that they are having trouble having babies. It is like an epidemic!”

“Maybe it is because you were on the pill for so long”

“S’s daughter went through her 5th IVF treatment and she is still not pregnant!”

“P’s cousin also tried 3 IUIs and 4 IVFs and now they are going to adopt!”

“But there are so many women that easily get pregnant after they are in their mid 40s! Like M’s wife -she is 46! And D and J – she is 45!”

My response to this is that it is extremely rare, that it probably happens 1 in 1000 times…her response:

“No! What about B! And M! And K? They are all over 40!”

At that point, I lost my temper. And I said, “WHAT IS YOUR POINT?”

My mother couldn’t respond. She had nothing to say (for once). Then she fumbled and said, “I am trying to make the point that women get pregnant all the time, and it will happen to you too. Just relax, it will happen, I promise.”

We hung up. I am sure she is thinking I am being a brat. But I just couldn’t handle this conversation one more time. And her point was lost on me. Especially after I sent my parents an e-mail after our meeting with the N Clinic. I could not let this go. So I wrote her an e-mail:

You are probably thinking I went off the handle today, and I am sorry if you do feel that way. I want you to know that I am feeling hyper sensitive about fertility and babies and no matter if someone has the best of intentions it is very easy to get me going. Hearing that all sorts of people are getting pregnant after they are 40 years old isn’t making me feel any better. Hearing that so many people have all sorts of problems getting pregnant isn’t making me feel better. Hearing that I need to relax and it “will happen” isn’t making me feel better. Hearing that people tried IVF 5 times with no luck is not helping.

What I need now, is just someone to say they understand how I feel. That they are here for me no matter what happens. That they hope for the best for me. That maybe it will work! That I will be a good mom. That people had good results with IVF. That people can be happy without children.

I know that you are removed from this kind of emotion now — you are over 70, retired, don’t have a care in the world !! But I do also know that way back when, you did have the same desire that I have, and that you probably remember what it felt like to want something so bad, and not know whether it is in the cards or not. Do you remember what it felt like when you heard, “Just relax!” when you were trying to get pregnant? Relaxing is not going to help me. I am over 38 years old and the sperm I have to work with are TOO relaxed. If we were more relaxed, we would be in a coma.

I want you to LISTEN. That is the thing I need the most. I need someone to just listen to me. Sometimes it will be redundant, sometimes it will be boring, sometimes it may be irritating. But that is what I need. I need a good listener who can be there for me when I need to vent, when I am feeling like everyone in the world is fertile except for me, that I am cursed, that I don’t deserve to be a mom. To listen to my crazy thoughts.

Can you do that?

I am sure that this e-mail will just manage to make her angry, or convince her that I am a drama queen (she already thinks so). But I had to get it off my chest.

I feel better already.


6 Responses to “My mom has the best of intentions but…”

  1. Leah Says:

    I’m sorry you had such drama with your Mom, but I’m amazed you were able to communicate your thoughts to her in that email so well. Hopefully she understands and works at being supportive — in the manner that you need.

    In the meantime, let me tell you that I understand how you feel. I am here for you no matter what happens. I hope for the best for you. Maybe it will work! You will be a good mom. Many people had good results with IVF. People can also be happy without children. 🙂

  2. Erin Says:

    That’s a great email. Even if it does make her angry in the short term, hopefully upon a second reading or some reflection she’ll start to understand what you’re getting at. Well done getting your feelings laid out to her.

  3. lub Says:

    “Just relax” triggers a certain FU phrase when said to me. I hope your mom gets the point. You certainly handled yourself respectably.

  4. conceivingisbelieving Says:

    Excellent email! I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write. I hope it brings a good response.

  5. Pamela Jeanne Says:

    Powerful post. It’s tough when those closest to us can’t step back and provide us the support we need when we need it. I’ve been in your shoes so I can appreciate your frustration and the need to simply have someone listen and be there — without providing a counterpoint to every statement we try to make.

    Thanks, too, for your great comment today. The story you shared was poignant and very comforting…much appreciated.

  6. kona Says:

    Hi BabyStep. Just wanted to say hi. I understand the multiple sensitivity issues around TTC, and I have been there, too…where it’s very painful sometimes and what you need most is a caring ear, and positive energy. Good for you for speaking to your mom about what you need.

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