I was my mother’s only child, at least on the surface.
Two years prior to my birth she had a son: Timothy Allen Bell. He was born on the 8th of September and died on the 9th of September. A loss she would carry with her for the rest of her life.
It affected her marriage, her life, her future decisions, her relationship with her mother, her relationship with herself, and later her ability to connect with her next child, me, a child she was likely afraid of losing.
She would try for many, many years to have more children, to bring life through her body, and each time that it didn’t take, or she would miscarry, her pain became heavier and heavier until she wore her body out.
As an empathic child I could feel her pain as if it were my own. It hurt me to the core and I wanted to help her, I wanted to take away her suffering, make her feel better, soothe her open wounds.
Lacking the maturity to express myself or understand what was happening, I turned inward, to my feelings, and decided it must be my fault. If I would have been a boy she would not be in so much pain.
I tried to be a boy, look like a boy, act like a boy, talk like a boy; but it didn’t help, I would never be a boy, and even if I could, I would never be the son that she had lost.
Internalizing my feelings, and hers, it didn’t take long for me to begin to resent a woman who seemed to love the dead and the unborn more than the living.
It would take decades, and my own experience as a mother, to realize the guilt, shame, blame, and responsibility that a mother carries, and how damaging that knapsack of pain can be.
None of this is meant to blame or hurt my mother. As a matter of fact, looking back on my birth, childhood and my mother’s experience helped me deal with my own guilt, blame, and fear over the birth and raising of my own children.
For the first time, I was able to see how difficult that it must have been for her and how no one would really ever understand her loss. She must have felt alone and scared and disappointed in her expectations for me; and ultimately the expectations that I had for her.
It was only then, when faced with my own pain, that I was able to let her out of the prison of judgment that I had created for her and allow her to walk freely.
We both carried the trauma from before my birth and let it create distance between us. It not only affected her but me and my children, and likely their children.
When things from the past get carried into the future it creates a hell of a mess.
Do not assume because you are still alive and moving that the things that happened to you in the past are not still affecting you. They usually affect you in ways you are not aware of.
You can’t go back in time, you can’t change the way things were, or how they turned out, but you can identify, resolve, and move forward so that you can be free of the past.
Whether you have lost a child in the womb, after it was born, later in life, one that was never born, or even when they leave the house, these all register as “loss” and loss must be addressed so that it does not become a big scary monster that lives under your bed that can affect many generations to come.
This loss can also apply to birthing of yourself, your ideas, expression, and your creativity; just as a child comes from the womb, so do these things. If you do not give birth to creativity, it will create dis-ease in the body. We are meant to create!
I leave you with an open letter to unborn creation.
To my unborn child,
I wanted you more than I could possibly explain. From the moment I stepped foot on this planet I wanted to be your mother. I wanted to hold you, kiss you, feed you and watch you grow. I didn’t want to miss a moment.
I wanted to teach you and be your friend. I wanted you to be mine. I thought you would love me, honor me and keep me safe in your love. That with you by my side nothing in the world could hurt me. I wanted you to keep me protected in your little bubble.
I had a lot of expectations about what you would be, how you would make me feel and that if you were there, by my side I would somehow be whole, that I would find a piece of myself that I had been missing and your love would heal all my wounds of the past.
You would give me a fresh start, you would give me a life, a purpose, you would give me a reason to stay.
I waited for you for a long time. I felt angry that you didn’t come. I felt as if you had abandoned me. Guilt and shame became my companions. I befriended the pain, I invited it in like a stranger lost in the night and I wrapped it in your little blanket and nurtured it as if it were you. I fed it from my own bosom and kept it alive at all costs, even to my detriment.
I am so sorry to put such a heavy load on you. To make you responsible for me and my happiness. Believing that you would show me what love was. That without you I would somehow be less than. This kept you from me, and me from you!
I am so sorry I could not keep you safe from my expectations and was not able to support you enough to bring you into this world. I am so sorry that I hung onto the thought of you so much so that I hindered my own growth and yours.
I put the weight of the world upon your shoulders and hung onto you for so long that you began to decay, yet I wouldn’t let you go.
I wanted you more than I wanted anything in the world. I wanted you more than I wanted my own life. Holding on has hurt me and caused a great deal of pain.
It is time to say goodbye. It is time to let you go so that I can heal and move forward. It is time that we part ways. I will always love you and maybe someday we will be reunited once I have learned to love you for what you would have been rather than what you would have done for me.
I love you more than I could ever tell you but it is time to take that love and give it to myself. I am grateful for the role that you have played in my life. Thank you for the hard lessons, and teaching me that what was really missing was self-love. I release you and I release myself.